Snaring summer snapper
The stunning weather of summer compels us to get out there and fish but it can be a frustrating time of the season with snapper occupied by spawning rather than feeding, as John Durrant explains.
There’s an irony in that many fishers do most of their fishing in the middle of summer, right when our snapper can be at their most fickle. Beautiful, hot, sunny, calm days may seem like the ideal fishing conditions to go out and catch a feed of prime snapper but the reality is, these times can prove frustrating.
There’s a whole range of theories as to why this is, but there can be no doubt that spawning is the main one. Through December and January especially, snapper are more concerned with doing the wild thing than eating for large parts of the day.
There’s also the theory that warm water temperatures can make them lethargic and put them off the chew and this probably holds truth.
For the summer fisher, the challenge is to get into the right areas, at the right times and present the right bait.
Of course, fishing is no exact science and there will always be exceptions to any angling rule, but by following some basic pointers, the fisho can avoid those agonizing days in the sun when you return home to an expectant whanau with little or nothing in the bin.
Working the action There’s heaps of tactics for targeting summer snapper and you have to decide which one you’ll adopt before you go.
The summer months see huge shoals of baitfish heading towards our coasts. From this, we can regularly see massive work-ups as dolphins, whales, predatory fish and gannets take advantage of an easy feed.
Chasing work-ups is exhilarating and frantic and when you find one, you usually don’t have to try too hard to start hitting the fish. Snapper will sit under the feeding frenzy on the surface, picking up the scraps that fall as baitfish are hammered by all and sundry (
Finding the work-up is the difficult part, catching snapper in this scenario is usually straightforward.
The key is to get down to the bottom quickly. This is the target zone where the snapper are feeding.
The fastest and most effective way to do this is by using a jig. There’s a big range of variations such as slowjigs, slow pitch, flutter jigs and the new free-running styles. They all work in this scenario.
Just get them down there and the snapper – all pent-up and hungry – should snaffle them.
see illustration p. 20).