After a lean winter snapper are ravenous, and need to put on condition before they spawn. Any seasoned snapper fisher knows the difference in colouration between the dark, brown kelpy fish that live on the shallow reefs all year, versus the clean, pink fi
Here are my top five tips for bagging a feed of snapper:
1 APPROACH EVERY ROCK AS THOUGH THERE’S A TROPHY SNAPPER BEHIND IT
There’s no telling which rock is concealing your fish so assume they all are. Make sure you dive well before the rock so you can peek over the top. Inch forward slowly, exposing as little of yourself as you can and look everywhere. Remember you’re looking for a stationary fish – by the time movement has caught your eye it will be too late. Also, snapper often aren’t alone; take in the whole scene before you make your move – there’s nothing more frustrating than shooting a 2kg fish and seeing a 10kg thumper you hadn’t noticed bolt.
Snapper have great sense of hearing and the lateral line running the length of their flanks can pick up the tiniest vibrations. Learn how to swim without splashing on the surface. When you dive, spit your snorkel out and when you surface make sure you pick your head right out of the water before you clear it. When you duck dive make sure your fin tips have completely submerged before you start kicking to prevent any splashing and on the bottom pull yourself along with your free hand.
USE COVER AND SUN ANGLE
Never let yourself be silhouetted against the surface. As you swim along keep your shoulder hard up against the rocks casting as little shadow as possible. When you dive try to follow the bottom contour and keep in the kelp. Always keep the sun behind you - you’ll have the best visibility but any fish will have to look into the sun. Whenever you peer over a ledge try and pause for just a few seconds after your initial scan in case a snapper swims into range.
4 LOOK FOR ROCKY GUTS WITH ACCESS TO DEEP WATER
Jagged reef with nice sandy gutters are ideal for snapper to park up and snooze in. While you want to hunt them in shallow the big fish don’t tend to stray too far away from deep (20m+) water. Try to avoid large areas of bald white rock and find the spots with plenty of kelp. The pressure points along the reef that are catching the most current will hold the most fish – look for the little fish. Demoiselles and oblique swimming triplefins are great indications you’re in the right area.
5 PUT IN THE HOURS AND COVER THE MILES
When it comes to snapper snooping there is simply no substitute for time in the water. The most successful spearos put in long dives and cover a lot of ground. You have to just keep swimming forward, concentrating and having faith that the next rock could be the one.