SNAP­PER

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

New Zealand Fishing World - - Spearfishing -

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.

2

BE QUIET

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.

3

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.

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