Shepparton News

Snapper season’s here so

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To quote the words of former Prime Minister, the late Gough Whitlam: ‘‘It’s time.”

While he was after a change of government, I use it to let you know it is snapper season.

Having said that, you can catch snapper all year round, but as my dad used to say, ‘‘the big snapper moves up the bay (Port Phillip Bay) at this time of year’’ — and he was referring to the big-sized snapper from the heads to St Kilda.

Wherever there was a reef you would catch these 10 kg-plus monster red fish at this time of year. The rest of the time you would see fish the size of dinner plates.

The big fish tend to migrate around January, south of Western Port, headed along the coast towards South Australia, as part of their breeding pattern.

Snapper are a great table fish as fillets or cooked whole. They are a real pleasure.

As a reef dweller, snapper have strong jaws and sharp teeth. This means you will need quality gear, hooks and line.

These days most anglers like to use their own special rig to catch snapper, but I have had most success with a paternoste­r rig — a fixed sinker on the bottom, with a dropper about a metre above.

Remember, big fish need big hooks and big bait. Be prepared for smaller fish to pick at your offering, but be patient and wait for the big fish to bite.

Snapper are not fussy — they will take whole pilchards, garfish or salmon, in fact any natural bait. They will also take soft plastics, and I have seen a lure made from a ring spanner catch a snapper.

Do not bait up if you have just applied sun block — that is a nono. Fish just do not like the smell of sunscreen, so clean it from your hands before handling bait.

Rod Lawn, who is now a free man as far as lockdowns go, said he would be on the water this weekend and his target would be snapper.

Rod, from Adamas Fishing Charters at Queensclif­f, said he would look at the forecast but he would be going fishing — rain, hail or shine.

Sadly his partner for the past few years, Peter Smallwood, has retired from the business and has moved north to the top end of NSW. Peter was the founder of Big Red Fishing Charters, also based in Queensclif­f.

While on the snapper trail, they are also being caught at Western Port.

 ?? ?? Catch of the day: This one is from a few years ago, but big snapper are being caught off Queensclif­f right now.
Catch of the day: This one is from a few years ago, but big snapper are being caught off Queensclif­f right now.

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