HOW DEEP?

Boating NZ - - The Catch -

Around 20 me­tres seems to be the magic depth for snap­per. Any deeper and snap­per, par­tic­u­larly large spec­i­mens, be­come in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to re­lease suc­cess­fully, but catch them in shal­lower wa­ter and re­leases are usu­ally straight for­ward.

There are al­ways ex­cep­tions: large snap­per can be more dif­fi­cult to re­lease suc­cess­fully than smaller ex­am­ples, but the big ones are of­ten the fish we want to re­lease – they are gen­er­ally poor ta­ble fare and their ge­netic con­tri­bu­tion to the fish­ery is valu­able. Some­times big snap­per strug­gle to swim back down again even when the wa­ter is only 15m deep, a com­bi­na­tion of an in­flated swim blad­der and ex­haus­tion af­ter a vig­or­ous strug­gle on the line.

In that case, rather than risk­ing catch­ing an­other big fish, which may also be dif­fi­cult to re­lease, it might be bet­ter to ei­ther move to even shal­lower wa­ter, or else join the crowds tar­get­ting the work-ups in the deep, where you can prob­a­bly catch a cou­ple of school snap­per for the ta­ble in quick time.

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