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How to Catch Moreton Bay Snapper

By Nabeel Issa

Winter provides some epic weather for us to get out and access Moreton Bay. Whilst the bulk of the pelagic action has slowed, Snapper fishing can be a very rewarding option in the bay and provide for some exciting times!

Snapper fishing in Moreton Bay can be great during the colder months. My favourite way to target these fish is by fishing light and shallow. The clear water flooding over the shallow reefs sets the scene for some epic battles with some powerful angry fish. There is a lot of fun to be had in these areas and some really good opportunities for trophy fish. The action is often constant and the by catch of Grassy Sweetlip, Cod, Bream, Tailor plus a host of other reef dwellers keeps things interesting.

From Macleay Island in the south, all the way to Bribie Island on the northern end, there is a lot of good Snapper holding ground. Finding the right spot is a big part of success with this technique. Basically I look for areas with reef/rocky outcrops in shallow water (up to 3m), with a drop off nearby, good current flow and if I can find one, a pressure point. By pressure point, I’m talking about an area where the current is directly hitting a bit of reef, rock or structure that causes some disturbance in the flow of the current. This will congregate bait fish and in turn Snapper. Look for eddies and upwellings of current and you can quickly identify these spots.

When it comes to lures, I have 2 favourites. The 2.5inch Bait Junkie grub and the 2.5inch Minnow. The smaller plastics get the attention of a plethora of species of all sizes. Rigged on a 1/8th jighead, I like to cast these along the reef drop offs and let them sink on a slack line. Pay close attention as the lure drops as the majority of bites will come on this initial sink. It pays to mix up your retrieve to see what the fish like on the day, I have done well with just a straight slow roll (winding the lure in without any rod movements) as well as a standard double hop retrieve.

For the rest of the gear, I run 6-10lb braid,and leader of 8 -16lb depending on the location and size of fish around. Lighter line will always get more bites, but does make things difficult around the dense structure. A 7ft+ rod in the 2-5kg range is ideal. Something with some power down low, but also light enough to flick a 1/8 jighead a long way, matched to a 3000 reel and you are set.

I often take my 5 year old son out with me and he manages to get a few in too. It’s a great way to keep kids entertained because of the consistent action and the variety of fish you can encounter. If you are looking for an excuse to get out of bed early or maybe head out for an afternoon session, I highly recommend giving it a try. It still surprises me how much fun they can be when in shallow water.

Please pay attention to the Snapper Closed seasons we have in Queensland. More information can be found from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website here. https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/fisheries/monitoring-research/monitoring-reporting/commercial-fisheries/species-specific/snapper

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