Up and down the east coast we are starting to feel that cold change which can only mean one thing - time to buckle up for some Winter red fishing! Snapper can be found around the coastline from towards the top of QLD, the whole way down and around the coast to Mid WA. There is no better feeling than watching your line come tight on these fish that hit hard and fight grubby, and because Snapper also perform admirably on the table, they are a crowd favourite among anglers. Reds are most often targeted on plastics, jigs and baits, we will explore these techniques and how to make the best of time on the water. Keeping an eye on your tide changes and moon rise and falls are beneficial as these are often the best bite windows for the day.
John Everett - Fly Fishing Specialist at Motackle & Outdoors
Soft Plastics - Fishing soft plastics on in-shore reefs in depths of 10-40m can be a very effective way to chase reds and the strike is simply addictive. I really like to drift the edge of a reef, and a nice long cast in the direction of the drift will see tight lines in no time. Jig head weight is very important especially when fishing profiles like the Gulp Jerk shad, ideally as slow of a fall as possible while still reaching the bottom is best. Whilst drifting in-shore reefs, a “floater” out back can be deadly and a great way to increase fish numbers - just pitch a plastic out the back and jam it in the rod holder. To get the best out of a floater, I like to use a more active lure like a grub tail or squid imitation like the Squidvicious - many times the rod holdered floater has been the best performer in the boat. For this type of fishing, a 7’-7’6” rod is great for achieving a nice long cast and pairs well with a 3000-5000 sized spin reel.
Andrew Iveli - Warehouse Receiving at Motackle & Outdoors
Jigging - For depths over 40m on the reef, jigging is a really productive use of time on water as it keeps you constantly in the strike zone. Octa-style jigs like the Daiwa Bayrubber and slow pitch jigs like the Nomad Buffalo have caught plenty of snapper. Varying between slow lift and falls, jigging the lure up 5-10m off the bottom, then dropping it down and dead sticking will help figure out what is working on the day. A Grappler rod and reel is a cracker slow pitch outfit and a jig rod will help impart action on your slow pitch jigs. Determining a weight of jig really depends on the speed of the current and drift, so it’s good to have a spread of jigs from 40-200g if you want to fish up to 90m or so. I will just rotate jigs until I am just keeping contact with the bottom while remaining as vertical as possible.
Brendan Bernard - Fishing Purchasing Manager at Motackle & Outdoors
Baitfishing - Baitfishing for reds has accounted for some of my most productive days and there are two techniques that have worked forever and a day. When searching new ground, dropping baits like pilchards or squid on a paternoster rig will find good numbers of fish with plenty of by-catch. A Gamakatsu 5/0 Octopus Hook with a snapper lead to keep you in contact with the bottom is all that is required. When I fish a known area with a good concentration of fish, I like to float line. This involves throwing the anchor out up current from where you want to fish and float baits down a burley trail. There are heaps of good burley options out there but I like to blend small chunks of pilchard with some McLaughlins Premium Burley Bits. The key is to burley constantly but not too heavily, and float either unweighted baits down or with a very small ball sinker, ensuring it stays in the burley trail. Nothing beats getting absolutely crunched as you slowly feed a bait down the trail and take weight on a stonker red!
Clayton McGuire - Boating & Fishing Specialist at Motackle & Outdoors
Chasing winter reds is positively addictive as it’s often the best weather of the year and there is a plethora of methods to suit all of us anglers. Having a few options up the sleeve will always help break down an area and work out what the fish are most responsive on. When keeping a feed, quick dispatch into a saltwater ice slurry helps get the best out of a fish and don’t forget to try parts like the wings and cheeks if you haven’t already. With that being said, its time to hitch the boat and pull tight on a few reds!
- Matt Townes - Mail Order Assistant Manager at Motackle & Outdoors