Winter is snapper time. They started off slowly, as they travel into shallow waters in the coldest months. It usually takes a cold snap to bring them right in close, which has just happened.
Rubble or reefy patches, around 20m and deeper, are the best spots this month. They will come in to feed in the shallow spots like Conical, Outer, Forty Acre and Ross Reef and the patches just out from the main islands.
I have found that they can be quite shy in the shallow water and you need to fish light to get any regular catches. I position the boat back from the area I want to fish and float down the bait with the smallest possible lead. Fresh bait is best and snapper respond well to berley. Pillies, prawns, mullet strips and squid have been our choice baits.
Huge red emperor and large-mouth nannygai have been in exceptional numbers in recent weeks. Much of the rubble and fern country is turning up good numbers of these great fish. Although there are good fish at all the regular spots, it’s worth searching away from them to get the snodgers. Reds take mostly big fresh or live baits. If you use bigger baits, it gives the larger fish time to get a feed before the rubbish fish pick you dry. Lately some of the best fish have been caught on old octo jigs with a big paddle-tail on the keeper hooks.