I know I must starting to sound like a broken record but the turnaround in the number of fish in the inner harbour is quite outstanding. I lot of my fishing at present is just barrelling out for a few hours when the wind and tide are in the same direction as am too old and grumpy and I hate cold winds to be laying abeam getting knocked around. What I am finding is getting from A to B is kind of interesting in that different to the last eight years there is now a hell of a lot of fish showing up in areas that I would not have even thought to look at this time of the year. I can never emphasise enough the value of a top quality sounder such as my Furuno TZ touch as with its ability to measure and place those fish that pass directly through the middle of the transducer onto the chart plotter. This allows me to see not only on the sounder but also where exactly they are on the chart plotter, all this information is more valuable than Homer Simpsons doughnuts as when you then take the wind tide moon phase into consideration you can then see patterns and changes emerging and keeps you on top of your game.
What I have found is those schools of snapper that I see on the edges of channels and drop offs are moving around a fair bit as there is no structure to hold them but what is a bit unusual is they are holding in a fairly tight school while grazing on the sand. This makes them an ideal targets from a soft baiters point of view, hence the added value of a Furuno TZ touch as the fish I went directly over are now marked on the chart plotter which then tells me exactly where to cast to plus it gives you the added chance of kicking your mates butt by telling him where he should to cast to “yer right”. With all this said and done not only am I impressed with the number of fish but the average size has also shot up, most interesting of all is I cannot recall the roes being so well formed and with a deep orange colour at this time of year. I just love pulling fish out of the kelp and on the last couple of trips out I have made a point to go to spots I may not have ever bothered to fish or spots I have not fished for years. The old saying is as true today as ever before “habitat is where it’s at “ with every spot producing the goods with some big old moochers lurking about.
You still have to put in the effort with burly and ground bait and focus on your lines, it pays to set a pattern of different baits at different angles and distances from the boat as the fish are very bait shy and finicky in what and how they eat. Not one to use any trace I do run the risk of being bitten off as most snapper in the kelp are just mouthing the baits, I have found that bonito belly flaps which have a high oil content are able to be rigged in such a way they hold together longer than other baits so that you are then able to let them mouth a bait longer till you know when to strike. In saying that I still got dusted by more than six big fish in less than two hours, one with just a half a shake of the head had me in tears, bottom line is those big fish will always be lip hooked and easily released as they are the breeding stock for the future generations.
All I can say team is just get out and do it even it is only for a few hours at least the boats gets a run and you breathe some fresh air all of which is a good thing but best of the fat juicy fillets of the snapper taste mighty fine.