Targeting Spring Snapper
At the time of writing, the best prospects for landing a schooling moocher would seem to be the fouls outside Rangiputa and those between Takou Bay and Lion Rock outside the Bay of Islands. Within the last few days, a number of 10kg trophy fish in absolutely prime condition have been landed in both regions.
Schooling snapper are not yet well established inside the Bay of Islands. The best signs I saw this past lumpy weekend were in the middle ground fouls, both between Roberton Island and Tapeka Point, as well as the innumerable central fouls that litter the central Bay of Islands sea-bed
If you want to collect a trophy snapper this spring, a bit of planning and preparation usually pays off. For starters, go to the trouble of getting some fresh jack mackerel. If you get around on a trailer boat, a visit to the Whangaroa is well worthwhile. An appropriate sabiki with mini squid baits should do the business.
Try the sheltered little bay directly SE of Peach Island. It's never let me down yet.
Failing that, an evening on the local wharf is a convenient alternative, unless, of course, you know how to fill a bucket somewhere else. Fill a bin if you have the freezer space, because for certain, you'll feed a few morays, rock-fish and snakes before that big red with your name on it gets around to dining.
Don't be afraid to use big baits. At least whole fillets are required with whole fish to be preferred.
One of my favourite mackerel presentations is to cut a fillet off one side but leave it hinged at the shoulder. Turn the flap so the bait is presented with guts facing out on both sides. Sew it together with your line. Irresistible!
And don't' forget, big baits require big hooks. I've left a few mega reds roaming free with a belly full of my hard-earned bait by trying to save on hook size and quality. If you can't bring yourself to part with the dosh required to set up with 7-10/- hooks, at least ensure your hooks are set extra proud.
A trace that can withstand the crunch of a moocher's pit-bull jaws and can survive a few close encounters with kelp, rocks and barnacles is also a requirement. Black Magic's supple 60 and 80lb traces are hard to beat.
In case you're new to the business and don't have a favourite possie from which to target schoolies, give drifting a shot. And don't be put off by the wind speed. Had a great session recently in 20-25 knots. A new experience for me since I'd always considered drifting to be only feasible in very moderate conditions.
Report type: Saltwater
Report date: 21 October 02