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The snapper that thought it was a little kingie

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    Posted: 16 Mar 2020 at 10:16pm
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Titanium
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16 March 

It's not every day you watch a sizeable shimmering bronze shape flash across the top of a big rock 'bommie' chasing your softbait, miss it twice before finally nailing it a couple of metres from the boat. What a startling, but very memorable sight.

Conventional wisdom is that snapper prefer lures on the drop of slowly moving, so the experts say it's best to gently twitch softbaits and jigs, even letting them sit still for a while. But that's not an option when you've cast over the top of a flat rock formation at least 10m across, with the top just a couple of metres below the surface and steep sides covered in kelp.

If nothing grabs it on the drop into the deep water gut between the bommie and the shore, you'd better retrieve up and over quite quickly - or get ready to dig out a new jighead from your tackle box.

So I was doing just that with my favourite Z Man 5" grub tail in Midnight Oil when I had one nip that failed to hook up. I kept winding to avoid a fatal snag across the top of the rock and in the crystal clear water saw the aforementioned bronze shape materialise behind it at speed. Bang, another go. No hook up.

As my brain began to process what was happening, the fish - which I took for a strangely dark-coloured kahawai or small kingie - kept coming, determined to not let its brunch escape. 

This was a fast-swimming predator, master of its territory. It engulfed the lure right in front of me in a metre of water, turned down the steep near side of the rock and went on a sizzling run.

Thankfully it stayed in the deeper (8m) water and I was able to eventually net my prize. A stunning dark bronze snapper of nearly 50cm. Not a monster by any means, but one of the most memorable snapper I've caught.

Soon after, on the seaward side of the boat, my SideVu showed some foul extending out a fair way, so I gave it a few casts. No joy until I was winding in to re-cast, and something powerful nailed the lure only a few metres short of the boat before taking off. Long runs turned to solid head nods. A 50+cm fish - this time quite silvery. It too had chased down a fast-moving lure. One for the bin.

There's something about that Z Man's wriggly tail action on the retrieve that is a magnet to fish. So far I've hooked two kingies, a kahawai and now two snapper when winding in at a steady pace. Unfortunately you can't get that lure (the 5" size or that colour) here (see image below) but I wouldn't be without it on a shallow softbaiting mission. Particularly on a sunny day it seems to be dynamite.

Too soon, my time was up. I'd just had time for a short late-morning mission with little expectation in blazing sun and calm seas. After a couple more drifts and some fish in the mid-30s, it was time to rejoin the family back on the beach where I'd dropped them and continue our adventure to the 'Bottom End', Rotoroa and Ponui. 

We live in a stunning place - let's hope it long remains that way.







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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Muppet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2020 at 5:44am
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2020 at 6:23am
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That would have been an exciting day, a good read thanks.


Best gurnard fisherman in my street
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote cirrus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2020 at 8:36am
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Nice report Lester.Very refreshing to read.Feisty fish ,clear ,beautiful beach. Utopia.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MightyBoosh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2020 at 8:49am
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Awesome! I'm jealous of your success with softies. It's easy for me to catch snapper on jigs, so my heart is never really in soft baiting (and that is the problem). 

I catch snapper fairly regularly when winding jigs at a good pace in the hope of a kingfish. I don't think they will chase a fast moving lure for a sustained period, but if it whizzes past their nose...
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Muppet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2020 at 10:31am
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Quite funny just remembered had a big take on the surface on Sunday too. Right next to a big exposed reef. Missed it though was daydreaming 😂
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Reel Deal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2020 at 2:03pm
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remember catching a 5 pound snapper in 15m of water trolling a 20gram hex lure when targeting kawhia. The boys still talk about it. Yes often not the biggest fish are the ones held as valuable memories. 
The gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent on fishing - Assyrian Proverb
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Mar 2020 at 9:45am
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Originally posted by cirrus cirrus wrote:

Nice report Lester.Very refreshing to read.Feisty fish ,clear ,beautiful beach. Utopia.

Thanks for that. It's such a good feeling zooming along on a calm day with my 4-year-old sitting on my lap ('I'm driving the boat, daddy!'). I have my share of Dad-only dawn fishing missions, but family days like that are very special.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Mar 2020 at 9:54am
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Originally posted by MightyBoosh MightyBoosh wrote:

Awesome! I'm jealous of your success with softies. It's easy for me to catch snapper on jigs, so my heart is never really in soft baiting (and that is the problem). 


Believe me, I went through plenty of frustration in the learner phase, but guys like Muppet and JW were generous with their advice. I also spent hours watching YouTube clips with Mark Kitteridge etc. A couple of seasons ago, it just seemed to click. I like the active nature of casting and retrieving softies.
As you allude to, MB, specialising seems to help, and you've gone down the jig route and clearly nailed it. I have a few micro jigs but always reach for softies first in the areas I normally fish. Apart from maybe the rocky shallows, I'm sure someone like you or Kaveman would do just as well with your jigs.

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