Over the last few weeks the weather has either been ugly for days on end or stunning for those who want to get out early before the wind kicks in.
November and December can often be the most frustrating months to fish, snapper are full of baby batter waiting for the right conditions to spawn. Till they have spawned their eating habits change tending more to snack and pick at food rather than full on feeding as normal.
Soft baits micro jigs and the likes can really come into their own, I find that small 3-inch soft baits get a higher hook up rate when fished on open sand such as the worm beds. Best colours I find are plain brown (looks like baby flounder) or white/silver similar to bait fish.
Presently with the east to north east winds the warmer water is moving into the inner gulf as are the snapper. There is a vast area of flat featureless sandy bottom from Tiri northwest to Motukitikiti where large schools of snapper will hold till they have spawned. Look for the birds or closely watch your sounder as these fish spend time hard down on the bottom looking like red blobs on the sounder. Options for me here are on the slack water to drift with a ledger rig while soft baiting, drop a flasher rig around halfway down so not to tangle with the other lines and pick up some fresh bait.
If the wind and tide allow you to lay comfortably at anchor head into the current and zig zag to get a better idea of where the fish are laying, anchor well ahead so that you will be fishing back to the fish rather than on top of them. Fresh slabs of jack mack slowly lowered down on a running rig (use a trace of at least a meter) allows the bait to be taken well astern of the boat into the target zone.
When we do get those days when its flat clam with no wind [ rare as they are] I prefer to drift fish as you can cover a lot more ground especially when fishing areas of flat sand such as the worm beds. By dropping a ledger rig it not only gives you a chance of a snapper but also gurnard and trevally all the while you can be soft baiting or as I prefer to fish with bait.
A lightly weighted stray line cast slightly forward and out to one side of the direction the boat is drifting will sink and be dragged across the bottom till it is directly astern, this system covers a lot more area than a bait directly below the boat.
Fishing out of Omaha I now find a lot smaller (32-38 cm) snapper are in close on the sand and weirdly the gurnard have bailed out into deeper water. As the has been a lot of rain the area of foul just to the south of Matheson’s Bay where the water is cleaner is a lot more productive with a range of snapper king fish and trevally holding on the face of the foul.
My hot spots for the upcoming few weeks weather permitting are,
• Area 1 spots 9 and 10
• Area 2 spots 7, 17, and 3
• Area 3 spots 12, 14, and 16
• Area 4 spots 14, 11, and 6
• Area 5 spots 18, 19 and 15
• Area 6 spots 24, 20, 17
• Area 7 spots 16, 21, and 11
No matter if you can only get out on the water for just a few hours its all part of the learning curve and building up history , it took me some fifty plus years and even now I still learn something each time I head out. Remember that it is now spawning season so each fish you keep will not gat to spawn, think of the future “ just take a feed and let the rest breed “