Snapper Secrets

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    F IS H IN G F IS H IN G

    F I S H IN GF I S H IN G

    GURU GUIDE

    SNAPPER SECRETS

    www.fco.co.nz

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    Thanks to Mark Kitteridge, the NZ Fishing News team, other contributors and keen fshosfrom around the country.

    Some of this material is based on Marks book Catch more snapper, available throughHalcyon Publishing: www.halcyonpublishing.co.nz

    This content is property of FCO Fishing Camping Outdoors and its contributors.This document is copyright protected. This should be used a resource only.Please make the most of this content but do not abuse it, tight lines.

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    CONTENTS

    STRAYLININGStray-lining out ts | 6

    Setting up for Stray-lining | 8Burley up! | 9Baiting up! | 10Stray-lining techniques | 18The bite & preparing to strike | 20Fighting the sh | 22Drifting | 23Knots | 24

    BOTTOM FISHING Suitable tackle | 30Deep water burleying | 31The running-sinker rig | 32The ledger rig | 34Knots | 39

    SLOW JIGGINGLikely slow-jig scenarios | 41Suitable tackle | 42Slow-jigging strategies | 45

    SOFT BAITSReel Selection | 49Rod Selection | 50The Superline Tangle | 51Spooling Tips | 52Attaching the lure | 56Choosing and Fitting tails | 57Techniques and Strategies | 60Knots | 66

    ROCK FISHINGTackle | 72

    The rig | 73Potential spots and safety | 75Baits | 77Where to cast | 78Fishing Tactics | 79The End Game | 80

    SURFCASTINGTackle | 82Rods | 83Reels | 84Line | 85Fishing with braided lines | 86Wetsuits versus chest-waders | 87Terminal tackle and rigs | 88Tactics | 92

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    INTRODUCTION

    SNAPPER: NUMBER ONE FOR KIWI ANGLERS!

    While there will also be numerous supporters for blue cod, hapuku, king sh and marlininstead, theres no doubting that snapper is the most popular sh targeted by Kiwianglers.

    Available over the more northern two-thirds of our countrys coastline, snapper arefound in all sorts of terrain, feed on a wide variety of sea creatures, and can be caughtusing almost every conceivable method. They also reach pretty hefty weights atleast 18kg - are tough, scrappy ghters, look colourfully handsome, and offer verytasty table fare, so no wonder we love them.

    Snapper are not especially fussy about what they eat, so, as already mentioned, theycan be found feeding in widely ranging environments, from shallow, sandy beachesand bays through to mangrove-choked estuaries and rocky, weedy coastlines, rightout into 100m-plus depths. This sees them shed for with equally diverse methodsand equipment from the beaches, rocks and wharves, while the sh further out arechased with kayaks, jet-skis and all sizes of boats. Lures and baits can be used veryeffectively to catch them, and both approaches have their passionate supporters.Snapper are also found in other countries, along with various similar looking subspecies, and because there are also lots of other species called snapper that bearlittle resemblance to these worldwide, our species is of cially called squire sh bythe IGFA, the organisation that processes and keeps the worlds sport shing records.

    CATCHING SNAPPER FROM THE BOAT

    The ve most common ways to catch snapper are as follows: 01 Stray-lining: Deploying a baited rig with just enough weight incorporated so it

    slowly sinks downwards in a reasonably realistic manner;

    02 Bottom shing: Deeper water and faster currents demand weighted rigs thatget baits down to the bottom and make them stay there; two methods are

    mostly used here - the Running Rig and the Ledger Rig;

    03 Slow-jig shing: Slow-motion manipulations are used to make this techniquesrather unusual looking lures come to life;

    04 Soft-plastic lure shing: An aspect of the sport that could ll a whole bookwith its intricacies!

    05 Rock shing for Snapper

    06 Surfcasting for Snapper

    SNAPPER SECRETS

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    The term stray-lining describes any situation where only enough weight is used toenable the bait to slowly waft downwards. This can be anything from just the inherent

    weight of the bait and hook to possibly as much as 4oz! In all cases though, the sinker(s)is placed on the trace directly above the hook, creating a more compact, singleunit, ensuring a more natural- looking presentation as the rig sinks. Consequently, thesinker cannot be too big or it will intrude on the hooks gape and affect your hook-up chances. However, on very big baits with equally large hooks - 8/0-10/0, say - acouple of two-ounce sinkers are no problem.

    Stray-line shing is well suited to water around 30 meters in depth or less, with a lightto moderate current. However, it can be successful in at least twice that depth ifthe current is light and you have the patience or by adding perhaps a couple ofounces to help the bait get down a little quicker.

    Stray-lining usually involves casting the bait well out from the boat, but where theresmodest current, its possible to simply drop the bait behind the stern so the tide carriesit off. Provided its correctly weighted and doesnt get eaten rst, it will reach thebottom eventually.

    STRAY-LINING

    Freespool out ts enable the line to be ef ciently altered, either letting more out or retrieving any slack, yet allowing a snapperto run off at any time.

    SNAPPER SECRETS: STRAY-LINING

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    STRAY-LINING OUTFITS

    Typically a 6-10kg casting out t is used. There will be places and times when youcan use lighter tackle, say 4kg, which is often still effective and a lot of fun, but not

    recommended as a front-line out t, especially when starting out. Conversely, theremay also be occasions where a really grunty out t appears necessary, with a lot ofpeople opting for 15kg to try and drag big sh out of reefy, weedy territory.

    Choose a relatively long rod of around 2 to 2.5 meters with a light, sensitive tip andpowerful butt section, as such rods cast lightly-weighted baits well, are sensitive tobites, can set hooks home effectively, and are good sh- ghting tools.

    The reel can be either a freespool or spinning-type reel, as long as it casts well, holdsat least 200 meters of line and is suited to the rod. A quick retrieve will also help,particularly when it comes to setting hooks, which is further aided by a spool that is

    well lled, as the bigger the circumference, the greater the length of line retrievedper handle turn.

    The line used to ll the reel will make a big difference to the out ts suitability incertain situations. For example, because light nylon (6-8kg, say) is easily stretched,much of the striking pressure is absorbed by its elasticity, making it less effective indeep water. Therefore, the deeper the water and the bigger the hooks used, themore the situation suits braid lines. However, having said that, certain advantagesare gained by sticking with thinner lines, and the problem of setting standard hookscan be avoided by using circle/re-curve hooks.

    The main advantages of thin lines is that they cut through the water more ef ciently,so less weight is needed to get them to the bottom, and as thin line is less obviousthan thick line, youll get more bites.

    Also, circle/re-curve hooks, only require steady pressure rather than abrupt, brutestrength to nd their way securely into the corner of a snappers mouth.

    Spinning reels are easy to use, especially the Baitrunner type seen here.

    SNAPPER SECRETS: STRAY-LINING

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    Consequently, a two-hooked stray-line rig can belethal, and the main elements to successfully using itare as follows:

    Employ a light-tipped/bendy rod and a reel loadedwith nylon rather than braid.

    Use a short nylon trace thats heavier than themainline, connected with a joining knot rather thana swivel if possible (but this is not critical, especiallywith the small, strong swivels available these days).

    STRAY-LINING OUTFITS

    A xed, two-hook stray-line rig is hard to beat.

    Removable sinkers enable anglers to keepbait rigs perfectly weighted for the changingconditions; always use the least possible to getdown.

    The strongest way to do this is by tying a short Bimini Twist into your mainline(just 30-60cm is ne), joined by a No-name knot or small swivel.See Stray-lining Knots for Bimini Twist and No-name knots

    If using added weight, have one or two free-sliding ball or bean sinkers sittingatop the leading (upper) hook.

    The lead re-curve hook is tied on with a Snood or Snell, and the trailing hookknotted with a Uni Knot (standard J type hooks will also do the job, especially iftheyre thin in diameter and very sharp). See Stray-lining Knots for Uni knot

    This rig works well because the two hooks used cover a large/long bait better thanone, and should one hook be taken out of play for some reason (perhaps rippedfree of the bait or deeply buried in it), its nice to have another well placed to do thedamage.

    Only just enough weight is used to overcome the current and get your bait downto the bottom (the bigger the bait, the thicker the line and the greater the current,the more weight youll need). Because its placed directly on top of the leading

    (Snooded) hooks eye, the bait and sinker are able to be packaged into a single unitfor a neater and more natural bait presentation, and making the rig easier to cast.Also, as its nice and compact, it snags up less. (It pays to have removable sinkerson hand just in case a little extra weight is needed when the tide is in full ow, andremove it when the current subsides again.)

    SNAPPER SECRETS: STRAY-LINING