Gearing up for Snapper Season

The Snapper season is just around the corner for Victorian anglers and Jarrod Day this month gets us geared up and ready for when the reds come on the bite

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Snapper season in Victoria is approaching fast and the late August / September period is the prime time to begin getting everything in check and your gear ready for the new season.A typical Victorian snapper season is long and drawn out lasting around six to seven months from start to end. Well, that is if you’re keen to target them from early spring to late autumn.

In a lethargic state from a freezing winter, much like a hibernating grizzly bear, anglers alike awake from their slumber at the first hint of spring.The beginning of spring is the kicker for anglers to dust the cobwebs off garaged rods and reels, boats, motors and of course, the time to toss out corroded hooks and swivels that have been sitting together in a sludge of saltwater and rust in the tackle box.When you break it down, there is in fact a heck of a lot to organise throughout early spring and not a lot of time to get it all done considering the first signs of a solid run of reds usually begin around the middle of the month.

PRIORITY ONE

With so much to do and such little time to do it all, it is good practice to make a check list of everything that needs to be maintained. Of course, the first priority is to have the boats motor serviced, especially if it has been sitting dormant for the winter. Oil, fuel, plugs and a lot of other mechanical things can seize up, dry out or corrode and the last thing you need is to break down during trip number one or two for the season. jd6

Along with the motor, it is a good idea to check over the boats hull for cracks or chips in the duco and also check your bungs as these can become brittle when not used for long periods of time. It is also vital to check the boats trailer. For this, you might want to give the trailer a good going over checking the rollers, tail lights and of course the trailer winch and if you notice anything that looks like it needs replacing, head down to the local boat ramp on a lazy Sunday, launch the boat and replace all that needs replacing.This kind of checking before the season really doesn’t take that long to do and could end up being the difference between going fishing or requiring a tow truck along the side of the highway.jd5

RODS AND REELS

Next on the checklist should be all your fishing gear. Rods and reels take an absolute battering through the season and are often the first pieces of equipment that gets neglected.

After being garaged for some time, salt that has worked its way into the main gearing system of a reel can corrode and seize causing the reel to deteriorate. On its first use, a corroded reel might be clunky or grind the gears if the handle turns in the first place or worse, seize up during a fight with a solid fish and cause the line to break. Tackle stores around the country can send reels back to the manufacture for a thorough service at a relatively small cost plus the cost of any parts that are required. Keep in mind, bearings are often the first part that requires replacing and they can be expensive in the scheme of things so it will pay to look after your reels, even in the off season. jd4

Another problem that can arise and this is the most common cause of losing fish is old fishing line. Often, after we come home from a days fishing, the rods get tossed in the garage or cupboard and we go about our general business forgetting to look after them. After a year or more we continue to use the same rod, reel and line and if a fish is lost, wonder why the line is brittle and breaking. These days with braid much more popular than mono filament, anglers tend not to have many line issues however; old neglected mono filament can be the result of losing fish.

Mono filament isn’t that stable, especially with temperature and UV light. UV light and temperature causes mono filament to deteriorate over a short period of time. In fact it is recommended that mono filament line be changed around every three months because of this. With the cost of mono filament being significantly cheaper than braid, it is a good idea to re-spool reels throughout the season from time to time.

So why don’t we just use braid in the Bay then? Simply because the sink rate of braid is much less than mono. This means that before you notice the rod load when a snapper takes the bait, due to the slackness of the braid in the water the fish has already spat the bait out because the line is not tight to the reel. To notice a bite using braid in areas with very little current, the fish would have to swallow the bait, run with it until the line is taught causing the rod to load.

This rarely happens because snapper tend to inhale a bait before spitting it back out rather than running off with it, hence why baits come back crushed without noticing you had a bite. This event occurs much less often when using mono filament fishing line in the upper reaches of the Bay where there is very little current because of the fact that mono is thicker and slightly heavier than braid. When the bait is cast out, as it sinks it pulls the mono down with it, unlike braid due to its much lighter properties which tend to float on the waters surface for longer periods of time. jd7

Rods too need to have a good going over but much more simply than a reel. When it comes to rods, a good run over the blank with your eye to look for any nicks or cracks in the epoxy should bring out any potential problems which then can be fixed. Guides also need to be checked for cracks or chips and the best way to do this is with a dry Chux dish cloth. Simply pass one end of the Chux through a guide and in a seesaw motion run the cloth through the guide suing both hands. If the cloth is not catching on the guide, all is fine, if it is and you feel it catching and pulling strands from the Chux you’ll need to replace that guide or buy a new rod.

TERMINAL TIME

If you’re a regular weekend angler throughout the entire year, no doubt that your terminal tackle is well looked after. If your time poor and fish once every two weeks or once a month, looking after all the gear in your tackle box isn’t a priority and after being placed back into the garage for a few months, you’ll wish you never re-opened the box at the beginning of the new season.jd1

Looking after your terminal tackle is also vital. This stuff cops the brunt of salt spray and when confined to tackle boxes, can hold salt residue for long periods of time causing anything metal to rust and corrode even the latches and hinges on your tackle box itself. Though it is hard to keep such items from being exposed to the salt water, your best to take out small amounts of terminals rather then your entire tackle it, this way only some can be tossed out, not all. It also pays to keep hooks and swivels in there original packaging especially if in bulk packets. That way, they are kept out of the elements and if exposed, only that packet may rust or corrode, not everything in your entire tackle box.jd2

This also applies to fishing leader and any pre-tied rigs you may have. Although it is nice to have everything neatly packed together. Rather than putting in one box, place into smaller trays and store together in a tackle bag. This will have your tackle more organised and less chance of it getting ruined.

Looking after your gear is vital and with salt the being main catalyst for destruction, regular maintenance is always required otherwise you could be up for a hefty cost to repair what ever has broken down.

No-one likes to spend un-necessary money so with the next few weeks up our sleeve, now is the time to get out and get everything in order before the reds come on the bite.

Jarrod Day

About Jarrod Day

As a young boy, fishing from the Portsea and Sorrento piers along the Mornington Peninsula coastline was a regular occurrence during the school holidays. My love for fishing grew and many years later now find it much more than a hobby, but a lifestyle. My website has been developed with fishing and photography in mind. Take a look around, I hope you enjoy it. www.jarrodday.com/

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