Finding Snapper on the Move

Nabeel Issa discusses how he has been expanding his snapper marks arsenal with some smart sounding around on the Gold Coast.

Without a doubt, one of my favourite fish to target is the ever popular Snapper. Since I was young, it’s always been high on my list to catch. Of late I have been having some great success using my HDS Carbon to help me locate new ground to target snapper with crab lures.

On a typical session out chasing Snapper off the Gold Coast, I have a number of marks that I will visit while paying close attention to the sounder to see if there are fish around. Generally I work my way out into deeper water as the day progresses before heading home. What I have been noticing is that I have been picking up new structure to fish on most trips, purely by paying attention to my sounder as I am underway. Of course to get your sounder to read clearly at speed can take a bit of tweaking but if you have the time, its well worth doing as I have found! The new spots that I’m locating have proven great with plenty of snapper coming aboard.

Being able to find bottom structure and bait schools while moving at speed is a considerable help when locating new areas to target.

Even in rough conditions, side scan is great for getting a better idea of whats around, this show is scanning 200ft either side of the boat!

On most occasions, I won’t fish an area unless I can see there are fish showing up on the sounder. Once I have seen a few fish, I will mark the school and move up current to begin a drift. This is where paying close attention to the GPS screen is very important. Lures are then dropped down; ideally you want the lure to hit the bottom around where you had marked those fish. Snapper are not afraid to come up to grab a lure, so as long as it’s in the area you are within a shot. Once my crab is on the bottom I will wind it up about 10 metres and free spool it back down. Always watch the sounder as you do this, quite often you will watch the fish swim up and you can literally predict the bite, its amazing to see happen!

The thin line dropping into the back of the bait school is a lure. Notice that it is landing into a school of fish? That’s when you know its time to hold on!

Once we’ve drifted off the fish, we wind up and start again. If I can see the fish there, I will give it a few drifts before moving onto another spot. Building up an arsenal of spots means if one spot is quiet you can move around to locate active fish.

The Cranka Crab is a fairly big lure and it lends itself well to being seen on the sounder. Dropping the lure straight down from the boat (not casting) means it can stay in the transducer beam and you can watch it sink to the bottom on screen. Watching how the fish on the sounder react will give you a good indication if they are in the mood or just sulking around. A good sign is seeing fish rise up off the bottom, it’s crazy to think of the number of occasions where we have called a bite, just from seeing the fish start swimming up to our lures.

I rig this lure on 20lb Flurocarbon leader and 20lb Braid. A 3000 Sized reel and a 4-8kg rod with a bit of grunt is a good combination for fishing this style. There is always the chance of hooking a really big snapper, or even some monster by catch, so having a bit of power on your side is a must. Lighter leaders can help increase bites but I have found 20lb to be a good happy-medium for finesse and strength.

Using my HDS Carbon and the Cranka Crab has proved to be a deadly combination with some absolute monster Snapper being caught in such a short time. I’m looking forward to see what else I can muster over the next few months as things warm up!

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