Michael Starkey Frogley's Fishing Bio

Michael Starkey

Australian Tackle Icon And Keen Angler

Michael bought into the Frogley’s Offshore business around 18 years ago, returning to the Ballina area after attending university in Sydney. Since that time the business has bloomed, and now has over 10,000 product lines from some of the biggest fishing brands, in addition to their own lines of tackle, with countless rods and lures designed, tested and perfected by Michael himself. 

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Michaels Best Tips for Fishing Snapper at Ballina

  • On a shallow reef a lot of people don’t understand the importance of stealth. Driving your boat over the top of snapper is a sure way to scare fish off.
  • Michael usually goes to the side of the reef where he thinks he’s going to drift. He calls this his “sacrificial drift”. He will drift across and figure out where his drift lines are. He then drives around the reef in a circle, being careful not to drive back over the same spot and then lining up exactly where he wants to be on that mark or edge.
  • Side imaging is essential equipment for figuring out where the fish are and setting up your drift as explained above.
  • Michael’s go to sunnies for offshore are the Makos. In the morning a brown lens is great for better colour contrast. Blue mirrors also help you penetrate that water offshore. Michael then goes to a grey lens during the day to cut out light and glare.
  • If it’s a very still day and the snapper aren’t being very cooperative, try a paddle tail or a big curl tail grub. Something that has a huge amount of tail action with the slightest of movement. Or on the other hand if its howling winds and complete opposite conditions you want to move to something really fast! Michael will often pop a jig on and rip it through the water fast to try and get the snapper excited!

Where To Find Snapper Around Ballina

  • There’s a heap of reefs in this area in sub-20 metres depths that have offer structure close to land. At the time of writing, a productive snapper fishing spot is only about 800 meters from the mouth of the river! You can even get out on a tinny and on the right day and hit quality snapper!
  • Look for anything that breaks up the sand, whether it be rocks, weeds, or flats, it doesn’t matter which one, you’ll find snapper among all of them, at times.
  • Current is sometimes even more important than the actual fishing spot. Snapper will generally hang around the top of the reef and the medium sized snapper will always be there, but the big fellas, hang nose into the current!
  • Michael usually runs the boat on top of the pinnacle and casts up wind, up current and works the lure until it is under the boat. You need to be able to cast out a reasonable distance for this approach to be successful!

 Best Bite Windows for Snapper Around Ballina

  • The sunrise is great and often there is minimal wind. The afternoon bite is pretty good too. Though these are prime times, and you’ll usually catch more snapper it doesn’t necessarily mean bigger snapper!
  • Fishing around the turn of the tide is also something to look out for during the day.

 Snapper Fishing Tackle

  • Don’t fish too heavy! Heavy tackle reduces casting distance, and the rod won’t give that lure the desired action. A rod is designed for the lure, not for the fish you’re catching! If you can find the right rod and lure combination, you’re going to have a lot better luck.
  • Michael loves to use Samurai reaction rods, and his favourites of these are the 351 and the 402. He’ll always take 2 of each of these out on fishing trips and usually runs a 3500-4000 reel on them.
  • Lighter line equals longer casting distance, so a PE1.2 mainline with 14-17 pound fluorocarbon leader is perfect.

 Top Lures For Ballina Snapper Fishing

  • It’s hard to go past a Semi Hardz Vibe lure! The 75mm size will get you onto bigger fish than the smaller size. Michael likes a black SH Vibe with an orange belly and UV top in the mornings. But as soon as the sun is up, he’ll switch to a more natural colour that has the UV pigment on it. Cast long and let it swim down on the drop, snapper usually hit this lur before it reaches bottom. Figure out the lure sink rate and count it down to the strike zone – this will ensure you don’t waste time by working the lure back without it reaching where the fish are. A semi tight line allows the lure to swim but keeps the angler in contact. If the lure reaches the bottom without being take, give it a few lifts by giving a lift or more so a few hops or pauses and then mend the line and so on a few times over.
  • Michael will usually put out a second rod with a soft plastic swimbait to drift behind the boat, adjusting the weight to keep it at the right depth in the water column. Ideally the lure should be about half to three quarters of the way to the bottom.

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An extended edition of this episode is available to Team Doc Lures Members.

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Frogleys Offshore

Frogley’s Offshore is home to numerous major fishing brands, including Gamakatsu, Samurai, Atomic, Majorcraft, Bassday, Do It Molds and Fuji rod components.

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