Jeff “Scratchie” Thompson
Obsessed Snapper Fisho And Fishing Forum Moderator
Jeff has been snapper fishing on the central NSW coast for longher than most of the local snapper population cares to remember! When he’s not fishing he loves helping other anglers learn the ropes and has been a senior moderator on the FishRaider Forums for 8 years or so.
Scratchie’s Top Snapper Fishing Tips
- Snapper school up around the reef systems near Broughton Island and can be feeding at any depth in the water. Most of Scratchie’s trophy fish have come from the top 2/3 of the water column.
- Look for structure – and in particular reefs that rise steeply, Snapper might be sitting in front of the reef where the current is bringing food their way, but can also be on other parts of the reef. Finding bait schools is usually a pretty reliable way of deciding where snapper are likely to be on a reef system at any given time.
- Snapper fishing is a year-round pursuit at Broughton Island, though Scratchie finds he catches most of his trophy fish during the Autumn and Spring months, with big fish quite plentiful in the winter months too.
- It’s important not to spook the fish. Cut the main motor 200m or so from where you intend to fish and figure out the drift. then align yourself so that you’ll drift over key structure. At the end of a drift, motor around in a wide arc so as not to drive over the fish, then start a new drift 30m or so to the side of the initial drift. This allows you to cover the whole reef thoroughly without spooking the fish.
- The periods around low light are always productive, but Scratchie reckons that snapper fishing can be productive at any time of the day or night. Apart from avoiding the few days around the full moon he finds that tides and moons are not too important. Perfect conditions are when there’s a 1.4 m southerly swell and an 8 knot westerly wind, as those conditions produce the perfect drift speeds (0.8kn) and enough boat movement to work the lures.
- If the fishing is tough it’s a good idea to switch to smaller lures, lighter jig heads and 10lb leader in order to get the bites.
- Set your drag before you cast and don’t touch it once a fish has jumped on, just let the fish run when it wants and work it back between runs.
Scratchie’s Snapper Fishing Tackle
- Scratchie likes Shimano gear and usually opts for a 7′ rod with a 4000 size spin reel loaded with 20lb Ocea, Power Pro or Fins braid, with his preferred leader being 20lb Black Magic. If he’s expecting larger fish in Autumn and Spring he’ll switch over to the 5000 size reel for extra line capacity and drag pressure.
Scratchie’s Snapper Fishing Lures
- Scratchie will usually go for a 7″ soft plastic lures for this style of fishing. A Z-Man Jerk Shad in Coconut Ice colour is a great option. The Berkley Gulp Jerkshad in Yakka Snak has taken more snapper for Scratchie in the Broughton Island area than any other lure. And the Berkley Gulp Garlicker – Scratchie reckons he hasn’t caught a fish under 50cm on this lure and it’s accounted for lots of his 95cm fish.
- In 10-18m of water Scratchie will start with a TT Lures jig head in 1/4oz but if the current is running may switch up to 3/8 oz. The idea is for the lure to waft around and eventually reach the bottom, but not plummet like a rock.
- Scratchie likes to cast his lures as far ahead of the boat drift as he can and flick the bail arm over as soon as the lure hits the water. After that it’s simply a matter of reeling just fast enough to stay in contact with the lure. If the cast is a long one and the lure is near the bottom for a a while he’ll throw in couple of twitches to lift the lure off bottom and attract the fish’s attention.
Scratchie has been a senior moderator on the Fishraider forums since 2012. Fishraider is a family-friendly community of anglers helping anglers from all over Australia. It’s the ideal place to get fishing advice, with plenty of gun anglers frequenting the site and only too willing to help others with their knowledge.