Hugh Gange fishing bio

Hugh Gange

Cobourg Fishing Guide And Wilderness Camp Operator

Hugh is a Cobourg Peninsula fishing guide and operates a wilderness experience camp in this remote part of northern Australia. He regularly fishes for golden snapper (fingermark bream) in Essington Harbour, a waterway that’s four times the size of Sydney Harbour, but where you’ll likely not see another boat.

Hugh’s Top Golden Snapper Fishing Tips

  • Juvenile golden snapper tend to live in estuaries and, similar to their cousin the mangrove jack, usually deep in structure. as they grow bigger they move out to the rocky costal headlands and then, eventually, offshore where the bigger fish are found over relatively featureless rubble bottoms.
  • Golden snapper fishing is dictated by tides. For the larger fish Hugh likes the last hour and a half of the run in and the first hour and a half of the runout tide. If you miss this window it’s worth fishing the coastal headlands on a runout tide.
  • Once you know the location of suitable rubble grounds, start looking for working birds that signal schools of queenfish or other pelagics smashing bait schools. Golden snapper will usually be beneath the feeding pelagics, if you can get a lure down past the surface feeders.
  • It’s critical to get your lure right in their faces, which means it has to be very close to the bottom and making com=tact with bottom regularly.
  • When setting the hooks on a striking fish it’s important not to strike too hard, lift the rod just sufficiently that the hooks will be driven home. Lifting the rod too high will result in plenty of missed fish.
  • If your lure gets hit but a hookup doesn’t occur, avoid the temptation to lift or wind the lure up as you’ll only pull it away from the fish. Immediately dropping the lure back down will often result in a hooked fish.
  • if the fishing is tough, try drifting with both lures and baits until Yo u find the fish. Hugh finds there are days when the fish are taking on or the other offering, but not both. 

Golden Snapper Fishing Tackle

  • Hugh recommends a 7 ft, 6kg line class spin rod coupled with a 5000 size reel, 30lb braid and a 40lb leader. This gear is light enough to target the smaller golden snapper but will handle the larger fish just fine since they rarely run into structure to lose an angler.

Fishing Lures

  • Marabou jigs are far and away Hugh’s top lure for chasing golden snapper. 1/2 to 1oz heads painted white on 6/0 hooks and dressed with white marabou feather and red silk will get the job done. These are cheap and effective and are best worked by sinking to the bottom and then bumping along behind a drifting boat, being sure to let out line to stay in touch with the bottom. Once the angle to the line is too great, reel in and drop the jig down again. Alternatively, cast ahead of the drifting boat and hop the lure back along the bottom with short bumps. These lures can also be cranked at top speed through busting up pelagics if the opportunity arises and you want a change from goldies.
  • Halco twisties are deadly on golden snapper and a range of other species. Remove the treble hook they come fitted with and replace it with a single hook to improve snag resistance, then fish them the same way as the marabou jigs. Expect these lures to be taken more often as they flutter down, due to their flashy brightness.
  • Berkley Squid Vicious or 5” Jerk Shads in nuclear chicken colour are a hit with the golden snapper. Fish them on the lightest jig head you can (usually 1/2-1 oz) and in much the same way as the marabou jig, but much slower since the plastic will have plenty of its own action, particularly the squid vicious. A rod can be rigged with these lures and put in the rod holder with the lure a metre or so above bottom while you fish another rod with a different lure. The boat action is frequently enough to excite a golden snapper to bite. 

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Cobourg Fishing Safaris

Cobourg Fishing Safaris is Hugh’s wilderness camp and guided fishing operation on the remote Cobourg Peninsula and is a short 1 hour flight or a bumpy 8hr drive from Darwin. The camp boats glam ping accommodation, guided fishing And wilderness cultural tours with everything provides. Get yourself to Darwin and Hugh’s team will take care of the rest. With a massive range of fishing styles and species on offer and only small numbers of visitors at the camp at any one time, it’s the perfect place to Plan a fishing trip of a lifetime. High reckons it’s not that hard to rack up 25 lure-caught species in a single day, so what are you waiting for? 


1 Comment

  1. Mick

    Really enjoyed this chat. Look forward to getting up to the Cobourg Peninsula one day!


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