Fishing Journalist & TV Presenter
Nigel is a well-known Australian fishing personality, having written numerous magazine articles, authored the “Southeast Queensland Fishing Atlas” and been a long-time fishing presenter of the AFN Fishing show on 7 Mate. Nigel is a Sunshine Coast resident and has devoted a ton of time to figuring out snapper in his own backyard.
Nigel’s Top Tips For Sunny Coast Snapper
- Snapper are very adaptable, so you need to be constantly trying new things if you want to catch them consistently. The biggest mistake made by newbies is poor presentation of the lure. Snapper are alert to anything unnatural and a poorly presented lure won’t get eaten.
- The water depth where snapper hang varies throughout the year. Over the past few years Nigel has found that depths of around 60m seem to fish most consistently on the Sunshine Coast through the winter and early spring months.
- Look for changes in relief when you are trying to find fish. Nigel finds that large tabletop reefs rising just 3-6m from the sea bed fish fish best for snapper. You’ll find fish on the bigger pinnacles as well, but often these areas are dominated by other species such as amberjack.
- Once you’ve found a tabletop or plateau type reef, slow down and look for bait and snapper arches. Snapper can make a particular type of arch on the sounder, so learn to recognise these on your particular unit.
- During the summer months snapper are usually more reliable in deeper water, but Nigel sometimes finds good numbers of quality snapper on the shallow reefs at night.
- Don’t be afraid to try different things if you’ve located fish but can’t get them to bite. Soft vibes will often work when other lure styles draw a blank.
Nigel’s Preferred Snapper Fishing Tackle
- A 4-8kg or 6-10kg spinning rod coupled with a 3500-5000 size spin reel with 30lb braided line.
- When he’s fishing really light, Nigel will switch to a 3-5kg rod with 14lb braid.
- During the late winter to spring, snapper seem to have sharper teeth (Nigel thinks it may have something to do with their diet at thee times). He uses a 30lb leader during these months to counter this phenomenon.
Nigel’s Best Snapper Lures
- A 4-5″ soft plastic curl tail or shad style lure, which Nigel rigs on a 1/2 oz jig head initially when hes in 50-70 of water. Nigel uses his electric motor to hold station and makes a long cast up current and leaves the bail open while the lure sinks. He then watches his sounder to gauge what depth the lure is at when it passes under the boat – too high in the water column he’ll add a little more weight. The idea is for the lure to make occasional contact with the bottom, but not to be so heavily weighted that the action is unnatural. Watch the spool – when fish are active they’ll usually take the lure while it’s still dropping.
- 20-30g soft vibes are Nigel’s next move if the fish aren’t responding to the soft plastics. They can be fished in much the same way as the plastics, allowing them to drop into the school. They can also be given a few sharp rips to help excite the fish. Use the heavier (30g) 100-110mm lures in deeper water.