Fishing Guide And Sponsored Angler
Steve is a long-time Sydney resident from a long line of keen fishers. He’s been operating his guiding service from Sydney for almost a decade, taking clients offshore in search of snapper, kingfish, mahi mahi and plenty of other sport fishing targets.
Steve’s Top Tips For Sydney Snapper Fishing
Presentation is everything when fishing for snapper and can make the difference between getting plenty of bites and not getting any.
Current is the key to snapper fishing off Sydney and Steve typically uses it to get a berley trail running to bring fish to where he’s fishing. If the current is strong he likes to use a pilchard cube berley trail, but in a lighter current he’ll use lighter berley such as chicken frames and bread crumbs.
There is typically a bite window in the shallower water very early in the morning, with fish biting until the sun creeps over the horizon. Once the sun is up, head out to deeper water and look for fish through the day. As the sun gets lower in the sky the fish will begin biting back in the shallows again.
Heavy, slow fall, slow pitch jigs are very efficient because you can be confident they are in contact with the bottom. Snapper typically spread across the reef around Sydney, rather than schooling up in tight schools, so keeping a jig close to the bottom and drifting over a large area minimises wasted time.
If you find a dead cuttlefish during the annual dieback in Spring, float it on a rope behind the boat in shallow water and the snapper will come looking.
- Snapper can be caught on any tide, but a run up tide is good if you can manage it.
Steve’s Sydney Snapper Fishing Tackle
- For shallow water fishing (5-20m), Steve prefers a 7ft plus spinning rod for longer casting, in the PE 1.5 to PE2 (15-20lb) line class with a 4000 size reel loaded with 10-15lb fluorocarbon leader.
- For deeper water he increases the weight of the gear slightly to handle the additional weight of the lures being fished. A PE3 (30lb) with a 5000 size reel is preferred.
- Baitcast gear works fine too, Steve just finds threadlines easier for his clients to use.
Steve’s Best Snapper Lures
- Berkley Gulp 7″ Jerk Shads are perfect for targeting snapper in the shallower water from 5-20m deep. Use a jig head with hook to match the lure (usually around 6/0) and vary the weight depending on depth, wind and current. These lures are best cast long, ahead of the drifting boat, allowed to sink close to the bottom then given a couple of aggressive rips before allowing it to sink again. Repeat back to the boat.
- Berkley Gulp Nemesis require less work to get them swimming and can catch fish with just the movement of the boat being enough to make them work. Steve fishes them as lightly weighted as possible to get the lures near the bottom. He drops them down to a few metres off the bottom and places the rod in the rod holder while he fishes with the Jerk Shad on another rod.
- Baku and Octo style jigs work well in the deeper water (ie around 120m). Simply drop them close to the bottom and place the rod in a rod holder, letting the rolling of the boat give the lure action. With wind and current, this allows the angler to cover a lot of water in search of fish.
- Slow pitch Inchiku and Slow Blatt lures are great for casting in deeper water while you are drifting with a baku/octo jig on the second rod. Cast long, let them sink to the bottom and work then back in short jerks, fits and starts like a small octopus or cuttlefish.