There’s no doubt that lure fishing for snapper has become the norm for many anglers chasing these great fish. While most of that snapper fishing is done in water deeper than ten metres, recently I had the awesome experience of casting lures for them in the shallows. While its not considered a regular occurrence by many anglers, there are several locations both here and over the ditch in NZ, where catching snapper in a metre of water is common.
Shallow Water Searching
Theres a couple of ways we find our snapper in the shallows. These are either by blind searching across weed beds on the flats or hunting along mangrove edges. Each requires a slightly different approach. For searching the weed beds, we find the Nomad Madscad 95 to be an outstanding lure. Its the perfect size, casts like a bullet, has the right action that the snapper just love and are as tough as nails. Any one that has caught snapper before will know just how gnarly their teeth are! We fish these on standard offshore snapper gear, simply because you need the ability to punch out long casts and sometimes this will be in the wind as well. Its nice to have that extra bit of grunt, as snapper absolutely crunch the madscads! The technique is easy, we fish the shallow weedy margins on the edges of the sandy channels. It might only change a few metres in depth but thats enough to provide a nice mix between cover and feeding ground. If the wind is up, we simply drift and fan searching casts, and if there is no wind we use the electric motor to pulse along over the area. From what we’ve experienced, snapper just love the madscad on a moderate speed straight retrieve with the occasional pause. These fish are on the hunt and will happily chase down and smash a moving lure.
Hunting Mangrove Edges
Most of the areas that you find snapper out wide, you will find mangroves in closer. These are the perfect areas to go in a have a sight fish for snapper in close, and there’s no doubt how much these fish love a well worked styx minnow. Just like fishing for bream, light tackle is necessary to get the best action from the lure, although with the size snapper we found in these particular areas, heavier would’ve been an advantage! The technique was simply cast towards the mangroves and slowly work the lure back to the boat. While there were times when the styx minnow would get crunched mid retrieve, many takes came boat side after the snapper had followed the lure giving it a really good look over before committing. That said, it was important to stop the lure just as you started to see it getting close and then watching for a fish following. Snapper have incredibly strong jaws but the styx minnow stood up to the task perfectly.