Monday, August 30, 2010

Canada Fishing Report - Coming Soon

Stevo and the Snapper King have just returned from fishing the best Sockey Salmon season that British Columbia has seen in almost 100 years!  This year Canadian authorities predict there'll be over 30 Million sockeye, - last year, there was only 1.9 Million!

Stevo and Snap have got some great stories to tell and we'll be sharing them with you real soon. In the meantime, take a look at some recent sockeye salmon catches on the Fraser River, just outside Vancouver, Canada.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Originally named by Captain Cook due to its resemblance to the snappers from America but the local snappers belong to the family of Breams.

Australian Snapper inhabit the entire southern coast and are highly prized for their fighting spirit and their table qualities. Today the Snapper are more difficult to find then they may have been in the past, but that only makes them more desirable as a great sporting fish.

Snapper is regarded as one of the glamour fish of saltwater fishing and is an important recreational and commercial species.

Snapper vary in colour from red to golden pink, to light grey on their backs and sides, with numerous small spots.

Snapper are found throughout the southern half of Australia. Juvenile snapper, also known as rugger snapper, are mainly found in inlets, bays, shallow and sheltered marine waters. Adults are often found near reefs, underwater structures including limestone ledges, and man made structures such as artificial reefs and wrecks etc.

As the juvenile snapper get older, there is a tendency to move deeper into gulf and offshore waters. They will usually remain in these waters until they reach 12 to 13 years of age, and then return to inshore waters for the remainder of their lives.

Snapper in southern waters will spawn between late October and early March, with most snapper in the gulf waters reaching sexual maturity when they reach 28cm in length. Snapper are also known as serial spawners, meaning that they will spawn repeatedly during the breeding season.

Snapper reach the minimum length of 38cm at approximately 6 years of age. They can reportedly live up to 35 years, with 22-year-old fish common in our waters.

The natural diet of snapper includes crabs, squid, sea urchins and mussels.

Fishing Snapper Tips

Silence is a key to snapper fishing success.If the snapper are in a particular spot, they may only bite for one hour in twenty four, and then perhaps only on a particular bait, and at a particular stage of the tide.

That’s why an understanding of the fish and its habits through accurate records is so important.
Collect information such as the date, the high or low tide (both depth and time of day), GPS marks, the time the fish was caught, the bait, any berley used and any additional comments that I think may be useful.

Many experts recommend a running rig for snapper fishing, using 20lb braided line with easy slide sinkers to change weights simply and quickly. One expert says he prefers size 6/0 tarpon hooks and bait of whole tommy ruff or King George whiting heads, berleying up with tuna pieces or whiting frames in a berley bomb suspended about a metre off the bottom.

Remember, one of the most important things about snapper fishing at night is to remain quiet, and keep direct light i.e. torches out of the water especially if fishing in shallow water (less than 10 metres). If fishing with a rod, have the drag set. When using tommies or King George whiting heads big fish will usually hit the bait hard and run, while smaller snapper tend to bite like King George whiting.

If you hook a big snapper, it will instantly run for cover in a rocky area or artificial reef, so it is important to steer the fish away from spots that can get you snagged or busted off. While playing the fish, let the rod do the work by pumping and winding the reel pumping and winding - as the snapper tires.

Once the fish comes to the surface, you can use a gaff or a landing net. If you are going to release a fish, don't use a gaff - once you have removed the hook, support it in the water for a few minutes by placing one hand under its head and belly, and with the other hand holding its tail move it backwards and forwards to force water over its gills.

Remember though that where there are snapper, there will also be sharks. It is common for sharks to attack a hooked snapper and follow it to the surface. Be mindful of sharks, but don’t let it put you off snapper fishing.

If you do want to keep a snapper, kill it straight away by inserting a sharp knife straight into the depression above the eye socket. The knife will enter the brain and kill the fish quickly. Then place the fish on ice to keep it in prime condition.

If you are going to fillet the snapper, leave the scales on and skin it instead. This removes the skin and the scales at the same time. If freezing the fillets, the scales will also help to prevent freezer ‘burn’ on the flesh. Once the fish has thawed out, you can skin the fillet, removing the skin and scales prior to cooking.

When cooking, cut the fillets into presentable chunks and cook them in oil. However, it is important not to overcook snapper as it can go dry.

(information compiled from Fisheries Department South Australia)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Review - Fridge to Go Cooler Bags

Keeping your bait, beer and lunch (in that order) cool and fresh can be a challenge.

We've recently been trialling the Fridge-To-Go range of cooler bags and it seems that this product is an improvement on what has previously been in the market. No power or ice bricks required to keep things cool and in tests, it out performed other bags, keeping 24 cans of cola below 4 degrees when the outside temp was 24 degrees. Its all got to do with some patented technology, which, to be honest, I don't think I understand - but who cares as it seems to work!

The manufacturer claims that these bags will keep food and drink cool and fresh for up to eight hours, and our field tests, even on hot days, seem to support this.

Like some other soft skinned cooler bags, it contains a couple of removable cooling panels which you place in the freezer. When its time to go, put the panels in the specially designed slots in the cooler bag, drop in your bait, sangers or what ever and away you go.

The Fridge-To-Go Cooler bags come in a range of colours and sizes, from a "small lunch box size" to the Roller Fridge 36 Cooler Bag. A word of warning - these bags are not cheap, the largest size retails for just over $100 but if you consider how much a good cooler bag can improve your day out fishing, then we think its worth it.

The Fridge-To-Go cooler bag is of sturdy design, and our one complaint from a design point of view, is that the strap that holds the bag flat when its time to pack it away is not attached, so I was forever picking it up off the ground or looking for it.


Fridge-­‐To-­‐Go® Single Bottle Tote cooler bag -$17.95

Fridge-­‐To-­‐Go® 2-­‐Bottle Tote cooler bag - $32.95

Fridge-­‐To-­‐Go® Small Lunch cooler bag - $27.95

Fridge-­‐To-­‐Go® Medium Lunch cooler bag - $32.95

Fridge-­‐to-­‐Go Mini Fridge 6 lunch cooler bag - $29.95

Fridge-­‐to-­‐Go Mini Fridge 12 cooler and wine cooler bag - $38.95

Fridge-­‐to-­‐Go Roller Fridge 36 cooler bag - $105.95

Fridge-­‐to-­‐Go Beverage Fridge single wine bottle cooler - $29.95

Fridge-­‐to-­‐Go Coolzie stubby holder cooler - $10.95

Fridge-­‐to-­‐Go Diabetic Travel Wallet cooler bag - $36.95

Available from

Buy it online or find your nearest stockist at

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Big Nobby

Being a member of a local fishing club, I try to get offshore looking for the elusive big red nobbies as often as I can. Our fishing club uses Noosa Bluewater Charters. Skipper Alex and his decky Chuckie know where to find the big ones and we always have a great day out.

Early one beautiful November morning last year, we headed out to one of our regular fishing spots at North Reef and being a very keen angler, my line was the first to hit the bottom. Within a few seconds bang, one very hungry snapper took the bait. He not only took the bait but ran with it tangling another person’s line. That was when it became interesting. I knew I had a big one on and waited patiently, but nervously, while lines were untangled, hoping all the time that he was going to still be on my line. I think we have all experienced that feeling while fishing.

After much huffing and puffing on my part, I got this big nobby to the surface, no mean feat from 40 metres as I’m not that big myself. I yelled out for the landing net but by this time, everyone else it seemed, were too busy hooking up on their own. The next step to landing this beauty was a disaster in progress, as a well meaning fisher person standing next to me decided to help, grabbing my leader and pulling to lift it into the boat. Big mistake, the line snapped and there was my beautiful big snapper lying on the surface of the water just out of my reach. Obviously, I was not the only one tired from this long drawn out ordeal. I was so tempted to jump in after him but instead just stood there looking at him in disbelief.

All was not lost though, as another fisher person placed the tip of his rod under the snapper, holding him there while the landing net was produced to bring him in. Finally he was onboard and my smile was from ear to ear.

Definitely a team effort and the guys still talk about my big nobby. He was 90 cms long and weighed 7½ kgs. My PB (so far). He was caught on Shimano Catana 7' rod and Shimano Baitrunner 6500 reel with a 20 lb line.

Nobby Robby :)

New Rovex Depth Finder Braid

We've just picked up some of the new Rovex Depth Finder Braid, the new multi-coloured braid from Jarvis Walker brands that tells you how deep your line is.

Depth Finder Braid is made using advanced Y6 Digital Braiding Technology, which the manufacturer claims creates arguably the best performing braided line available. It has even strength and holds its shape perfectly for packing neatly on your spool, which it says will make casting distance and accuracy easier. The tight high-quality weave provides excellent sensitivity and abrasion resistance.

In addition to the qualities of the line itself, Depth Finder features a multi-coloured finish, making it a great jigging and trolling braid. The colour changes every 10m with lengths of five different colours to indicate how much line is out. Rovex also thought to mark every metre with a small flash of highly-visible yellow, for ultimate fishing accuracy. Good thinking.

Rovex Depth Finder would appear to be ideal for ensuring jigs and baits are fished in the strike zone.

Rovex Depth Finder Braid is available in 300yd and 600yd spools in breaking strains from 13kg (30lb) to 45kg (100lb).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Winter Barra at Monduran

Recently, me and three mates headed up to Lake Monduran, near Gin Gin to try our hand at impoundment barramundi fishing. We towed our boats the 4 hours north from the Sunshine Coast and set up camp at the Lake Monduran Holiday Park.

We opted for a non-powered site as we were pretty self sufficient. The park facilities were good with the camp kitchen supplying electric BBQ’s, sinks and a communal fridge. The amenities were clean and the showers had a good and ample supply of hot water.

A stocked impoundment permit is required to fish Lake Monduran and these are available at the onsite kiosk. Lake Monduran is a huge body of water that extends 30 km from the dam wall. The dam is a maze of flooded forests and submerged timber which forms a perfect environment for the stocked barra.

Finding your way through the forest of standing tree tops can be quite tricky as it all looks the same and the submerged tree tops and stumps have taken their toll on many an outboard leg and prop. A GPS chart plotter and a keen eyed lookout is invaluable for getting out and back without too much damage especially when returning at night.

Our tactic for fishing Monduran was to fish the early mornings and late afternoons flicking soft plastics towards structure and weed banks in the shallow bays around the edge of the lake. Our theory being that the Barra would be seeking out the warmer water in the winter, however I have heard of other fishermen who have had success in the deeper water, even in winter.

The Monduran barra in these shallow bays are very easily spooked so we would motor to about two hundred metres from the spot we wanted to fish, use the electric to get us in to about 50 metres and then let the wind slowly push us through the shallow bay. Then we would cast for many hours each session. In total, we guesstimated that each of us probably cast 800 times over the two days we were there.

Casting like that is very pleasant with the sun warming your back. You tend to fall into a peaceful almost hypnotic trance, when suddenly bang, you’re suddenly snapped back to reality. By instinct, you strike hard and fast, the hook sets, rod bends almost in half and your line strips off the drag. Your heart is pounding pretty fast, but then jumps up another gear when you realise the fish you’ve just spent 3 hours flicking lures for is heading straight towards a jungle of half submerged dead tree tops.

Anyway, after screaming at my mate, Steve to drop the bloody video camera and jump on to the electric, we managed to chase my first Monduran barra through a maze of submerged tree tops and eventually landed a 104.5cm Monduran impoundment barra.

These fish look beautiful. They are big, fat and heavy and glistening silver like they are made of polished chrome. They are a magnificent fighting species and my fight incorporated lightning fast bursts of power, frantic head shaking and spectacular clearances out of the water.

After a few quick photos, I gently returned her to the water. A few rocks back and forth to get water flowing through her gills, she gave a massive indignant kick with her broad tail and swam off back down to her haunt.

All in all, we had a great weekend with 3 of us landing and releasing metre plus barra’s, mine at 104.5cm, Steve with one at 101cm (just enough to get him into the metre plus club) and Dude’s “horse” at 117 cm, a couple of monsters spitting lures close to the boat and two nice 40 plus Australian bass topped off the weekend. I was fishing a Shimano Stradic 3000FI with a Wilson LCS pelagic spin 7’, 20lb Yamatoyo SW super PE braid and 6” Berkley hollow belly in pearl white. Maybe my line was a bit light for the lake but managed to do the job on the day.

I can’t recommend enough a trip to Lake Monduran targeting these magnificent impoundment barra. It’s great fishing, a beautiful scenic place and it’s a fantastic feeling joining that metre plus club!

Cheers and great fishing,

Snap’s tips for fishing Lake Monduran

• Fish the shallower bays where the water is warmest
• Cast around structure and along the edge of weed banks
• Keep noise to a minimum
• Take a GPS chart plotter and good torch/spotlight
• Use an electric motor to get into the shallow bays
• Take a knotless or rubber meshed net with you
• Learn the correct way to handle your fish so that she can be released unharmed

Friday, August 6, 2010

Mahi Mahi (Dolphin Fish)

Mahi-mahi are swift and acrobatic game fish with striking colours. Their sides are golden with iridescent greens and blues, and their belly is white and yellow. These colours can change rapidly, excited fish "light up", and dying mahi-mahi often turn silvery over-all with blue spots on the flanks. and the colours darken when the fish dies.

Mahi mahi are found all along the Australian east coast from midway on the NSW coast and along just about the entire west coast. They are most prolific during the warmer months, tending to hang in large schools around any sort of floating debris.
The current world record for Mahi Mahi is 39.91 kilograms (88lb), caught in 1998 in Exuma, Bahamas. Catches average 7 to 13 kilograms (15 to 29 lb), and any mahi-mahi over 18 kilograms (40 lb) is exceptional. Males are larger than females.

Mahi mahi are also known as dorado or dolphin fish. However, they are not at all related to dolphins.

Fishing techniques

Frigate birds can often indicate the presence of mahi-mahi.In earlier years, most mahi-mahi were caught accidentally, as bycatch in tuna and swordfish longline commercial fisheries. Now they are sought by both commercial and recreational fishermen.

A typical fishing technique is to take a sport fishing boat to the edge of a reef in about 120 feet (37 m) of water and troll near a line of floating weed. Mahi-mahi often congregate around marine debris such as floating boards, palm trees and fronds, often found in association with such weed lines.

Mahi-mahi typically are taken by trolling on the surface with 30 to 50 pound line . Once a school of Mahi are encountered, casting with small jigs or Fly casting using a bait-and-switch technique can be successful. I used a small jig to catch a beatiful 12 Kg Mahi Mahi off the coast of Noosa just last year.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mad Keen Windcheater Half Zip

A few of us here at Fishing & Boating Australia are big supporters of Mad Keen brand gear.

Mad Keen is attitude packed and lives by the golden rule ‘Fishing Comes First’.

The Mad Keen current range includes clothing for all ages, 4WD spare (SUV) wheel covers, accessories, stickers, headwear and more.

Our current favourite is the Mad Keen Windcheater Half Zip, which retails for about $39, all though you can find it on special at places like . This is a versitle and comfortable piece of fishing gear and a must have for those windy August days out on the boat.

For stockists, visit

Monday, August 2, 2010

Shimano Tiagra 50W LRS 2-Speed Reel Review

We all know that Shimano has made name for itself in the big game fishing reel category. The Tiagra 50W LRS continues that great tradition. If you're after the big sport fish, these reels deliver.

The Simano Tiagra 50W LRS reels are tough - with their specially treated stainless steel ball bearings that are more corrosion resistant than standard stainless steel by a factor of 10. The Tiagra's spools are machined from cold-forged aluminum, lending to its extreme durability even under heavy drag loads.

The screws on the side plate are chromed prevent corrosion. With 2 sets of alwyas engaged gears, gear ratio changes are quick and easy, even under load.

Drag surface is effectively doubled with the Tiagra's dual drag disks and floating drag plate. This combination provides a wide range of drag settings, increasing long-term durability. When a fish bites, the tension on the freespool increases as the clicking alarm is activated. The Septon handle grip is soft to the touch yet still lives up to the Shimano name. Parts are well lubricated and protected with the metal frame keeps all moving parts in alignment. Machined from solid aluminum stock, the frames are incredibly rigid and strong allowing extremely low tolerances.

This is a great reel and we are happy to recommend it.