How to Catch Moreton Bay Snapper on Soft Plastics - Gobblers Lures Blog

Updated: Jul 16, 2018

Over the years, I have had many people contact me about the best way to go about catching Snapper in Moreton Bay...


Most of the seasoned locals refer to Bay Snapper as Squire, because they are usually the smaller fish (30cm - 60cm) of the breed, using the shelter of the Bay to feed up and grow up before moving out the the deeper water reefs offshore, but for the sake of the blog...I'm just going to refer to them all as Snapper...


I absolutely love chasing Moreton Bay Snapper and the technique of using Plastics is ideal, and can also be applied in the Southern States, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and even in New Zealand where the Bay Snapper Fishing is brilliant also...


Moreton Bay Snapper are on offer all year round...but particularly turn-on and congregate for breeding in the coldest winter months, when the water temperature drops significantly...


The awesome thing about Moreton Bay is sometimes, the Big Fish that you would need to travel a fair distance offshore to find (70cm - 90cm), move into the shallower waters of the Bay, lured into the shallows for the prospect of breeding, and you can get lucky and land a Snapper of a lifetime if your prepared to put in the time...


Right now....this part of the year (July - Oct) is the ideal time to prospect for these bigger models in the Bay, but you'll have a much better experience if you focus your time and efforts on the 50cm - 65cm fish that become prolific around Mud Island, Harry Atkinson Artificial Peel Island, Goat Island and surprisingly, the Island Bays and Channels as far south as the Logan River, where I tend to focus most of my Bay Snapper prospecting efforts...


Gobblers Founder - Andrew Turnbull with a 7.5kg Peel Island Snapper on Plastics

The key things to look for when targeting Snapper in Moreton Bay is Bait Fish congregations on the sounder. Even though the latest Side Scan and Down Imaging Sounders make life that bit easier...you don't really need that type of electronics setup to find good patches of Snapper in Moreton Bay, but you will need a decent setup to find them nonetheless...


Find the bait and you will find the fish... Snapper are schooling fish and hang out in patches of similar sized individuals. If you find a patch and start hooking up, you will know pretty quickly what size fish you have around you. If the first 2 or 3 you pull in are 35cm...there is a pretty good chance they will all be around 35cm... and it's hard to drive away on search of that school of better size fish, when their hard enough to find in the first-place...


Most people struggle with what to look for on the sounder...but I always tell them, if you go over a good patch...you can't miss it...


A rare screen shot of a cracker school of active Moreton Bay Snapper

Once you find the Snapper...it's on... The hookups can come thick and fast if you're setup right. Snapper are aggressive feeders and the school fish mentality is to get a feed before the guy next to you takes your dinner...not to much different to feeding time at my house...


For this reason...you can have some of the best fishing on offer in South East Queensland and you don't need to travel for miles to get there. Most of my best Bay Snapper sessions have been a 10min run out from the Boat Ramp...bagging out in less than an hour..with plenty of fish thrown back during the sessions...


Gear...


The best part about Fishing for Snapper in Moreton Bay is you don't need ridiculously expensive gear to have a ball. You can access almost all areas of the Bay from a Tinnie on the right days... or even a Kayak if your not to worried about the monster Bull Sharks that want the Snapper just as much as you.


Personally, after the Sharks I have seen devouring my catch at the side of a 5.5m boat...I'll stay with the boat and leave the Kayak for the more adventurous among us. I really couldn't see how you could avoid being knocked over by some of these Sharks...it's just not something I would encourage anyone to knowingly go out to do.


With that said, a couple of 4-8kg 701 Graphite Rods, 15pnd Braid and 12pnd Leader is perfect. Hook all this up through a 2500 size Reel and your pretty much set.


Take a net to land your fish....for the reasons stated above....


Gobblers Founder - Andrew Turnbull with a Typical Moreton Bay Snapper on Plastics

Some of the fundamentals people pass by is their Lure colour choice. This is particularly important when honing in on Bay Snapper. You want a Lure that can match the water colour and conditions as close as possible! Gobblers actually make lures that can change colour with the conditions so you can fish them much longer than other brands...


Because Morton Bay can change from clear green waters to coffee coloured waters, literally overnight, from wind or rain...it's important to have a good spread of colour plastics with you to ensure your matching the conditions as close as possible... I cover this extensively in our free to download PDF book "Cracking the Code" which is definitely worth a read if you want to be successful on Moreton Bay Snapper.


Snapper fishing in Moreton Bay was the specific reason I created the Gobblers Lures "Medium Kits" which I was putting together for myself to take out targeting Moreton Bay Snapper before they were ever offered as a product on our online shop. This kit has proven to be our most popular offering, because it's just so versatile, and has all the profile lures in the kit that work best on this exact application.


A Gobblers Lures Medium Kit ready for Bay Snapper. 96 Lures. 3 Profiles. 6 Colours.

Choosing the right Plastics is another huge piece of the puzzle when targeting Snapper in Moreton Bay. Gobblers Lures have spent a serious amount of time on the water to get the colours just right and the profile sizes just right to help our customers (and ourselves) get the best results for our time on the water.


The bait fish size in the Bay is predominantly 3-4 Inches long...meaning...going all out with 7" Plastics may result in a pretty quiet day on the water... You need to look at what the Snapper are feeding on and start presenting them with Lures that are the same colour, profile and length that they would consider their normal food profile and your hookups will increase dramatically!


Once you get the profile and colour plastics right...your fishing will morph into a succession of results focused trips, that may change your opinion of just how many fish are actually on offer in Moreton Bay, and it's not just the Snapper that will appreciate this focused effort...


Adam Blewitt with a solid Moreton Bay Jew on a Gobblers 3" Diablo Curl Tail

I have usually found the best shows of active Snapper along the Channel edges..where they school-up the bait to make it easier to feed. I look for depths of between 16-25ft of water to start my searching...with shallow bank edges starting to rise up on the sounder.


Snapper move around, but they love structure, so any pinnacle rises or drop off's are good places to investigate...especially right out in the middle of the Bay where most boats travel past on their way to other spots. Take your time and have a good sound around...there are millions of spots to discover in the Bay for Snapper... and I find the best spots over and around Muscle beds and over and around Coffee rock outcrops...


I also look for Turtles. I usually find the best congregations of Snapper in the same places lots of Turtles hang out. It's usually a good indicator that your in a decent spot to find fish...and I have had my best Snapper sessions when Turtles are rising up all around the boat...


I have also found cracker fish in the shallow Bays around Peel Island and Macleay Island in low light conditions on the rising tide. Flicking a well presented Plastic up into 1m of water can produce a blistering hookup on a solid 65cm Bay Snapper that will have you looking for that option again and again...


To say it all comes together easily would be a far stretch, but if you put in the time to work out your area..and you start to follow the tips and information you can find all through out our website and on our Facebook page...you will be well on your way. Once you work it out...it all seems too easy...but I admit..it took me a while to build up enough knowledge to start having more successful trips out than not...





The best Plastic's in the Gobblers Lures range for catching Snapper in Moreton Bay are the 3.75" Jerk Shads and the 3" Curl Tails...


The 3" Curl Tails get hammered...especially when drifting through patchy shows of fish. The Curl Tail is designed to put a heap of action on the Lures without much or any input from the Angler, and is my personal favourite for Dead Sticking..meaning, you cast out while drifting, stick your rod in the rod holder... and leave it alone... I've caught some cracker Bay Snapper using the Dead Sticking technique...and I always have a rod out with a Curl Tail bouncing along the bottom, even when I'm flicking Jerk Shads on the other side of the boat.


The Gobblers 3.75" Jerk Shad is absolutely deadly on Bay Snapper and usually attracts the bigger Snapper in the School. All I do is cast it out...make sure it's on the bottom and give my Rod a flick or a shake, to lift the lure about 1m up off the bottom every 30 seconds or so. You can even Dead Stick them for awesome results too.


I use 1/4oz Jig Heads 95% of the time in Moreton Bay. 12pnd Leader is Key and don't have your Drag so tight that you cant pull line off...you'll get dusted up. Loosen your drag off so it comes off with a bit of tension, but not to much...and your all set. Don't touch your drag after the hookup...just let the fish run and enjoy the fight...


A Gobblers 3.75" Jerk Shad - Ideal for Moreton Bay Snapper

Tide times are very important in the Bay. Snapper turn on during the run-in tide and I find my best sessions are normally the last 2-3 hours of the run-in, and I fish all the way to the top of the tide and hang about for the first hour or so of the run out...


You can still find fish at any point throughout the tide...even right down to the low, but your tactics and lure profile need to change with it...and I find the 3" Curl Tail does a better Job of finding low tide fish.


Hopefully these tips have helped you out a bit, and don't forget to Read "Cracking the Code" as a follow up to this blog to cement your understanding of colour choices in Plastics. It's free to help you out... and takes about 30min to read.


Ben White with a quality 50cm Bay Snapper on a Gobblers 3" Curl Tail after reading these Tips

You can order all the right lures for this Job in the Gobblers Lures Online Shop. I highly recommend the Medium Kit....its a no brainer...


Best Regards

Andrew Turnbull - Founder

Gobblers Lures

www.gobblers.com.au


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