Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tackling up for Snapper on Soft Plastics - Part 1

G'Day Fisho's well our semi regular blog is back in action and we have loads of great info coming your way over the next few posts. Expect info on Tackling Up to catch snapper, a review of brand new ebook on catching Tuna, plus more reviews and news.

With some of the prime NSW snapper months upon us Dan and I figured it would be a great opportunity to go over the basics of catching snapper on plastics and remind all the keen snapper on plastics anglers out there, that the opportunity to fish the Dave Irvine Memorial Snapper Classic is not far away. In fact it is scheduled this year for the June Long Weekend (fishing is on the 6th and 7th and Monday 8th June is the Public Holiday)so there's no excuses. For entry forms email snapperonplastics@hotmail.com or contact Coffs Harbour Deep Sea Fishing Club on 02 6652 1534. We'll be there again this year with a big group of mates for a fun, fishy long weekend, so come and say hi if you're going.

Tackling Up to Catch Snapper on lures,,,

Rods, Reels, Line, leader, plastics and Jig heads.

As you can appreciate Dan and I fished pretty hard for snapper on soft-plastics over the last 2 years to produce our DVD ‘In Search Of Old Snapper’. During this time we've had the great fortune to fish with some awesome rod and reel combos. The next few blog post's will cover all the basics of tackling up to catch snapper.

In this post I've covered a list of the rods and reels we've come across which we believe offer a cross section of the tackle available to the avid angler. It is in no way an exhaustive list and if you think we've left off something that ever snapper angler must have in there arsenal then either write to us or leave a comment on this blog post..
To get the low down on which braids, leaders, lures and jig heads we recommend keep your eye out for the next post which is not far away.

Our experience has taught us that there are only a few hard and fast rules for selecting tackle to chase these amazing fish.
Firstly spend as much money as you can rationalise on the rod and reel combo, spend the most $$'s on the reel and line then select a rod to do the job with the $$$'s you have left from your budget.
Rods should be made from high modulus graphite and suited for use with fine diameter braid or gel-spun lines and should be no shorter than 7ft and do not need to be any longer than 8ft. The length gives you the ability to make nice long casts, whilst the graphite gives you increased sensitivity and the ability to work the plastic effectively. Rods for this type of work need to be as light weight yet strong as you can afford, a fast to medium fast action is essential for plasticing; for the cast, the feel and to impart an action to the lure and finally to set the hook when a smart hard mouthed snapper does take your lure. Lastly whether you choose to fish a rod suited to light line (*8-15lb braid) or heavy line (*15-20lb braid), will determine which rod you select. (*Remember braid rate at 8lb does not have a breaking strain of 8lb it is more like 20lb, and for a 15lb braid it is up around 35-40lb breaking strain - So depending on your sportiness either of these will definitely do the job... but more on that in the next post.

Dan and I now have 2-4 outfits for this style of fishing and whilst it may seem like overkill we have found these outfits to be the most adaptable ones in our quivers. We used them to chase and catch, Australian salmon, the ever favourite yellowtail kingfish, Barra in the NT, GT's in Samoa, Yellowfin, albacore and mac tuna offshore plus jewfish (Mulloway) on plastics in the estuaries and on baits offshore. So it is definitely worth getting one of these super versatile and very effective outfits to fit in your tackle arsenal, as it will do so much more than just help you catch serious snapper.


Firstly to the pointy end of the equation. Selecting a rod for snapper fishing is no simple task, it doesn’t need to be complicated its just that there are so many choices of rod brands/lengths/actions/prices on the market it can be extremely hard to know where to start. From the top end of the price spectrum of Mega Bass, Daiwa, Shimano and Loomis rods built for the purpose to the less expensive graphite rods produced by every tackle manufacturer out there - Where does one start… here are the basics 7ft-8ft, 1 or 2 piece, medium to fast action (light in the tip folding away to a strong butt section), light in the hand (think about this you will be making 100’s of casts in a session), quality guides and reel seat and that the gist of it.

Here’s a list in no specific order of rods built to do the specific job of cast lightly weighted lures long distances, work those lures effectively, set the hooks and have muscle to end the fight.

Essentially every tackle manufacturer distributing rods in Australia has produced a rod for targetting snapper, the one you choose will be dictated by your budget and what feels comfortable in your hand and the recommendations we've given above... here are a few too consider amongst which are our favourites;

Berkley Dropshot Tournament Snapper - 7ft, 1pce, fast action suited to heavier line classes www.purefishing.com.au
Sakana Alien SA-701SH - 7ft 1pce, fast action suited to lighter line classes. Available from Freddies fishing tackle stores check them out at www.sakana.com

MegaBass Silvershadow SSX-72ml
- 7ft, 2pce, super fast action for medium to light line classes. This is the top of the range rod with a price tag to match.

Shimano offers many rods to choose from depending on your budget and your sportiness; here's a few from across their list;
TCurve Snapper Tournament 701 - 7ft 1pce, fast action is probably their most sold snapper rod. (featured to left.

TCurve SPIN 722 SNAPPER - 7ft2inch 2 piece rod for those who like a little more rod length and the ease of travelling that a 2 piece rod provides.
FireBlood 701 SPIN M - 7ft 1pce fast action medium line class snapper rod
Raider MF Snapper Range
Starlo StiX SNAPPER range with a heavy rod in the form of SP HVY 701, a 7ft, 1pce fast action extra heavy line class 6-10kg.
Catana SNAPPER range
To see the full range of Shimano rods go to; www.shimanofish.com.au/

And of course there is the magnificent range of rods from Daiwa some of which are suited to snapper fishing the way we like it;

Luvias range of 7ft snapper rods is at the top of the Daiwa range
Heartland 702 ULFS - 7ft, 2pce - fast action light weight snapper rod
Heartland 701 LFS & MLFS - 7ft, 1pce - light and medium/light fast action snapper rods.
Team Daiwa Sol Snapper range 7-8ft $299 - $329 RRP
Team Daiwa Saltwater in 7ft-8ft - $250++ RRP
Team Daiwa Tierra - mid market $150++ RRP
Excellar range within which there is a heavy 7ft rod for extra stopping power.
At the time of writing I've just got off the phone from Evan at Daiwa and we were chatting about rods, reels, theories and so on and he now exclusively fishes for all his snapper on 8ft rods which are available in the TD Sol and TD Saltwater ranges to add just that extra length to the cast, he finds that the biggest fish are often picked off by those who make the longest cast - check them out at www.daiwafishing.com.au/

Now for the reels, as far as we're concerned these days in Australia there are really only a few brands to consider when it comes to the business end of winding the fish end. Daiwa and Shimano are without argument leading the world in fishing reel technology and development, whilst Penn, Berkley and Okuma also make quality reels for this type of fishing.

No matter what brand of reel falls into your favourites category almost every manufacturer on the market produces a reel suitable for fishing light to medium classes of braid. Here’s the low down; The reel size which seems best suited for this style of work is the 3000-4000 size reel allow for good retrieve speeds, solid drags and line capacity, personally I'd select for models with a precision worm drive oscillating mechanism will give the best results and provide the end user with a more enjoyable fishing experience, spend the most dollars here you can afford or justify

Here’s my pick of reels that will do the job perfectly;

Daiwa – Exist 3000
Daiwa – Custom Hyper Certate 4000
Shimano – Stella 4000FD
Shimano – Fireblood FA
Daiwa – Team Daiwa Heartland 4000
Daiwa – Morethan Branzino 3000
Shimano – Aspire 4000FA
Diawa – Team Daiwa Sol
Shimano – TwinPower 4000FC
Shimano – Saragosa 4000
Shimano – Stradic 4000FI

To read more about these reels visit ; www.daiwafishing.com.au/ or www.shimanofish.com.au/ .

Which ever reel you decide upon that suits your budget be sure to take good care of it so it serves you well. The reel manufacturers recommend that at the end of each session you wipe it down your reel with a hot damp cloth, to remove the salt, dry it with a clean dry rag, then spray with a silicone based water repellent (BALLISTOL or SPORTSGUARD) before backing the drag off and then storing in a cool dark place away from the elements.

Having said this personally I give my reels a good wash down in the shower with warm water with the drag screwed up tight, then I shake them dry, tip them upside down to free any residual water and wipe them with my bath towel and then back the drag off, because I fish regularly I leave my reels attached to the rods for ease of preparation for the next trip. The reasoning behind not hosing down your reels is that the force of the water, pushes any saltwater from the days fishing into the reel and over a period of time will cause corrosion.

Well that should be enough to get you thinking about your next rod and reel purchase tune back to our blog soon for Parts 2 & 3 on catching Snapper on plastics and for reviews on new books, new tackle and few untested theories...

Hope to see you all at the Dave Irvine Memorial Snapper Classic,,, but expect to hear a lot more from us before then...


Dan and Dan


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