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Moreton Bay Jew & Snapper

Nabeel Issa

We all have our favourite place to go fishing, whether it is because we always catch fish, because it's local and easy to get to or maybe you just enjoy the scenery and the serenity of the location. For me it's a combination of all of the above and as the title suggests, my favourite place to fish is Moreton Bay! I have always been intrigued by 'the Bay'. It's right on our doorstep here in Brisbane and provides some amazing angling opportunities, but it wasn't until recently that I experienced a taste of how awesome it can truly be.

The night before heading out to fish is often filled with excitement. Up late rigging the rods, making sure the boat is ready, everything is packed, batteries are charged and then trying to get a few hours of sleep before the early start. Then I lay there, wondering how the session will go and play out different scenarios of fish that I could catch... I hope I'm not the only one who does this!

Ok so to the fishing! Recently I have been having some good success with the snapper and jew (mulloway) in the Bay. They have been schooling up in good numbers and it has made chasing them a lot of fun. A few months ago we were out fishing, catching a few here and there, but nothing to write home about. After a long bumpy ride looking for fish and struggling, we decided to head back closer to the ramp to do a few drifts on top of some reef before calling it quits. Well when we arrived back, the water had glassed out, the wind died off and the sounder lit up like I have never seen before. First drop over the side saw a double hook-up on jew and snapper, which was the start of one of the best fishing sessions I have ever experienced! Over the next few hours we lost count of the number of snapper and jew we had caught, it just became a matter of finding the schools on the sounder, dropping our plastics down to them and hanging on!

Fishing in 50-60 feet of water, our technique involved using 3/8 or 1/2oz TT HeadlockZ HD jigheads rigged with an assortment of ZMan plastics (we tried a heap of different ones). The standouts were the ZMan 4" StreakZ Curly TailZ in Baby Bass and Motor Oil, as well as the ZMan 3" MinnowZ in Mood Ring. Equally important was the addition of Pro-Cure scent. We found that when the fish went quiet, it was usually because we hadn't re-applied the scent. So it paid to keep the lure 'scented up'. We used the Mullet Super Gel Scent and Bloody Tuna Super Gel Scent flavours.

We would sound the fish up and then line up the boat to drift over them accordingly. Then, we dropped our plastics down and kept a contact, close watch as they dropped. If you managed to land the lure on top of the school, it was almost guaranteed a hook up and you would see the line take off. It really was easy fishing and we ended up having to leave the fish biting as the wind started to pick up and it got fairly rough. Not that we were complaining though, after what we just experienced!

So since that session I have been out many times and have still been having good (but not AS good) success targeting these snapper and jew. The jewfish (mulloway) have been a bit easier to find, while the snapper are a bit trickier and have a much shorter bite period. It's all been a learning process for me, but I have found my better sessions to be on or around the new moon and with a run out tide. If you can get these conditions with an early morning start it's even better as the snapper tend to bite better early on.

For this sort of fishing, having a good quality sounder is paramount. It helps locate the schools of fish and then lets you focus on getting them to bite. This is my favourite part, as you know they are there and it just becomes a matter of switching through your lures and changing your technique until you can coax one into biting... and when it all works out, it's a great feeling!

Chasing snapper and jew in Moreton Bay, for me, has been a real challenge and being able to catch them consistently has been hard work. Glimpses of success every now and then though keep me keen to stick at it. Learning to read your sounder and having confidence that your lures can get them to bite is a big part of catching these fish. So get out there, spend a bit of time searching, throw a few ZMan plastics and you may be surprised with the results!

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