Frustration must be on every angler’s mind at this stage. We are all asking the question, “When will the weather finally give us a break?” Nevertheless, many a hardy fisher has braved going out and reaped the benefits by landing some handsome catches. From reports, it appears that the average size of snapper caught is bigger than last year. This is largely due to the increase in the legal minimum size for snapper, which has gone up from 270mm to 300mm in our waters. I am impressed at how many anglers only take fish between 350mm to 500mm, letting go of specimens either side of those measurements.
During November, snapper have been coming together in large schools to spawn in deeper waters. This will soon change as they move back to the reefs and estuaries during summer, making them a little more difficult to catch. But right now catches are still very good in the deeper waters, say 40 metres deep, as the spawning process is not fully over.
Female snapper are currently full of eggs. During spawning, females and males release their eggs and sperm together. This happens nearer the water surface and at night. The whole school does this together at the same time.
Meanwhile, summer holidays are just around the corner, and I strongly suggest that skippers go through their safety gear. Sadly, we often only think about safety when we are in trouble and then it’s too late. Here is a short checklist for your perusal. You can never be over cautious.
• Lifejackets. See that inflatable ones have a fully-charged CO2 cartridge. If in doubt, bring it to Tackle & Outdoors for a free check.
• Flare kit. Flares have a limited life of about three years. Check the dates and replace them if needed.
• Medical kit. Do you have an adequate medical emergency kit on board your boat? Check and replace anything missing.
• EPIRB. Do you have an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon? If so, check the battery expiry date as these have a limited life in sealed units.
• Anchor. Do you have a spare anchor and rope? Check shackles and splicing for rust and wear.
• Toolkit. Keep a basic set of tools on board. You never know what you might need to fix in an emergency.
• Water. Take extra water for each person on board. You need at least 5 litres of emergency water per person.
• Miscellaneous. Make sure you are carrying the following: Hand-held mirror, compass, GPS, whistle, sunscreen and hat.
Anthony Roberts, Tackle & Outdoors