Mako Eyewear Hit Coffs Coast
The Dave Irvine Snapper Classic was the first of it's kind fishing comp requiring anglers to catch, photograph and ultimately release their fish with points awarded on a length basis. This was the brainchild of the late Dave Irvine who was prominent in promoting fish care, developing the Environet. It seemed like a great opportunity to head north and sample some the fantastic snapper fishing Coffs in known for.
We met up with Scott Amon from FishLife magazine who we had arranged to guide us around his backyard for the Thursday prior to the event. As we motored out of the harbour, the excitement built as light winds greeted the boat as we hit the first headland. Our plan was to fish shallow, mostly targeting the shallow inshore reefs that are prolific along the coatline here and it didn't take long to register a fish, well a hookup and a lost one at least as Brand Manager, Dan Burgess promptly grabbed someone elses rigged fishing rod, landed a cast near some fish activity and hooked up to something we never got a look at. A good start, sort of!
From there we targeted a bunch of other shallow spots with all but one fish coming from less than 15 metres. The rigs were simple, 6 and 7 inch plastics on 1/4 and 1/3 jig heads fish ahead of the drifting boat. It's a simple technique that accounts for good numbers of these fish. Cast ahead as far as the rig will allow and work the lure as it sinks with 2-3 lifts of the rod before taking up the slack. Most times the fish will hit the lure on the drop. The busiest period seemed be centred around the morning but later in the day fish were still on the chew.
When it slowed, most bites came then on soft plastic vibes which are great for snapper and small hardbodies worked too. I like to fish these with a long cast ahead of the boat, allow the lure to sink and impart action on the lure with as long lift of the rod tip before letting the lure sink again. Again, it's a nice change from the standard soft plastics. I use anything up to 70mm long in these styles of lures.
The water clarity was exceptional and most of us chose to wear the G2H5 lens which gave us exceptional depth penetration down to about 10-12 metres. We managed to lose several big fish with NSW Sales Guru, Dennis losing more than most. He did manage to land the beast pictured after advising us to give chase. Admittedly he was fishing light at the time.
We also caugh plenty of bycatch and a couple of tasty crustaceans which went down a treat for lunch.