There are many species available around the Australian coastline, which are referred to as snapper. The Pink Snapper from the southern half of the continent is the most popular and well known. The Fingermark Bream is often referred to as Golden Snapper and is equally well known and is especially held in high regard by anglers from the northern half of the country. In addition, there are other species, which are sought after and held in equal high regard as to these two species.
Snapper fishing is one of the great fishing adventures. The fish, regardless of the species is an opportunistic feeder and can turn up in estuarine locations as well as along coastal and offshore reef systems. They fight hard and they taste a treat.
Many of the biggest and best fishing competitions around the country, are focused upon these great sportfish. In many cases, even if the snapper is not the target fish for the competition, many annual events are won and lost on the catches of these fish. In some of the better known events, from the southern regions of the country, the events are won and lost with only small variations in size and weight, from the landed fish.
The most successful anglers are those who care for their fish and give their angling methods a little thought. Snapper, like most fish dehydrate quite quickly after capture. When a fish dehydrates it can lose up to 20% of its body weight in a very short period of time. In addition, many anglers use gaffs to land their fish, especially if they are large specimens and the simple process of gaffing fish, puts a hole in the body. This hole, while it allows the angler to grab the fish and swing it out of the water, also allows body fluids from the fish to escape. Couple this with the normal dehydration after capture and your prized catch may suddenly come back to the field.
When fishing for snapper, especially when fishing in snapper tournaments, the fish should always be landed with the aid of a landing net. This ensures that the fish is unharmed and if it is to be released, this can be accomplished and ensure that the fish has an excellent chance of recovery. If the fish is to be retained, then the fish can retain much of its original condition until it can be weighed or prepared for the table.
Sounds like a lot to do with nothing, doesn't it? When you consider that many competitions for snapper, are won and lost on a school of the same sized fish. A 5kg fish is a 5kg fish. The final decision between a group of anglers catching 5kg fish in any tournament will be determined by very small differences in weight at the end of the tournament. Generally, the winner will be the one who has cared for his catch the best, throughout the tournament.
Gaffs are very useful pieces of equipment and are designed to assist anglers to land their catch. However, many anglers are just too quick to use the gaff, rather than a net. The gaffs are easier to stow. They fall quickly to hand and when used properly, almost guarantee the landing of the fish.
The large snapper landing nets are difficult to stow. They are not always at hand and many anglers have become accustomed to using the gaffs. However, when used appropriately, the net is even more effective in landing species like snapper. These fish usually come to the boat, beaten and on their side. This makes it easy for the angler to bring the fish to the net and complete the capture, safely and securely. The fish is undamaged and the prize can be preserved for the captor to enjoy, in memory, photo, as a meal or as the bets capture of a tournament.