Sailfin Snapper Fishing

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Instructor: Chris Rushford

Reef fishing offers opportunities to catch various gamefish, including ultra light tackle species and donkeys. The sailfin snapper, native to Indo/Pacific waters, is a rare and hard-to-find fish. Ross Newton and Chris Rushford, skilled in light tackle fishing, target pelagic, reef, and backcountry fish regularly. Learning from experienced fishermen at Reef Donkey Village, including Rowley Shoals, is essential for success in this sport.

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Reef Fishing Adventures

Reef fishing holds some of the most unexpected surprises. You never know what you're going to get yourself into, until you're there and the full glory of the moment presents itself. In the Indo/Pacific Oceans, some of the fiercest gamefish await. Your tackle and skill will be tested to the fullest. Many encounters will end in dismay, but the ones you conquer will forever live in your memories as full-hearted victories.

At the Rowley Shoals, off the west coast of Australia, you'd better come armed with knowledge derived from experience battling powerful fish.

Mysteries of the Deep

Among the many mysteries of reef fishing in deep water atolls are some of the most astonishing gamefish you'll ever engage. The sailfin snapper, also known as the Threadfin Snapper or Bluelined Sea Bream, resides in the sand substrates between the bommies or coral heads that form the flats atop the vast atolls of the Rowley Shoals. This stunning fish, with its impeccable reef coloration, is almost invisible. They're ghost-like, akin to bonefish, and roam the reefs in small groups, necessitating quick-reaction sight casting.

Though not a large fish, the sailfin snapper poses significant challenges on ultra-light tackle. Their stocky shape, coupled with a thick tail and massive caudal fin, makes them incredibly powerful. As soon as they grab your jig, the line starts peeling off your reel. It's not about if you'll get broken off, but how quickly.

An Adventurous Expedition

I joined Ross Newton and Chris Rushford from Reel Teaser Fishing Adventures to delve into the reef fishing techniques and tactics they utilize for this explosive fish. They target the formidable sailfin snapper regularly. In our 'In The Spread' fishing video, you'll uncover a treasure trove of insights that'll aid you in landing many of these fish. And a bonus: the sailfin snapper is delectable when cooked. If you're after both an exhilarating fight and a tasty meal, our video will offer you invaluable tips from two of the eastern Indian Ocean's premier fishermen.

Given the fish's might, a larger jig is essential to avoid being straightened out. Concurrently, a small plastic paddle prawn or a similar lure is used. Thus, you're baiting with a small soft plastic on a mismatched, robust jig equipped with a sturdy hook to endure the fish's fury. Chris Rushford elaborates on his preferred jig head size and the range of soft plastics that consistently yield catches. The angling method is straightforward. Both he and Ross share invaluable advice on the fish's feeding habits and the specific jig movements that entice bites.

Tackle Insights

Chris is meticulous when detailing the tackle and rigs featured in our sailfin snapper video. Despite being ultra-lightweight fishing, your equipment must have sufficient strength to prevent the fish from reaching the reef and severing your line. He discusses the necessary power of your rod and reel setup. Lightweight doesn't equate to frail. Their gear is robust. You'll be astonished at the type of line and leader Ross and Chris use to combat these titans. The leader must withstand both the fish's pulling strength and the abrasive reef. Focusing on the jig, Chris delves deeper into rigging it with small soft plastics. Given that he employs a fast-sink jig head that's oversized for the bait, he'll show you the desired end result.

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