Workup rumours are running wild right now, they usually do at this time of year. And some nice are snapper being caught here n’ there amongst them – the volume certainly being turned up but are we really seeing the Spring thing out there?

Yes, and no. Even with some good weather sprinkled into the mix, the normal blustery conditions of late are making wide trips tricky. It is early days right now, perhaps just a week or two too early for the real deal, but the signs are all pointing towards a big influx of snapper just around the corner.

So just because we see gannets diving and herds of boats frantically heading in one direction chasing after mirage-like gannets, does not necessarily mean the fish are under them – gannets eat baitfish, not snapper. Of course, fishing in the rough vicinity as active gannets is a good place to be. Lately, the top of the Firth has provided this type of scenario, also out by The Pigeons and random spots in between.

Outer Gulf

Drift fishing the outer areas of the Gulf (around 46m and deeper) you can readily achieve snapper bag limits over a few hours. Aim to present your lures hard on the seafloor where snapper gurnard and even the odd kingfish are lurking. In this zone, there’s no need to hunt birds or dolphins. Just watch the sounder, fish light tackle and make sure your hooks are sharp.

The bigger picture

Whales have been very visible feeding on krill. It’s spectacular to see them but completely useless for humans targeting fish – no reason for snapper kings etc to be with them as they feed on the tiniest morsels.

It is normally mid-October when the workups start to draw in more snapper and become the holy grail of filling the fish bin fast. It will happen but not quite yet.

Kabura for the tough days

The Kabura is still the king of the super deep and the quiet day. Move it very slow or just leave it in the rod holder one wind up from the seafloor. Make sure you use the original Freestyle Kabura or you’ll simply get a lot fewer fish strikes, the uniquely buoyant skirts and tiny hooks within the skirt are two highly effective aspects of this lure.


There seems to be a good supply of legal-sized kingfish around the Gulf. If you are busting them off on light gear or small hooks, apply more patience – there is virtually nowhere for these fish to bust off on structure. Take your time and allow the fish to tire, which may take 15-minutes or so. Use a net at the boat.

Prep for work-up season

Lastly – be prepared. Are your reels drag working smoothly, are your rod guides in good condition – free of little nicks that cut lines – do you have the sharpest of hooks and high quality, proven lures, when is the next weather window? Deal with this stuff today and make this summer the one full of memorable photos of you and fish.

espresso report, snapper, L'll squidwings