Spearfishing Snapper – How to Hunt Series
Snapper are weary reef fish. There are over a hundred species of snappers and all of them tend to school in large groups over structure. Snappers can range in size from under one pound (0.5 kilo) to over 100 pounds for some species. There are a couple different strategies for targeting snapper and these strategies are usually based on the depth. For more information on snapper check them out here.
For most snapper a standard reef speargun with a reel is enough to successfully land them. Larger species of snappers, like Cubera, may need a float and floatline to land. Really big snapper are, pound for pound, one of the strongest fighting fish in the ocean.
If you are diving at a depth you can reach the bottom and rest on the bottom there are a couple strategies to help bring in snapper. One of the best strategies is called scraping. On rocky bottom you rest on the bottom and grab a rock and rub it against the bottom. The noise of the rocks scrapping frequently brings snapper in to see what is making the noise.
Another strategy is called dusting. If you are near structure, but resting in sand this strategy works well. Land in the sand and try to move as little as possible. Toss a few handfuls of sand up into the water column. As the sand settles snapper frequently come to see what caused the commotion and see if there is an easy meal.
After that the challenge is shooting them. Snapper are very fast and dart around unexpectedly. You have to try and get as close as possible and predict where they will move. Once they are aware of you they may go into a piece of structure and avoid you. In some cases you can go to the place the snapper entered the structure and wait with your speargun pointed there. Occasionally the fish will take a quick look to see if you have left. That is your brief, lat chance opportunity of an elusive fish.
If you are going diving in depths where you can’t rest on the bottom you can still target snapper in the water column. This requires a bit more planning as you will need flashers and chum. You might see snapper in the column above structure without flashers or chum, but you will have a challenge closing the distance.
There are a couple strategies with chumming, but the hard part is getting fish to stay in the column. Chum blocks and boxes work well, because you can set the depth of the chum. Chum balls work well, along with cut bait. The only problem with these methods is they start at the surface and sink all the way to the bottom. Overall chum is great because it keeps the fish active, busy, and easily distracted.
Flashers help keep their attention briefly, but used in combination with chum they work well. The real benefit of flashers is they can bring in other species, which can just add to your day.
This particular species warrants special consideration. They are big, powerful, elusive, and armored with thick scales to name a few! If you are targeting these specifically, double flopper shafts and 480lb cable is your best bet. You will most likely bend your shaft, but the flopper shaft gives you your best chance at controlling the fish and slows it down as it makes a run for a cave or the wreck!