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Trolling For Snapper

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Omaha View Drop Down
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    Posted: 12 Apr 2012 at 1:57pm
Hi,
Hoping this topic will be of some benefit to others and also a chance for some of the lure builders to maybe come up with some lures/ideas that I can incorporate in my lures.
Too explain more, I have recently been getting into trolling for Snapper in NZ. Where we fish there are a lot of quite productive areas that are between 12 to 25 metres deep and mostly over clear sand/mud . I have had limited success so far with first prototypes, plenty of hits down to 12 metres,but mostly under size fish.
What I am trying to achieve is a small lure 7 to 9cm long.
An action that is as strong as possible at as slow a speed as possible. A lot of the bigger/deeper running lures need more speed to perform.
The deeper it will swim the better.
Preferably a lure that won't pull your arms off with water pressure.
After checking heaps of sites(mainly kayak sites), I have come up with a pretty good starting setup but always room for improvement.
So far it seems that the slower I go the more snapper hits I get. I troll in my stabicraft 530 and it is too fast on the main motor. I now have a suzuki 2.5hp 4stroke. At just above idle I am travelling at about 2 or 3 kmh, even slower would be better. The longer the lure is in their face the more likely they are to nail it(theory only).
Line is 8lb braid with about a metre of 20lb hard trace.
I am using Avocado wood for the lures, this seems to be great. It carves/sands smooth like cheese. Is very bouyant, harder than red cedar when sanded, no raised grain issues and also as far as I can tell not the same health issues as red cedar. 
It seems that paravanes/downriggers etc scare a lot of the fish so to get as deep as possible I loop the trace 2 or 3 times through a 1 or 2 oz ball sinker. This is up a metre from the lure just below the braid. This basically doubles maybe more the depth that the lure is running at and doesn't seem to affect the action(this may not be purist lure trolling but so far it is the most efficient way I have found of getting deep). 
At the moment I am trying out a few different prototypes that will definately get deeper but have not been able to test them with the endless windy weekends we have been having.
This small lure/deep trolling is addictive and I plan to keep tweaking/modifying line/lures etc to see if I can get down to 25 metres. That will open up a lot of serious snapper territory over here. 
Once I have my act together I will post some pictures/details and try to keep this topic going with some useful info.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Red Hunter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2012 at 2:45pm
Omaha , not being a lure maker , I had a idear close to what you are wanting to do , and I found the Cod lures these guys make could be the go ? I am sure the guys here will have some excellent input for you .
 
            Ian 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Powelly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2012 at 3:40pm
25 metres is about 82 feet!!!! Confused The average power pole is about 30 feet tall, so we're looking at 3 power poles in depth.
 
Good luck to all the luremakers with the ultimate goal.  That's taking a deep diving lure to new depths.
 
Omaha, you might be best to work with heavy lead head soft plastics or try a towing your lure with a down rigger.
 
Good luck.
 
Cheers
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Screamingreel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2012 at 4:24pm
Omaha.
 I picked up a ball paravan an unusual item around 30 years ago just may solve some of your problem.
Will have  a hunt around for it and post  picture here, I am sure it has a written pamphlet attached to it as well, I bought it at the time because it was so different, have not seen them again , since then.
 
That Australian Lure book could also help you with the depths Lures have reached through there extensive testing. Should find some info under the Book section on this site
regards John
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Screamingreel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2012 at 5:01pm
Omaha
It appears someone else was experiencing your same problems, and came up with this idea.
 
For Snapper  Salmon  Trout         Distributed by Neptune
 
Regards John
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote puglee62 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2012 at 6:08pm
Omahas trying to avoid the parvanes and cannonballs fellas, i think the lurebook is a good idea though.a cod lure certainly seems like the go action wise the trouble is getting it to run that deep,ive got a big cod lure that i make that'll run 10mtrs maybe 12mtrs if you put a lot of line out(shoot 25mtrs is a fair bit anyhowLOL).this is quite a tough one interesting though.would'nt you be better just drifting and jigging large soft plastics?.i wonder how a sinking cod lure would go?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2012 at 6:17pm
I'd be more inclined to go the downrigger path, like the deep trout trollers do in southern lakes. you can get a tiny lure right in the zone with a downrigger and basic models are pretty affordable.

Brad
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nicho Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2012 at 6:35pm
Omaha,
great thought mate.....the idea with your sinker might not be purist....but if its working ...keep at it!.....
 
I suppose its a matter of practice with the weights.....something that sinks it to the required depth slowly....not plunges it to the bottom at break neck speed would be the go....... as snapper often school well off the bottom.
THERES a good chance that the lure would get smashed on the way down if there are snapper around...providing it sinks very very slowly......once the lures down...if no hits...then start the slow troll...your onto something...its simple but will work.
Even make your lure with an  inbuilt  weight so it sinks slowly...very slow..almost suspending.....it could be twitched and retrieved at different depths.....to encourage a hit......get it to depth then troll.
Good to see how this unfolds for you....keep us posted
Jas
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote goldtrev68 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2012 at 6:55pm
Screamingreel something very close to that in MO Tackles catalog,Gary
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Powelly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2012 at 7:46pm
The reality is that, even if it were possible to make a lure capable of diving 80 feet, the water pressure on the line would prevent it from getting down to that depth.
 
The realistic options are to jig a soft plastic, a blade or a lipless crankbait, while moving slowly, or use a heavy down rigger to tow the lure at the correct depth, as with trout fishing.
 
Many years ago, I went on a trout fishing charter boat, on Lake Taupo. We were trolling at 100 feet. It was a very different experience - unique, but quite boring.  You know when a fish is hooked because the line goes slack!Confused
 
Anyhow, Omaha, I do wish you luck with the 25 metre lure and I hope you prove me wrong.
 
Cheers
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omaha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2012 at 5:47am
Thanks for replies, I have pretty much stopped using planers/paravane type gadgets. I think they actually scare the snapper away, get the same sort of thing when using them for skippies over here. Also they take away all of the feeling/sight of the lure working through the rod tip.
Regarding looping a ball sinker on the trace about a metre up from the lure, I think this is the real secret/answer to getting lures down. I have a lure a bit like a fat Tilsan Bass, it trolls at about 4 or 5 metres at very slow speed. With the ball sinker on I was hitting the bottom in 10+ meters(this was with 10lb braid). Also the rod tip was working that well that I was able to spot that the lure had a pickedup a small bit of shell off the bottom and was not working correctly. This is exactly what I was looking for. This could probably be a useful tactic for trolling the dams in Oz with small deep divers.
Now, if it more than doubled the depth of this lure, will it do the same for other deeper running lures? That is where I am at with the next prototypes. I will keep fine tuning the lure/weight/braid/trace etc and see just what I can achieve. A good challenge and a good reason to make some more lures, what more could you ask for????
Hope to get out this weekend.
   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote puglee62 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2012 at 6:52am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omaha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2012 at 6:58am
Good one Puglee !!!!!!!, now you know what the next prototypes will look like. That will basically be the lure I have been using with weights clipped to bib.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Screamingreel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2012 at 7:52am
Nice find Chris
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote doccod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2012 at 2:32pm
Wink Interesting thread this one While living in South Australia on the Spencer Gulf around Wallaroo I was successfully trolling lures for rugger snapper to about 10lb weight...... My gear of choice was six pound braid combined with a twelve pound leader and lure of choice was Knols 5cm Minnows trolled at cod pace in fifteen feet of water the lure was probally sitting in the seven to eight foot range on a 30 metre dropback, boat powered by a 42lb thrust Minn Kota with the directional unit fitted on a 14foot Quintrex Barra Punt....... Favourite colours in that water turned out to be the red head over yellow body with black markings, fluro green and white.......The only attrition rate was when one of the local rat kings would grab it and head for the nearest obstacle or big snook/pike biting through the light leaders.....I hope this helps any of you guys chasing these fish on lures regards B.J.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fishaholic5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2012 at 4:56pm
Has anyone tried setting a berley cage with an anchor and float(s) to get them off the bottom then trolling/ throwing lures at and around it? Or would that class as cheating?LOLLOL
Cheers
Wal
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2012 at 6:20pm
I get all my snapper in 20-30ft with soft plastics, so trolling is an option up here, apart from the snagging on coral rubble reef, I know guys that have got them on trolled lures in the lower Brissie river while chasing Threadfin, but that still only shallow compared to NZ.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote puglee62 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2012 at 8:36pm
Originally posted by fishaholic5 fishaholic5 wrote:

Has anyone tried setting a berley cage with an anchor and float(s) to get them off the bottom then trolling/ throwing lures at and around it? Or would that class as cheating?LOLLOL
Cheers
Wal
Ive got a mate from Tonga who does that except he puts three of them out in different areas,boy does his family eat a LOT of fishWink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omaha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Apr 2012 at 7:25pm
Cheers Doccod, all info adds a bit to the mix.
We can/do catch the snapper on jigs/plastics/bait/etc but I have a lure building itch to scratch and also love trolling. I reckon that trundling along with ultra deep lures could be a really relaxing/productive way to get them.
Might be a bit quiet this week on this topic as the trials were blown out again this weekend. Really frustrating mucking about making lures during the week, then not being able to test them at the weekend. 
I did get to run a few of them off the wharf. Not the same sort of depth as trolling but you do get a good idea on action/likely depth. I had a play with Puglees idea of the crankbait with lead clips on the bib. They definately get down more like that but can lose a bit of their action. Something else that will be part of the fine tuning.
The idea to have the lures sinking could be a good one. Let them sink to the bottom, then motor ahead for 20/25 metres in freespool(maybe a bit more than the depth to get a bit of an angle on the lines) and then reels in gear for a minute or two. Stop motor to let them sink again and repeat. This will have the lures falling/rising right in the zone and would have to be a winner if the fish are there. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fishaholic5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Apr 2012 at 9:11pm
Using a stainless bib and a weight in the pivot point of the lure may get you the sink rate while allowing the lure to swim normally
 
Cheers
Wal
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omaha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Apr 2012 at 6:00am
Wal, I struggle with cutting/shaping stainless steel for bibs,I have been using 1mm aluminium and lately  2mm polycarbonate. Not having much success with the poly, I think the bouyancy up front is totally changing the lure action/depth. I was thinking on trying some 1.4mm aluminium.
I think your idea of weighting the pivot point on the 1mm bib will give a better action than using the 1.4mm stuff. If the bib is too thick/heavy it just about turns the lure into a paravane, get the depth but it just glides rather than any action. Need to be careful that I only tweak one thing at a time to get some idea on the effect it has.
Now that I have some benchmark lures I can modify/compare a lot easier. I am going to move the tow points back mm by mm on them until they get unstable(should help get the maximum depth from each lure/bib shape). I will also try weighting the pivot point and/or the bib edge on these to see if there is a noticeable difference.
Having another weekend when I couldn't getout/test hasn't helped. Will make 3 more this week, that will give me 6 similar lures that I can use for weighting/tweaking. Have learnt a lot from this exercise, I was making lures before, some swam some didn't, starting to develop better techniques, even getting  some patience now. I have lost count of the number of lures I have shaped/sanded/glued only to stuff up printing a ballast hole off centre or something simple like that.  One lure made really well is worth 10 quickies that  sort of look the same/swim the same.   
On the polycarbonate bibs, I am interested to see that a lot of the cod lures have them rather than aluminium. I can't seem to get them to swim well/deep with the poly. Probably need to start from scratch with them and go through the same exercise as with the ally bibs. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote puglee62 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Apr 2012 at 7:08am
i think Wals right about having some sort of pivoting wieght system,how would you go if wieght was molded onto a duo snap?,you'd maybe have to reduce the lures bouyancy a little so that you could get away with a smaller amout of lead on the clip
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omaha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Apr 2012 at 9:07am
Managed to get out this weekend. Conditions weren't great for trolling but got a couple of hours testing in. Last time out I had 4 or 5 lures that were working quite well at about 12 metres(with a sinker 1.5 metres ahead of the lure). 
This time I had modified the lures by gluing small amounts of lead sheet to underside of bibs. Some right on the tip, some under the towpoint. One did not swim to well, I was probably a bit slack with positioning the lead. I thought that under the bib would not be so critical. The others that swam ok got down 1 to 2 metres deeper(to about 14 metres) but critically they did not have enough action at the slow speed to get any bites/interest. As soon as you add lead to the bib it is like a whole new lure, you are back to moving/testing tow-points to try and get the desired action again. 
Also I experimented with a larger 3oz sinker ahead of lure. This had minimal effect and also deadened the action visible at the lure tip. So far, 2oz seems the best compromise.
I went a bit shallower back to about 12/13 metres and tried some slightly smaller lighter/unweighted lures, immediately started catching small(undersize) gurnard. This probably shows that the lure action is everything at these slow speeds(about 3 kilometres per hour).
Back to the lure bench, I should be able to remove lead from the bibs, might try a loose/pivoting weight under the tow-point as mentioned in earlier posts. Also I really like the look of Wal's 'Illusion Lures '. He has some getting down to 6 metres. Would be interesting to try one of them on light braid with sinker ahead. I will have a go at curving some of the bibs I use to see if that adds any depth, will probably lead to a whole lot of testing to get them swimming again.
Also might get some 4lb braid, that is about as light as I am prepared to go. I used 8lb powerpro at the weekend, not really impressed with powerpro, doesn't seem as strong when joined to leader as the suffix I have been using. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hazmail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Apr 2012 at 1:34pm

Omaha-

I/ we have been using removable "Inline sinkers" for years for trout fishing here, you can vary the depth by sliding and locking the sinker closer to the boat or lure (usually set about 50% of the 'line out' so can be miles away from the lure), when a fish is hooked, on retrieve the sinker is removed from the line. The biggest I have heard of is about 1.5 oz or 40 gm's, we usually use about 10 - 15 gm's, which will give a 15' diver depths of about 20-25 feet @ about 3k/h, so slower troll would increase this a lot.
Never heard of a lure that would dive to these depths or even half of it but maybe you could weight the lure to be 'neutral' which should also help---wondering if the pressures at these depths would crush a wooden lureLOL and as you say pressure will have a big impact on action.
Here is some sites with 'inline sinker' discription etc, I think 'Bass Pro' and 'Cabellas' sell them.
Hope we have been of some help.
Pete
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fishaholic5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Apr 2012 at 2:32pm
The weight I was talking about is inside the lure, placed at the pivot point of the lure action. I don't think it's possible to get a bibbed lure that small to dive to the depths you want without trolling sinkers or a downrigger, but with a metal bibbed sinking lure that could be counted down to depth and maintain depth when trolled you might have a shot. Stainless would let you use thinner bibs which may help keep a stronger action at depth
Cheers
Wal
   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omaha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Apr 2012 at 3:19pm
Thanks for replies, have PM'd you Wal regarding a couple of your lures.
 I will have a bit of a play with some sort of clip-on sinkers further up the line.
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