By ANDY GUNN Via Tackle Tactics
Being based on the Sunshine Coast, I do a lot of my reef fishing, on the shallow reefs around Old Woman Island and Point Cartwright through to Murphies Reef. The depths on these natural coral reefs can vary from 6m through to 30m. The principle is the same for fishing these areas, and can be used in fishing other shallow reefs as well.
First you find the structure that you want to fish, and then you drift over it casting the plastic up drift, so as the boat is drifting towards the plastic. ?This will allow you to fish all of the water column. It is important to cover as much of the water column as possible as you will catch snapper from mid-water through to the bottom. If you find your boat is drifting too quick it can be useful to use a sea anchor.
One thing that I have found has helped me over time is, when you are fishing new areas or old areas but getting fish in different locations, mark them on your GPS when you hook up. This will give you a reference to either drift back over again or next time you fish that area you have a record of where you have hooked fish.
The other alternative is to anchor your boat near the structure you are going to fish and work your plastics back through the current. Using this method it is also possible for you to use berley if you wish. Berley can also improve your chances of catching more fish.
The species that you will come across will also vary; don't just expect to catch snapper. On a recent trip I did out to Murphies reef, I not only caught snapper but I also caught a nice cod, spangled emperor and small trout.
I was using ZMan 5" Scented Jerk ShadZ on a TT 3/8oz jighead with the 5/0H hook. I find it helps to have a heavy duty hook when you need to put some hurt on to keep them from getting you back into the reef.
The advantage that you will find when fishing any of the ZMan plastics is the ElaZtech formulation of them. This allows you to catch numerous fish off the one plastic, saving downtime with having to re-rig your plastic after catching a fish. ZMan plastics are ready to use straight from the packet.