Ask the Expert Question:
What is the best way to set up ground baiting for spearing snapper?
Ground baiting is a very popular and effective way of enticing snapper to an area.
The most important thing to take into consideration is the placement and location of your ground bait, without getting this right you are less likely to attract snapper. You need to find a prominent rock or dropoff on a point or out in deeper water away from a shallow bay. This rock needs to be facing out towards deeper water to increase your catchment area.
Finding a rock that has tide or current hitting it will also improve your chances. Fish like to sit at the front of the rock where the tide is running as it brings in food. Snapper like to hang with other fish as they use them as alerting mechanisms and food.
So ground baiting in an area with lots of fish is a good idea.
Approach over the rock comfortably and be able to see the ground bait on the bottom. Another important consideration is having the sun behind your back as you come over the rock as you become a silhouette in the eyes of the snapper. There are two ways of ground baiting an area. The first is gathering a pile of kina on the seafloor in your desired spot and breaking them up with a rock. Then there is my preferred way of throwing kina over a rock or face into the approximate area.
I find this more effective and exciting and the snapper do not initially see you in the area of the ground bait thus making them less cautious. The main places I ground bait are on points where I have spotted good snapper that are not coming close enough to spear so I try to encourage them with kina I have lobbed over.
Once you have ground baited it is best to leave the area to allow the snapper to come in. This avoids them detecting you while they analyse the environment of the food source. I have seen big snapper circle the rock and its environment before entering the ground bait zone. Never underestimate the snapper, especially the larger specimens. Snapper will be alerted by any noise such as splashing, banging and even you equalising.
If you spook snapper on a ground bait they are unlikely to return so moving on is a better option and saves you wasting time. Once you have speared one snapper on a ground bait it is likely the ground bait will become useless as the other snapper will be spooked. However, on the odd occasion when you kill shoot a snapper on a ground bait and quickly pull it back over the edge, the rest of the snapper wont be bothered and will continue feeding.
Ground baiting is a good way to begin shooting snapper as you are in a position to create the variables of the situation in which the snapper will be positioned. A good ground baiting spot is normally a good spot to find a snapper while snapper snooping as well so keep that in mind.
– reply by Jackson Shields in Darren’s absence.
Recommended Reference Material for your Library (available in our mail order shop):
BOOK: Len Jones Guide to Spearfishing (New Zealand) second edition
DVD: Introduction to Spearfishing DVD by Darren Shields