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Large Snapper at Tuggerah Lake


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Gday Raiders

Working away on my forecast project cashflows for 2021 FY, my brain naturally started wondering.

I had a vivid memory come back to me, years ago when i was a wee little 12 year old, i had visited Tuggerah Lake for a family day out. Specifically, Picnic Point Reserve.

One of my older relatives at the time was fishing off the shore with chicken breast pieces, on double snelled hooks and wrapped in cotton to keep the bait on.

I recall the fishing being very slow, but then at one stage the rod which he had lent up against a beach chair, taking off towards the water and he only just made it back in time. He eventually landed what was a sizable snapper.

Now heres the question, my memory tells me this snapper would have been circa 50cm, however, given that this is over 20 years ago im not sure if my memory is exxagerating the size of the fish. I know 50cm snapper inside Tuggerah would be extremely rare, but not impossible.

Interested to hear from the locals and anyone else who fishes the lake 



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Sure its always possible . Snapper are a pretty adaptable fish, have a look at the places they turn up in NZ, this is due to NZ not having as much species diversity as Oz and snapper slide into parts of the marine ecosystem that over here are taken by bream,flatties,whiting ,jewies etc. Its also well known that snapper will lay up in seagrass and estuaries as they grow and then move out to sea but some remain in estuaries a lot longer. I read a lot of old fishing books in my younger years and was always blown away with the massive snapper hauls of Sydney back in the early 1900's but dont remember much being written on large catches from estuaries. The first fleet even struggled with nets to get much from the harbour. HAving said all that- those coastal lagoons always seem to have surprises-4 out the 5 biggest bream ive seen came from slightly south of the entrance- the biggest went 6lb cleaned.

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In the history of commercial fishing in Tuggerah Lakes which was written by one of the commercial fishos, there is mention of snapper as well as jewfish at times when the entrance was open and deep. You can find it at http://www.clw.csiro.au/publications/technical98/tr1-98.pdf

When the lake was almost closed last year there were plenty of big flathead and large tailor around, it will be interesting to see how it fishes this winter with the entrance being opened up earlier this year. 

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My fishing mate had an old fisho living next to him, who fished the upper parts of the Hacking, like Yowie and Gymea Bays, for many years.

The old bloke spoke of snapper to 20 pound in the 1920's, but the sharks ate a few off the line. He was a good fisherman and his best catch was in the 1960's or 70's - a 55 pound jewfish on an 8 pound line.

The old bloke stated that during the second world war, people's boats were confiscated for the war effort, but he hid a small rowboat in the bushes and rowed out every now and then to catch a few. 

He is now long gone.

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