Home' Caravanning Australia : Winter 2012 Contents 34 • Caravanning Australia • Winter 2012
By Lucy Ockenden
Just because the chilly season is imminent and those sunny
summer mornings are becoming a thing of the past, it
doesn’t mean we should hold off on fishing expeditions.
There are still plenty of fish out there to be caught. While there’s
no doubt that the spawning migration of snapper each year
makes for some excellent fishing, similar bites can occur through
the winter months when temperatures drop. So, instead of
locking the boat in the boat shed and putting away the fishing
equipment, throw on those extra layers and hit the water. It’s
winter snapper season!
Snapper is generally found year-round in the coastal waters
of Australia from Queensland to northern Western Australia,
with South Australia known as the home of the big ‘knobbies’.
Snapper is a schooling fish that tends to travel in large groups of
similar age and size. They are found in estuaries, protected bays,
offshore and inshore reefs, off rocks, breakwalls and beaches, as
well as in deep offshore waters. They generally range from one
kilogram to 10 kilograms, but they are also known to grow to 20
kilograms, although this is rare. The larger-sized snapper, around
17 kilograms, are more common in New Zealand. One of the big
advantages of fishing in winter is the excellent boating conditions
you are likely to experience – for those who like the solitude,
the number of boats on the water and boat traffic slows down
immensely in the cooler months.
Some common names for snapper include cockney bream
(small juveniles), red bream, squire, old man snapper or knobbies
(large adults with bumps on their heads) and pink snapper. The
juveniles are mainly found in inlets, bays and sheltered waters,
often over mud and seagrass, and head out to reefs and rocky
outcrops when they are about a year old. Snapper can vary in
colour from red to golden pink to light grey on their backs and
sides, and have numerous small blue spots.
Some traditional winter hotspots for snapper include Port
Hacking and Botany Bay in New South Wales, Corio Bay in
the south-west corner of Port Philip, and inshore reefs off
Williamstown and Hobsons Bay, Station Pier and off Mornington
in Victoria. If you’re after pinkies (smaller snapper), add Black
Rock to your list for producing consistent catches through the
colder months. In South Australia, some good places are Point
Lowly, Whyalla and Port Broughton. The Gold Coast’s close
reef system provides good conditions for catching snapper in
winter, and snapper prime time in Moreton Bay is June through
to October. In Western Australia, Shark Bay is the place to go
because the fish form spawning aggregations over the rocky
reefs near the islands during the winter months.
When hooked, snapper put up a real fight – a 12-kilogram
snapper will take, on average, about 20 minutes to reel in.
You will be able to tell when they are getting tired because of
their characteristic bumping and shaking of their heads, which
can sometimes mean they are about to start another run. But
this is all part of the fun! When the snapper finally breaks the
water’s surface, gaff it cleanly through the gills if it is a large one,
otherwise you can use a hand net.
Snapper is one of the best fish in the world for eating. When
cooked well, it has a lean and tender flesh with a sweet, mild
but distinct and delicious flavour – a much sought-after culinary
delight. Of course, when matched with the right wine, a snapper
meal is hard to beat. The meat is fleshy and the fillets can be
baked, steamed, sautéed and curried. If you’re stuck for some
ideas, below is a quick recipe that shows just how easy snapper
can be to cook, even when you’re on the road. All you need is
a few vegetables, some lemon juice, crisp white wine, and of
course your snapper fillets. A green salad is a great and easy
accompaniment. Snapper is a delicate fish, so when looking for
a wine to match, a fairly neutral but crisp white such as a riesling,
sauvignon blanc or pinot gris would be perfect.
Have some aluminium foil and your snapper fillets at the
ready. Julienne some leeks and carrots, and place them
on a prepared 30-centimetre square of aluminium foil.
Place the fillets on top of the vegetables and fold up the
sides of the foil to make a cup or basket. Squeeze the
juice of a lemon and up to three tablespoons of a nice
crisp white wine and a teaspoon of butter. Fold the foil
into a packet, joining it together at the top. Do not make it
too tight because we want the packet to puff up. Put the
packaged fish on a hot barbeque plate, in a fry pan or in
the oven for about 10 minutes, depending on fillet size.
You can substitute carrot and leeks for onions and fennel,
or use tomatoes and olives for different taste sensations.
Whatever variation you use, this method will make the fish
tender and moist, and provide a delicious low-joule meal
that would be hard to beat at any five-star eatery. When
cooked, open the packet to the most delicious smell and
a lovely juicy fish. Serve with a fresh salad and a glass of
wine. Bon Appétit!
Winter snapper –
from the water to the table
38KG BOAT TRAILER
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