Reviewed by Dan Govier
Throughout the world, technology is continually developing and improving, and fishing gear is no exception. There is a huge demand among fishers for the next piece of technology that is going to take the fishing experience to that next level, either enhancing the fishers’ enjoyment or increase their catch rate.
I was given the opportunity to test some of this new technology ̶ the editor asked if I would be interested in fishing with and reviewing some new rigs that Black Magic are about to release to the market. Without having much in the way of detail, I jumped at the chance. I have fished with Black Magic product and their rigs for many years and have accounted for many big snapper using their flasher rigs, so I knew whatever they had developed would be good.
When the new rigs arrived, I was quietly impressed; my first reaction was to think, “They have combined flasher rigs with slow jigs and produced a hybrid.” In my mind this could only result in one thing ̶ a fish slayer!
These new Snapper Snacks are still essentially a ledger or paternoster rig, hand tied with quality black magic nylon, but rather than using the traditional flash type skirt, they have what is called “silly legs” that slide on the trace above the hooks. These “silly legs” skirts have been designed to give the rigs a lot more action than the traditional flasher rigs, so can be fished actively to entice the fish to bite. This movement in the Snapper Snacks stimulates the fish through their visual sensory systems, much the same way as slow jigs or jigs do, but the big advantage is that they don’t have to be fished on specialised slow jig or jigging rod and reel set ups ̶ something not everyone has access to.
As with the traditional Black Magic flasher rigs, these “Snapper Snacks” will need a little dressing up to realise their full potential ̶ they need dressing up with bait. The most important thing to remember is that you don’t want to choke the hook or weigh down the rig excessively with a large piece of bait. Small strip baits are best to use on these rigs, stimulating another of the fish’s sensory cues, the sense of smell, which combines well with the visual stimulus the rigs provide. When targeting fish, it is all about stimulating or triggering your target species’ predatory and sensory cues, and using Snapper Snacks, makes this a whole lot easier to achieve. For best results, small strips of squid or a squid tentacle seem to work best, remaining on the hook much longer without being picked off, while providing further action to the rigs, either in the current or if you are giving the rigs some movement.
In typical spring fashion at the top of the South Island, the weather hadn’t been kind and had prevented me from getting out for a fish to try out the Snapper Snacks. I was quickly running out of time before the deadline for this issue was upon me and the editor required my comments on the rigs once I’d tried them. Attempting to expedite the process and increase my chances, I asked the local fishing stores for updates on whether any snapper had moved into Tasman Bay yet. It wasn’t quite what I was hoping to hear ̶ the fishing had gone very quiet; very few snapper had been caught in Tasman Bay over the previous two weeks. That didn’t fill me with confidence; it looked like it was going to be a tough assignment to try out the Snapper Snacks in the limited time I had available.
Commercial fishers in the bay had hardly seen a snapper and spikey dogs were dominating most fisher’s catches. A busy work schedule prevented a full day to D’Urville Island so I thought I would try closer to Nelson and see if I could track some snapper down ̶ even though it appeared I was going to be up against it.
It was a Friday afternoon and there was still 15 knots of wind blowing. I had a feeling the wind might ease out closer to dark, so I kept an eye on the weather, thinking it would be good to fish into the dark and over a late high tide The Snapper Snacks have lumo skirts, which, when charged with light, are very impressive, so I thought this might help with an evening fish. The wind eased at 6 pm; I quickly got some gear ready and launched the boat. With a fishing spot selected relatively close to port, I was starting to deploy the berley by 7 PM.
Given the last minute decision to head out for a fish, I had no squid in my freezer, so I used small cubes of pilchard to dress up the Snapper Snacks. I reasoned that if I used small cubes then the action of the rigs would remain unhindered, and the scent from the pilchard would contribute to enticing something to bite.
There are a range of different hook sizes for these Black Magic rigs and there are a variety of colours to choose from: Chartreuse, Tiger, Bleeding Pilly, Pinky and Super Lumo. In this instance, I decided to use the 5/0 Super Lumo rigs for the evening fishing. I charged the rigs up with both standard and UV light prior to deployment so that they were glowing each time I rebaited and cast them into the berley trail.
I was enjoying, the quiet of the evening and the back drop of the lights of Nelson, and thinking about my prospects for the night ahead, given the reports of few snapper in Tasman Bay. I figured if ever there was a time that I needed some of the latest and greatest fishing gear technology to help me catch something, when I was up against a deadline, then this was the time!
When I’m fishing by myself, I fish two rods in the rod holders, using long parabolic rods so that the rods set the hook when I am fishing flasher rigs. This then allows me to concentrate on getting the berley over the side and keeping an eye on everything. When the gear was all set, out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw my rod move; then all of a sudden, it loaded up and bent over. Success. It hadn’t taken long and as soon as I felt the fish on the rod, I knew it was target species. To say I was both relieved and happy when the pink glow of the snapper came out of the darkness was an understatement! Having just settled into my evening of fishing, I had accounted for a nice fat snapper on the new Snapper Snacks. It was nothing huge, but at about 5 lb it was the perfect size for eating, and I had caught a snapper when many others had recently failed.
I quickly rebaited the rigs, charged them up with some light and put them back in the water. I was hoping that there was going to be more of these fish around; the tide was slowly building, the moon was starting to come up and the sea was calm. Sure enough my rod went again, it felt like a snapper but it felt bigger than the earlier fish. When the fish came to the surface I was very surprised to see a double header of snapper! I was impressed, two snapper had succumbed to these new rigs, especially taking them close to Nelson when traditionally this time of year the snapper are out in deeper waters.
It turned out to be a great evening’s fish, my tally for the evening was six snapper and one gurnard using the new Snapper Snacks. Not a bad effort for an opportunistic fish after work, and judging by the success of the Snapper Snacks, they are going to be lethal when the fish come into Tasman Bay in greater numbers.
These rigs are due out on the market in late spring so keep an eye out for them on the shelves of your local fishing store. You certainly won’t be disappointed in this latest product release from Black Magic. I am certainly a fan; they caught six snapper against all odds given the tough fishing reports I had heard prior to heading out, and they certainly provided an edge when I needed one. I am sure you will have will have success too. All in all, it was a great result following a sneaky evening fish close to port where the focus was really to see how good the latest Black Magic product was under a fair bit of pressure ̶ the fish were just a bonus!