Hear how PENN Pro Team member Alistair Arkell gears up to strayline for big New Zealand snapper.

The decades-old method of stray lining still rates as the number one method of catching big snapper. By nature, snapper are part scavenger and part predator and will easily fall victim to a variety of fishing methods. But when it comes to tournament winners, most big comps have been won by anglers fishing big baits for big Snapper.

PENN Live Liners have set themselves apart in the realm of spin reels with secondary drag systems. Outside of a big game fishing reel, I don’t think there is a style of a reel that will see more punishment than a Live Liner on the salt. They always get covered in bait and spend plenty of time in rod holders getting hammered by the elements.

When targeting mega reds, my gear is relatively simple, but is a proven method that needs little refining. We run smaller 4500 Live Liners with 6kg mono for fishing smaller baits – like whole pilchard or a small Jack mackerel for catching small to medium snapper. Then alongside that, I use the more substantial 6500 Live Liner with 10kg mono paired with a big bait, cast well out the back and ready for that moocher. The rig is simple – as a light sinker as possible or no sinker, depending on current and a double Owner hook rig snooded on suitable Berkley 30-60lb fluorocarbon leader, with the mainline connection to the leader, by a smaller barrel swivel.

I think everyone imagines 20lb snapper when they start planning a bait and burly session. It is almost impossible not to go to bed the night before a fishing trip thinking about that fish of a lifetime and what the morning will bring. Unless I am only fishing for a feed, we are always trying to catch and release the biggest snapper we can. We don’t bother weighing fish anymore; it is no longer an essential measurement of success for us. Seeing a big fish swim away in a healthy state, ready for the next person is far more important to us and the re-generation of the fishery. Of course, we like to eat what we catch, but we are always selective in our take.

When it comes to selecting a Live Liner, I invariably use the smaller 4500 size more often and catch more fish with it. However, the 6500 size is one reel, that I just cannot operate without. PENN Live Liners have set a new category benchmark for everyone else to try and catch up with.

When it comes to bait, fresher the better and anything that oozes oil and scent is choice unless the fish are shy on the bite. We like to use XXL baits… you would be amazed at how much protein a big snapper is prepared to scoff down. Our big baits usually consist of big slabs of mullet, kahawai or sweep and if we can catch them fresh for the trip, then so much the better.

Right out of the box Penn Live Liners are ready for battle – designed for the angler who will not accept anything less than the best. When I get asked about PENN Live Liners – hearty, durable and smooth – are usually what comes to mind, but without question the best aspect is the near waterproof design of the Spinfisher VI Live Liner and its all-round reliability.


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