How to catch a Snapper?

Snapper, one of my all-time favorite fish to catch. A great table fish and some of the tastiest. Not only that, Snapper is a great sporting fish for any level fishing enthusiast.

During the spring racing carnival season, these guys really fire up due to their migration and spawning patterns. Often you’ll get the larger Snapper coming into Port Phillip Bay within this time of the year to breed.

Generally, they can be found throughout the year but most often then not you’ll encounter juvenile Snapper referred to as Pinkies.

Snapper can be distinguished by their crimson colour, small blue spots throughout their body, creamy white underbelly and sharp fins. As they mature adult Snapper develop a hump on top of their head and can grow up to 8 to 10kg.



Snapper often can be found in a variety of locations including deep water over muddy bottoms or reefs. While in particular for us land-based anglers, Pinkies can be targeted amongst inshore reefs and man-made structures.


Best time of day and tide

Best time of the day to target Snapper is best recommended either at dawn or dusk. Generally, during these hours fish are predominantly most active and feeding. Pair the timing of the day with a run in tide and you have the perfect combination.


What type of set-up should you use?

When it comes to targeting Pinkies a lightweight set-up can be used. A 2-4 kg rod and reel combo paired up with a 3-4 kg mono or braid line will work well.

For larger Snapper, option for a 5-8 kg rod and reel combo paired up with a 6-10 kg line. If bait fishing for Snapper or Pinkies Circle, Octopus or Baitholder hooks from size 1/0 to 5/0 will result in hookups.



Snapper often takes a number of different baits which they naturally prey on including a variety of baitfish. Smaller whole Pilchards or cut pieces, Whitebait, Whiting fillets, and Garfish. To even strips of Mackerel, Salmon, and Barracouta.

Other forms of bait can also be used including squid, octopus, pipis, and sandworms.

For land-based fishing, a paternoster rig is often my recommendation either with a single dropper line or double. This rig helps the bait to stay off the bottom and in plain sight. Other rigs including a running sinker rig can also be used to target Pinkies.




If lure fishing is the way to go for you then you can’t overlook soft plastics. They range in shapes, sizes, and scents and at times have been the most effective.

Soft plastics in the shape of bait fish and sandworms have worked well previously with various techniques. A relatively paced retrieve with sudden stops and jerks imitating an injured baitfish often spark the interest of any nearby fish.

Experiment with a range of techniques and lures to see what works best on the day.

 Zman Soft plastics featured above


Legal Catch Limits and Sizes

Snapper or Juvenile snapper ‘Pinkies’ may vary size and catch limits from state to state. For us Victorians a minimum legal size of 28 cm is present and only 3 fish may be 40 cm or greater. A total bag limit of 10 is also allowed in Victorian waters.

Information and Images referenced from VFA ‘Victorian Fisheries Authority’

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