- Pagrus auratus
Australian Kayak Fisherfolk from Western Australia right around to Southern Queensland enjoy catching this amazing fighting, tasty fish.
Although often viewed as a pest in its juvenile form (often called "Squire" or "Pinkies"), once a Snapper achieves legal length (35cm in Qld, 30cm in NSW, 27cm in Vic) the fish takes on an entirely different reputation. Great at the table, and a formidable foe on heavy or light gear, mature Snapper are truly a prized catch. Mature specimens can exceed 20kg in weight and produce an awesome fight.
Fish are pink, with iridescent blue spots. As the fish becomes greater in size, a pronounced forehead emerges. These larger specimens are sometimes referred to as "Knobbies"
The AKFF record Snapper can be found in our Salt Water Records section.
Burley & Baits are the traditional method for catching Snapper, however soft plastics are fast becoming a go-to technique for kayak fishermen.
Deep diving minnows, or HBs trolled using a Paravane or downrigger also attract snapper.
Here is a video of a NZ snapper taking a very large bait.
Snapper will accept a wide range of lures, though they are generally flighty creatures, and the depth that the larger specimens live in, make them a rare catch on hardbody lures.
Cast and Retrieve Edit
Snapper are regularly caught on soft plastics. Larger SPs, particularly Gulp turtleback worms in nuclear chicken colours, or gulp shakey shads in smelt, seem to be good options.
From the kayak, cast and retrieve into the drift, drawing the SP back through approximately the 3/4 depth range. Snapper are often caught in under 10m depth using this method.
Pauls notes on Moreton Bay Snapper Edit
There is definitely a pattern to when Snapper come on the bite. I'm still learning and often reevaluate, and check my previous trip reports.
The Snapper where I fish, at Redcliffe, northern Moreton Bay, are there off and on all year around. Some thing I have noted and are worth noting when doing a log or report are:
A. location, location, location. There are definitely places that consistently produce fish, especially for 60+cm varieties, we often refer to a way point in our trip reports and these way points usually only cover an area the size of half a tennis court or smaller, go out side these ares and you catch nothing, get on top of them and get fish. Often you will here reports of blokes fishing a pylon and getting fish on one side and not another. A GPS is very valuable when relocating spot X, I always record a spot I catch a fish.
B. Water temp. When the water temperature drops a lot or goes up a lot the snapper go off the chew. Where I fish its reasonably shallow (3-6mtrs), at the end of Autumn through to winter, the water temp gradually goes down but it is still fairly warm and the Snapper are usually on the bite, but in August we get cold westerly winds come through and the water temp drop rapidly by 5-8 degrees and the fish go off the bite and don't come back till it warms up in September. Also in summer when we have prolonged northerlies the temp goes up and they go off the bite again.
C. Tide and moon phase. I haven't seen any real difference concerning the moon phase, but tide, especially the first of the run in or first of the run out, will bring on the fish and usually when there is a new moon or a full moon the tide change is usually early morning or late afternoon, which is another prime time. I have definitely caught good fish early afternoon or lateish morning after the tide changes.
D. Current. Strong current they seem to bite higher up in the water column and less current I want to get as close to the bottom as possible. Also direction can be important as I catch most of my fish when moving the lure with the current.
E.Lure colour. Its worth noting what size and colour work in different locations. SP's anything with green and HB's bright colours work where I am and other locations will differ.
F.Water clarity. Probably not a huge thing but if the water is very clear or very cloudy, its usually hard to get a bite. Also too much fresh after heavy rain can turn them off, but a little bit of rain can bring them on.
G. Always note there gut content when filleting. At different times and different locations they will eat different stuff. Some times shell fish off the bottom, sometimes bait fish or Squid in mid water. Here they will often take bites out of large jelly fish :shock: .
What works for AKFF membersEdit
For an insight into Snapper tactics from AKFF members, click here