Snapper local fish species facts and Limits. Snapper are an iconic fish of Victoria, with seasonal runs throughout Spring to Summer. Port Philip Bay, Western Port & Bass straight have local boat ramps queuing a mile long in the very early hours of the morning during peak times. Snapper are a great fish because of their beautiful appearance,  wonderful fighting qualities, taste and ability to be targeted by both bait & lures. Big reds are the species that Victorian anglers dream of catching. Remember that a Juvenile snapper under 40 cm are referred to as Pinkies. Once over 40cm its classified as a snapper.

Scientific name

Pagrus auratus

Size & Limits: 

Snapper – Maximum 3 fish may be 40cm or over
Juvenile snapper (pinky) – Minimum legal size: 28cm

A prized Snapper can grow up to a meter and 10 kilos plus in size.

Bait Recommendations: 

If you find a big school in an aggressive mood they’ll take just about anything. Our best recommendations are pilchard, silver whiting, squid, scad, garfish, raw chicken, mackarel.

Lure Recommendations:

Soft plastics in bigger sizes are a great choices. Jerk shads, minnow imitations, Curl tails, Grubz, and Paddle tails. Just mix up the colours somedays nice bright colours work the next day natural bait fish colours work. Snapper will also take a range of Blades and Vibes and octo jigs. This type of fishing will work best when you can use your sounder to find schools of snapper.


When fishing for Snapper it’s often a case of presenting the best baits and waiting, hoping for a big strike. For boat fisherman the game has changed often sounding looking for schools of Snapper before anchoring. This is becoming a superior technique to anchoring and waiting.

Rod/Rig setup:

There are many ready made snapper fishing rod combos on the market. These are generally 7 foot 6 in length with a 5-8 kilo class capacity. There’s a huge range of reels but typically you would go with a reel between 3000 to 5000 in size. Either a standard egg beater reel or a baitrunner which allow snapper to run freely with bait before striking. Often you will spool your reel with braid or monofilament line between 12 and 25 pounds with a heavier leader. With technology advancements were seeing lighter gear becoming more common for snapper fishing.  When lure fishing for Snapper the ideal setup is 3-5 or 4-6 kilo rod with a 3000 size reel spooled with 12 pound braid.

Where possible fish with as little weight or unweighted. Baits such as pilchard and silver whiting work great in this method in Port Phillip bay and Western Port. However if land based you’ll need a heavy sinker to cast out as far as you can. 16 pound on the main line is fine, then 50cm of 40 pound leader to size 5 or 6 hook. You can go with single hooks or snelled hook setups which are a great choice allowing 2 hooks to securely hold onto the bait for better presentation and better hook up rates.

There are also plenty of pre made snapper rigs which are very reliable and very convenient. We use all the time. Examples of this include the Reedys Rigz pre made snapper flasher rigs and snelled rigs. You can see those here.

Great locations to target snapper

Port Phillip bay, Western Port, Corio Bay, Portland,  Bass straight

Best times:

In Victoria the annual Snapper run from October to February. They are often best targeted at Dawn/Dusk.