Welcome to the Snapper Fishing Guide Victoria. Snapper is an iconic local fish species with seasonal runs from Spring through 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 is highly regarded because of their beautiful appearance, and wonderful fighting qualities and they are a top table fish. They’re also a great fish to target with both bait & soft plastics. Big reds are the species that Victorian anglers dream of catching.


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Snapper Facts & Catch Limits

  • Snapper scientific name is Pagrus auratus
  • A Juvenile snapper under 40cms locally is referred to as a Pinky
  • The catch limit for Snapper is 10 snapper per person. However, only 3 fish can exceed 40cm
  • The minimum legal size for snapper is 28cm ( ensure all undersize fish are returned to the water quickly and safely )
  • Prized Snapper can grow over 10 kilos in size
  • Snapper is a great species to target with bait and soft plastics ( detailed below )
  • Snapper have fascinating annual migration patterns. Often coming in and out of our major bays to spawn. Seasonally you can catch them offshore and in Port Phillip Bay and Western Port.


Best time to catch Snapper ( Seasons )

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

Snapper Seasons

Have a look at our video on kayak fishing for snapper in Port Phillip Bay

How to catch snapper Fishing Guide for Port Phillip Bay and Western Port

We would highly recommend reading our detailed guide on how to catch snapper. To maximize catch rates use your marine electronics and try to find schools of snapper on your sounder. You can either do this in a familiar location or if you need help finding snapper then become a FishingMad Member as we detail regular fishing reports, locations, and GPS marks for you. As the image shows below your looking for bunches of fish packed tight generally holding the bottom. The arch shapes will be the signs that they are snapper. If you find a school of snapper in an aggressive mood they’ll take just about any bait or soft plastic.

School of snapper located in 9 meters deep in Port Phillip Bay

Snapper Arches

Rod & Reel Setup for Snappers ( Gear Guide )

There are many rod and reel combos on the market made specifically for snapper. When it comes to selecting a rod and reel suitable we recommend

BAIT FISHING FOR SNAPPER – When bait fishing 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. Generally, a standard spin reel ( eggbeater ) or traditionally a bait runner allows snapper to run freely with bait before striking. You can spool your reel with braid or monofilament line between 12 and 25 pounds with a heavier leader.

LURE AND SOFT PLASTIC FISHING FOR SNAPPER | When soft plastics or lure fishing for Snapper the ideal setup is a spin rod that is 3-5 or 4-6 kilo rod class paired with a 3000-size reel spooled with 10-15 pound braid. With technology advancements, we’re seeing lighter gear becoming more common for snapper fishing.

Best Baits to Catch Snapper

Bait Choices

Our best bait recommendations include pilchard, silver whiting, squid, salmon, garfish, snook and mackerel. Raw chicken is also an excellent choice when targeting pinkies ( juvenile Snapper ). The best way to present baits is on a snell rig with 2 x 5/0 circle hooks, or you can use a very small running sinker to a single hook and also use paternoster rigs. The rig choice will be dependent on where you are fishing and the conditions such as tidal strength. Where possible fish with as little weight or even unweighted. Baits such as pilchard and silver whiting work great in this method in Port Phillip Bay and Western Port. When land-based you’ll need a heavy sinker to cast out as far as you can. 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.

  • Pilchards
  • Squid
  • Silver Whiting
  • Salmon
  • Garfish
  • Snook

There are plenty of pre-made snapper rigs which are reliable and convenient. Otherwise, you can make your own snapper rigs by watching the below video.

Best Soft Plastics to Catch Snapper

Soft Plastics

Soft plastics are great choices for targeting snapper. 3, 4 and 5 inch soft plastics are great choices. And even 7 inch if fishing offshore. The soft plastics can be jerk shads, worm imitations, minnow imitations, curl tails, grubz, prawn imitations and paddle tails. Just mix up the colours some days nice bright colours work the next day natural baitfish 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.

Read our detailed guide here on the best snapper soft plastics

  • Berkley gulp turtleback worm
  • Munroes 3.75-inch paddle tails
  • Keitech Easy Shiners
  • Berkley 5-inch Jerk Shads
  • Savage Gear Fat Curl tails
  • Daiwa Bait junkie 4-inch grubs
  • Zman slim Swimz
  • Berkley Crazy Legs Shads
  • Gulp 3-inch minnow
  • Dawia Bait Junkie paddle tail minnow
  • Zman GrubZ
  • Daiwa Baitjunkie 5 inch jerk shads
  • Squidges biotough grub
  • Zman StreakZ
  • Halco Paddle Prawn

Best locations to catch snapper in Victoria

Snapper have migration patterns that see them often come in and out of our bays between Spring and Summer annually. Generally, around October they will come into the bay and head to shallow waters and reside in shallow reefy areas. As the water temperature rises they then seek deeper water. Often found in areas along shipping channels. Before heading back out offshore. It’s a fascinating movement that we follow closely.

  • Port Phillip Bay
  • Corio Bay
  • Western Port
  • Corio Bay
  • Portland,
  • Bass Straight

Watch our detailed video on targeting snapper in Port Melbourne along the princess pier pylons.

You can obtain a free Victorian recreational fishing guide from the Victorian Fisheries Authorities

Thank you for reading our Snapper Fishing Guide Victoria. If you feel this fish species guide is missing key information or needs any corrections. Then please let us know by emailing our team at enquiries@fishingmad.com.au with specific details in the email. Thank you