Welcome to the Snapper Fishing Guide Victoria. Snapper is 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 is so highly regarded because of their beautiful appearance, wonderful fighting qualities and a top table fish. They’re also a great fish to target with both bait & lures. Big reds are the species that Victorian anglers dream of catching. Remember that a Juvenile snapper under 40 cm is referred to as Pinkies. Once over 40cm it’s classified as a snapper.
Snapper scientific name is Pagrus auratus. The legal size and catch limits are Snapper – Maximum 3 fish can be 40cm or over and Juvenile snapper (pinky) – Minimum legal size: 28cm. However, a prized Snapper can grow over 10 kilos in size. In Victoria, the annual Snapper run from October to February. They are often best targeted at Dawn/Dusk.
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 in Port Phillip Bay. The initial task is finding snapper. Which you can do by using your sounder to mark up fish or anchoring up in a familiar location. If you manage to find a school of snapper in an aggressive mood they’ll take just about any bait. Our best bait recommendations are pilchard, silver whiting, squid, scad, garfish, raw chicken and mackerel. Soft plastics in bigger sizes are great choices for targeting snapper. 4 and 5-inch Jerk shads, minnow imitations, Curl tails, Grubz, and Paddle Tails. Just mix up the colours somedays 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.
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 eggbeater 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, we’re 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 mainline is fine, then 50cm of 40-pound leader to size 5 or 6 hooks. 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.
Recommended lures and soft plastics to catch snapper
- Daiwa Baitjunkie 5 inch jerk shads
- Berkley gulp turtleback worm
- Savage Gear Fat Curl tails
- Daiwa Bautjunkie 4 inch grubs
- Zman slim Swimz
- Berkley powerbait grub
- Gulp 3 inch minnow
- Dawia Bait Junkie paddle tail minnow
- Zman grubZ
- eco gear ZX40
- Daiwa Double Clutch
- EcoGear SX40
- Squidges biotough grub
- Zman StreakZ
- Munroes 3.75 inch paddle tails
- Kietech swim impact fat
- Zerek fish trap
- Samaki Vibelicious
There are also plenty of pre-made snapper rigs which are reliable and convenient. We use them all the time. Examples of this include Reedys Rigz pre-made snapper rigs and snelled rigs. Otherwise you can make your own snapper rigs watching this video
Best locations to catch snapper in Victoria
- Port Phillip Bay
- Corio Bay
- Western Port
- Corio Bay
- Bass straight
Why not watch our detailed video on targeting snapper in Port Melbourne along the princess pier pylons.
Recreational fishing guide
You can obtain a free Victorian recreational fishing guide from the Victorian Fisheries Authorities
Additions or Corrections for this fish species
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