Snapper - Pagrus auratus
Did you know? Snapper are also known by another scientific name, Chrysophrys auratus.
Sustainability and stock status
Snapper are great sport and tasty to eat, add to that their beautiful colouring and this species is popular with people. Due to this Snapper are overfished. But depending on where you are in Australia their stock status varies from undefined to sustainable to depleting. Size and bag limits apply to this species in each State and correct catch and release methods are important when not keeping fish.
Found from about Townsville in QLD, south around the Australian coastline and up to about Carnarvon in WA. Snapper will inhabit both inshore and offshore as well as estuaries and bays. Large adult Snapper can generally be found in deeper waters near rocky reefs.
Biology, behavioural characteristics and time of year
Snapper can live for over 40 years and grow to over a metre in length and 20kgs in weight. Colouring of this species ranges from pink to copper-red with a silver belly and small fluorescent blue spots scattered on its sides. Large fish look like they've had botox injections and develop a prominent hump on their head and big lips. Big Snapper are intelligent and cautious and are unlikely to jump on your hook. They are also very powerful over a short distance and will cause many problems for anglers. This species have a broad diet and eat most things including fish, squid, crustaceans and molluscs. Mostly found on or close to the bottom they prefer structure like rocks and reef. Snapper can be caught all year but prefer cooler waters.
Fishing gear and techniques
Catching those big snapper (10kg and over) does not come easy. A fisherman needs to put some thought into their technique and presentation for these cunning reds. Fishing as light as possible is your best bet if you want to bag one of these beauties, but too light and good luck stopping one before it busts you off on the first thing it "runs" to. Berley is widely recommended when hunting for Snapper as these fish are wary of humans.
Strong needle sharp circle or suicide hooks are best for chasing Snapper with baits, and size varies from 2/0 to 7/0 depending on the size of fish you're after. A paternoster rig is a solid choice for bait presentation. Soft plastics and Jigs are another popular choice and very effective. Braid line and Fluorocarbon leader are a good line combination added to a 7 to 7'6ft medium to heavy action rod with a 2500 to 4500 spinning reel.
Dawn and Dusk are arguably the best times for catching reds.
Killing and Cooking
Ideally use the iki jime technique to kill Snapper before placing in an ice slurry. This fish lends itself to any cooking method and has a delicious flesh.