How To Catch Snapper – A Comprehensive Guide For Beginners

Snappers are one of the most popular saltwater fish species to target in Australia. The particular species we will cover today is Chrysophrys auratus (formerly known as Pagrus Auratus). Though commonly known as “snapper” in Australia, these fish are actually members of the same family as bream. Many anglers love to catch Snapper because of their quality meat which makes for a great meal. Snapper is said to have a sweet taste and a firm texture, sought-after qualities in fish.

If you want to learn how to catch Snapper, look no further. In this article, we will lay out all the information and techniques you will need. Then, let’s dive into the ultimate guide on how to catch Snapper!

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How to Catch Snapper – Facts

Snapper Facts

Scientific Name (Chrysophrys auratus


Snappers are pink and silver in colouration, with blue spots scattered around their bodies. They have large blunt heads and teeth similar to some drum fish species. They can grow up to 1.3 meters in length and reach up to 20 kg.


As demersal fish (bottom-dwelling), snapper grounds are typically on or near the seafloor. They are found in rocky and sandy areas, where they feed on various small fish. When snapper spawn, they are typically located near the continental shelf. As they grow older, they enter bays or estuaries before returning to deeper waters as adults. The adults like to hang around reefs or areas with ample food and protection from predators. The biggest Snapper can be found in the deeper waters off the continental shelf.

If you are interested in learning how to catch fish such as snappers, it is important to have a solid understanding of their habitat and behaviour. A good starting point is to check your local fishing regulations to ensure that you are hunting for Snapper within legal limits.


There have been sightings of Snapper all around the coast of Australia, except for the northernmost tip of Queensland. However, their populations appear to be most concentrated on the southeastern coast of Australia. 


Snapper consume a wide range of prey for their diet. They have been known to feed on crustaceans, molluscs, fish, worms, urchins, jellyfish, and even algae. 


Snapper are relatively slow-growing fish and have been known to live for longer than 40 years. It is important to be mindful of this when targeting these fish, as they can produce many offspring throughout their lifetime and contribute significantly to the overall population.

How To Catch Snapper – Tip #1

Snapper Legal Size & Catch Limit in NSW

The minimum legal size for keeping snapper in the NSW region is 30 cm with a bag limit of 10 fish. Visit the Department of Primary Industries website to learn more about fishing regulations in your area. It’s important to ensure that you are following legal restrictions and best practices when fishing for snapper.

How To Catch Snapper – Tip #2

What’s the Eating Quality of Snapper? 

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Snapper is a highly prized species of fish to catch because of its delicious white meat. Once you cut out the blood line, you will be left with a firm filet ready to be cooked in various ways. Most fans of Snapper report the meat having a mild flavour with just the right amount of fat. Typically, the smaller fish have a sweeter taste. Snapper meat is tender and juicy when cooked correctly, but beware; if overcooked, it will become tough and dry. If you enjoy eating high-quality fish, you will definitely want to learn how to catch Snapper.

How To Catch Snapper – Tip #3

How To Catch Land-Based Snapper 

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If you will not be fishing on a boat and want to know how to catch land-based Snapper, we’ve got you covered!

One of the best ways to catch Snapper from land is to go beach fishing. You can also try fishing from a peer or a jetty. No matter what spot you choose to fish from, you will want to ensure that the waters you will be targeting Snapper have a decent current. This is because currents carry a lot of the prey that Snapper like to eat. 

To further increase your odds of catching Snapper from land, look for a location with favourable features such as a reef bottom, seagrass, or a wreck. Snapper like to hang out in these areas where they can be safe from larger predators and easily ambush prey. Make sure to check the tides of your fishing location and figure out if a high or low tide is more suitable for your fishing needs.

How To Catch Snapper – Tip #4

Where Can You Catch Snapper?


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Beaches are great places to go fishing for Snapper. Usually, beaches are easy to access and provide lots of land area to traverse in case you want to try a different spot. Beaches can also allow access to reefs, rocks, and other debris in the water that Snapper can live in. 


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Estuaries can be great locations for catching many kinds of fish. This is because estuaries often serve as breeding grounds for fish, where the young are birthed and then grow up until they are old enough to move to deeper waters. However, estuaries are probably not the best place to fish for Snapper because they actually breed in deeper waters and their young move into the shallow estuaries. 


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Rocks are another type of place where you can go for finding Snapper. Rock fishing is usually done in the winter when other types of fishing are slowing down. Rock fishing can be better than beach fishing because the rocks’ height allows anglers to cast their bait farther.

Bridges & Piers 

Bridges and piers are very similar in that they are artificial structures extending out over the water. Fish such as Snapper like to hang around their pylons because crustaceans tend to grow on them. Therefore, the bridges and piers also provide structural cover for Snapper.

How To Catch Snapper – Tip #5

Best Snapper Fishing Spots in Sydney, NSW

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  1. Brighton-Le-Sands (Cooks River) – If you’re looking for an unbeatable spot to catch some snapper, then Brighton-Le-Sands is your destination. Situated alongside Cooks River, a magnificent rocky wall forms a jetty and invites vast numbers of snapper off those walls while simultaneously appreciating the view of aircraft taking flight from close by!

  2. Gordon’s Bay – If you’re looking to catch snapper, Gordon’s Bay is an ideal spot. Its strong tide brings out the structures needed for locating bream when it rises, making it a great place for rock fishing.

  3. Gladesville Wharf (Parramatta River) – Gladesville Wharf, situated upon Parramatta River, is a primo spot for snapper fishing! To secure your catch, though, wait till the evening when the ferry service ceases operation. Then you can take advantage of all that Gladesville Wharf’s waters have to offer—snapper included!

  4. Tom Uglys Bridge (Georges River) – Tom Uglys Bridge is an ideal Sydney fishing spot with its massive man-made structure that serves as the perfect shelter for snapper. Like many other bridges, this one provides a great opportunity to catch fish because they are drawn to it due to the plentiful crustaceans around the bridge pylons and protection from predators in its shadow. The abundance of snapper makes Tom Uglys Bridge stand out on Georges River.

  5. Clarkes Point Reserve (Parramatta & Lane Cove Rivers) – Clarkes Point Reserve is a paradise for anglers, situated at the convergence of Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers. The juncture provides an ideal habitat for snapper fishing due to its abundant food sources.

How To Catch Snapper – Tip #6

What’s The Best Season For Catching Snapper?

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When learning how to catch Snapper, it is essential to know when the best season to catch Snapper is. Snapper can be caught all year long, but the best fishing occurs when the waters are calm. In this case, the best seasons would be from September to November and March to May. 

How To Catch Snapper – Tip #7

What’s The Best Rod To Catch Snapper?

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When fishing for Snapper, you will want to ensure you have the correct type of rod to have a successful fishing trip. For example, a rod that is too stiff may make it hard to detect bites from smaller snappers, while a rod that is too light may break under pressure if you hook a large specimen. To ensure that neither of these things happens to you when fishing for Snapper, let’s discuss what you should look for when choosing the best rod to catch Snapper.

Rod length is one of the most important factors when choosing a snapper fishing rod. You should select your rod length based on the location will be fishing for Snapper. If you will be fishing from a beach or rocks, a longer rod, somewhere between 10 – 14 ft, is better suited to get your bait out where it needs to be.

This is especially important for snapper fishing because you want to ensure your bait can reach a reef or structure that may hold Snapper. If you are fishing for Snapper from a boat, then a shorter rod, ranging from 6 – 8 ft, will be a better choice as it will be easier to maneuver on a boat. You do not have to worry about casting long distances. 

Rod action and power are other important parts of determining the best rod for snapper fishing. Since Snapper can grow up to 20 kg in weight, you will want a rod that can handle heavy fish but is sensitive enough to alert you to small bites. A medium-action and medium-heavy power rod can get the job done in all of your snapper fishing scenarios. If handled properly, an angler should have no problem landing a 20 kg fish on this type of rod.

Remember the rod rating when choosing the rod you want for snapper fishing. Get a rod that is rated for a 20lb line. If you want to use monofilament, a 20lb line should be strong enough to handle most snappers, and the 20 lb rating on the rod will allow you to use a much stronger braided line as well. 

How To Catch Snapper – Tip #8

What’s The Best Reel To Catch Snapper?

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An integral part of learning how to catch Snapper is learning which reel works best to get the job done. A reel can make or break a fishing trip. If the reel you are using cannot handle the fish you are trying to land, the reel can actually break. Furthermore, a reel that is not in tune with your current situation can cause your line to break much easier than it would have otherwise. To ensure this doesn’t happen when you are snapper fishing, let’s cover what you need to look for when trying to find the best reel to catch Snapper.

For reel size, a 3500 or 4000 size reel will work well for snapper fishing. This size of reel will be able to hold enough line and provide enough drag to stop large Snapper from spooling you. Getting “spooled” is when a fish pulls out all of the line on your reel. Most 3500 and 4000 size reels will have over 12 lbs of drag which is enough to slow down even a big snapper.

The ideal gear ratio for a reel for Snapper is around 6.2:1, meaning that for every full crank, the rotor will spin around the spool 6.2 times. This gear ratio will provide an angler with good control for reeling in lures and a solid speed for reeling in fish on the line. 

For most snapper fishing scenarios, a spinning reel will be the best choice. Conventional reels can be used on a boat, but for Snapper, they are really not necessary since a spinning reel can serve the same purpose with more simple handling. In addition, spinning reels allow for easy casts at long distances without the technical hazards of a conventional reel, such as a bird’s nest, where the line gets tangled from the cast.

How To Catch Snapper – Tip #9

What’s The Best Line To Catch Snapper?

When most people think of fishing line they think of what is known as monofilament. However, there are also two other types of line: fluorocarbon and braid. The best line to catch Snapper may vary depending on your situation, but we’ll break down the specifics of each type of line and how you can use them to catch Snapper.


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Monofilament is the most commonly used line because it is relatively strong and much cheaper than braid or fluorocarbon. Monofilament will work well in most situations that do not require landing massive fish or casting as far as possible. It is a solid choice for snapper fishing because it is hard for the fish to see. 20 lb line should be strong enough to handle most snappers and even a 20 kg one if it is used properly.


Fluorocarbon is the most expensive fishing line out of the three, and it is also the hardest for fish to see. Fluorocarbon is similar to monofilament but is basically a better version of it in every way. However, because of the high price, if you are to use it for snapper fishing we recommend using it only for the leader.


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Braided line is by far the strongest line, pound for pound. It is also the lightest and can be cast the furthest. Despite these advantages, it can be easy for fish to see and therefore requires a long leader. Braid can be a great option for snapper fishing from the beach when used with a leader. With braided line, you won’t have to worry about a fish being too big.

How To Catch Snapper – Tip #10

What’s The Best Rig To Catch Snapper?

Paternoster Rig | Fishing Rigs |

Rig number 1 – For this basic snapper fishing rig you will need a size 3 or 4 circle hook, a swivel with a coastlock snap, a leader, and a 2 or 3 oz pyramid sinker. Take the hook and tie it to one end of the leader. Tie the other end of the leader to the free end swivel of the swivel. Tie the main line to the other end of the swivel that connects with the coastlock snap. Finally, connect the pyramid sinker to the coastlock snap. This rig is great for fishing from the beach and will allow you to cast long distances accurately. 

Rig number 2 – Here is another super effective, but super simple rig for snapper fishing. You will need a hook of any kind, a plastic bead, a leader, a swivel, and a sinker weight that can be slid on the line. First, tie the hook to one end of your leader. Then slide the plastic bead on, followed by the sinker weight.

After that, tie the free end of the leader to the swivel and then tie the main line to the other end of the swivel. This rig will work well when fishing from a boat or rocks. Adjust the size of the sinker weight depending on what kind of current you will be dealing with and how fast you need the weight to sink. 

How To Catch Snapper – Tip #11

What Are The Best Baits to Catch Snapper?

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When fishing for Snapper, there are many options that make up the best baits to catch Snapper. The best baits will be what is local to the area you will be fishing for Snapper in. For example, squid is a great bait for Snapper, but if there is no squid in the area you are fishing, you might not have as good of success as you could if you used a cut fish bait that is local. 

However, this is not to say that baits that are not local will not work at all. They may work amazingly, so do not hesitate to give whatever you have access to a shot for snapper fishing. Fish have been known to take even cooked shrimp as bait, which obviously they would not find in nature. Fresh bait is usually better than frozen bait, but if you do not have fresh bait available, remember that any bait is worth a shot. Try out different baits and see which have the best results for you. Also, don’t forget to ask your local tackle store or fishing shop what kinds of bait have been working well for other people in the area.

Best snapper fish baits include:

  • Squid strips and squid head
  • Mullet
  • Shrimp
  • Bonito
  • Saltwater bloodworms
  • silver whiting
  • Cut bait fish (mullet, mackerel, or garfish)

How To Catch Snapper – Tip #12

What Are The Best Lures To Catch Snapper?

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Bait fishing is not the only way to catch Snapper. Fishing with lures is another popular tactic used to catch Snapper. There are several types of lures to choose from, each with its unique pros and cons. 

Lures can be much more cost-effective than bait if you do not lose them. They also allow anglers to fish in certain spots that they might not be able to fish with bait. Let’s talk about the different types of lures you can use to catch Snapper so you can decide which are the best lures to catch Snapper in your area.

Soft Plastic Lures 

Soft Plastic Lures |

Soft plastics are great for fishing in areas with a lot of structure, drop-offs or debris on which your hook may get caught. Using a j-hook, you can hook a soft plastic lure so that the tip of the hook isn’t sticking out and will only come through the lure when a fish bites it. Soft plastic lures can be a good choice when fishing for Snapper because Snapper like to hang out in areas such as reefs, which have a lot of structures for hooks to get stuck on. 

Hard Body Lures 

Hard Body Lures |

Hard body lures are much more durable than soft plastic lures and can be much more diverse in their functionality. Hard body lures can be heavy, floating, or be made to dive several feet underwater. They can also be filled with beads to create vibrations to attract fish. Hard body lures may be more vulnerable to reef structure than soft plastic lures because they typically use two treble hooks. However, hard body lures are a good way to go if you are fishing for Snapper and do not have to worry about losing your lure on a structure.

Metal Lures

Metal Lures |

Metal lures are the most durable and heavy of the three main kinds of lures. However, be sure to rinse these types of lures with extra care after fishing in saltwater so they don’t rush. Even if they are painting, there is still a higher risk of these lures rusting than plastics. Metal lures can also be filled with beads to add vibration.

How To Catch Snapper – Final Thoughts


Now that you know how to catch Snapper get out to your local fishing spot and see if you have any luck! Snapper can be caught just about anywhere on the Australian coast, so if you do not have any luck at your first spot, don’t hesitate to try somewhere else. Fishing for Snapper is a great way to enjoy your day, and if you’re up to it, you might be catching your dinner too. Leave a comment below, letting us know what you catch, and share this article with your friends who want to learn how to catch Snapper.

How To Catch Snapper – Frequently Asked Questions


What is the best bait for catching Snapper?

The best bait for catching Snapper is cut fish, shrimp, squid, and worms.

Where can Snapper be caught?

Snapper can be caught in almost every area along the Australian coast.

How big can Snapper get?

Snapper can grow up to 1.3 meters in length and reach up to 20 kg.

Are Snapper easy to catch?

With the right fishing equipment, Snapper are easy to catch. Nothing fancy is required for catching Snapper, which makes them a great species for any level of anglers.

Do snapper feed on the bottom?

Snapper are mostly bottom feeders so when fishing for them, it is usually best to fish the bottom of your spot.

How long can Snapper live for?

Snapper are a slow-growing fish and have been known to live for over 40 years.

Are snapper saltwater or freshwater?

Snapper are saltwater fish. They do not have the ability to survive in freshwater, so do not bother looking in freshwater lakes for Snapper.

What is the best time of day to catch Snapper?

The best time of day to catch Snapper is either at dawn or dusk. The middle of the day is usually not very productive for any kind of fishing.

Can you eat Snapper?

As long as the fish you catch is over 30 cm in length (with a limit of 10), then you can eat the Snapper that you catch.

What do Snapper look like?

Snapper are medium-sized fish with pink and silver bodies. They have a large, blunt head and teeth that resemble the teeth of some species of drum.

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