Many articles have been written, over the years, on the best method for catching Snapper. Some will tell you that fresh squid is the best bait, while others will swear by using soft plastics, but at the end of the day all of them will work when used correctly.
I’d like to give you a bit of an idea of how I target snapper. I am sure I am doing plenty wrong but then again I cannot remember the last time I came home empty handed.
When chasing snapper I prefer to use baits however I do use soft plastics every now and then.
Now when chasing Snapper there seem to be a few key factors in the fishing I do.
No matter where you are fishing Snapper Love Structure. Use your sounder to locate drop offs, ledges or channels that have fish hanging around them and you’re off to a good start.
When you are looking for fish on the sounder try and find schools of fish that aren’t far off the bottom. Snapper seen midwater are rarely feeding.
Once you have anchored your boat, so that you will be casting back onto the structure you have found, you need to get the fish in the mood and where you want them. Chicken pellets are a great start. I also like to use some kind of fish, normally I drop a paternoster rig to the bottom and anything I catch gets chopped up and fed back out as small cubes.
Fresh Baits are a must. Don’t even bother going fishing if you intend using crusty old refrozen bait. The best bait is the one you caught on the fishing grounds. If that isn’t possible get the best bait you can buy.
Good WA pillies are quite a good choice if you aren’t fond of gathering your own baits. Also, try locally caught squid, slabs of salmon or striped tuna and other small fish.
The how to
Normally when fishing for snapper I am doing it from my 4m tinnie. I fish with one 4500 Baitrunner, one 6500 Baitrunner and a TLD25. I prefer rods around 6 feet or slightly longer, like Ugly Stiks.
The two baitrunners will have baits floated down the berley trail with the baitrunner function on so I can feed line out and let the baits drift back. Use just enough lead so that the bait sinks very slowly. It should take 10 minutes or so before it reaches the bottom. Where I fish off Sydney 8-10kg mainline and a 10-15kg Flurocarbon leader seem to do the job well.
When Snapper strike they do so with serious speed so be ready to grab the rod and strike hard. The first 30 seconds of a fight with a big snapper are the crucial ones. If you can get his head turned off the bottom, chances are you’ve won.
The TLD is used for fishing the bottom. This rod will keep you busy catching all sorts of reef fish while you wait for the snapper to run on the floaters.
There’s a lot of trial and error to snapper fishing and every place will require a slightly different approach but I am sure if you take my basics and apply them you’ll be very pleased with the outcome.