Snapper (Pink) Fishing
Snapper (Pink) Fishing
Snapper (Pink) (Pagrus auratus)
- Size 5 to 10kg (10 to 20lbs)
- Food Value Excellent
- Game Qualities Good
- Habitats Nearshore, Offshore, Reef
Not to be confused with the Snapper species of the US fisheries (mainly the Red Snapper), the Australasian Pink Snapper is actually synonymous with the Silver Seabream, which is a type of Porgie. This chunky bottom dweller is one of the favorite catches in the Land Down Under - convenient to find and excellent on the plate.
This is a coastal fish commonly inhabiting reefs and sandy bottoms of the continental shelf in depths between 20 and 100m (60 and 300ft), but can sometimes be found as deep as 200m (650ft).
The species is long lived, up to 54 years and can reach up to 130cm (50'') and 20kg (44lbs), but are commonly caught between 5 and 10kg (10 and 20lbs).
They have many different names for all the sizes of fish caught: cocknies are juveniles, pinkies/red bream/ruggers are smaller keepers, squirefish are bigger ones, snappers are fully grown and old man snappers are the largest adults with a distinct bony hump on their forehead.
Where & When
Pink Snapper can be found in the southeastern Pacific waters, off the coasts of Japan, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia and New Zealand, with the latter two having the most renowned and prolific fisheries.
This species forms spawning aggregations, with thousands of fish gathering yearly, often in the same spots. These take place from May onwards, with fisheries farther down south hosting spawning in later months, as warmer water makes for better conditions.
Double trouble hooked from Melbourne, AU
How to catch
These fish are easy enough to catch if the conditions are right. Here's a rundown of the proven ideal conditions - high tides, moderate winds (10-20 knots) and/or days following a storm (which brings in warmer water and stirs up the seafloor making it rife with food. First light and sundown are the best times during the day, and anchoring a couple of hours before will allow the fish to gather without fearing the disturbance caused by the boat.
Pinkies, as they're often called, are not too picky with what they eat, but the best bait will natural and fresh. Depending on the size of the fish, Whiting, mackerel, pilchards, Bonito, Kahawai, Skipjack Tuna, soldier crabs, octopus or cuttlefish are all good choices. Various metal and plastic jigs, as well as flies, have proven successful, too.
Keep in mind that these fish have tough mouths, so any hooks used should be razor sharp.
Overcast weather is great for Snapper
Good to eat?
Prime table fare, particularly enjoyed in Australia and New Zealand.
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