Snapper Fishing Melbourne


Like a shot from a starting gun, every Spring signifies the beginning of the Melbourne fishing season. That means it is open season for Snapper. Melbourne is nothing short of a Big Red playground, with an abundance of the species. But that doesn’t make them easy pickings. Snapper are notoriously challenging to land and just because we have heaps of them, doesn’t mean they are a breeze to take.


You can take Snapper all-year round in places like Port Phillip. However, it isn’t until Spring that the larger fish come to the bay to breed. This means September until May is open season. It isn’t uncommon to land 6kg Big Reds. The real prizes come in at around 10 kg though.


When I first started targeting Snapper, I used an 8/10kg rod with a 6000 reel. It was a cheap, no-frills setup but was perfectly adequate to stop the Snapper in Port Phillip. But now, I have a 6/8kg rod with a 4000 reel and 17lb mono. The reel should have a good drag system on it but other than that, you have a lot of flexibility.


Pinkies can be found all over Port Phillip and Western Port Bay but to help you refine your location scouting, I have some recommendations. Late in the season, the south of Port Phillip from Carrum to Mt. Martha is a good place to go. You can also find Snapper in the North in the deeper water. Williamstown and Altona can deliver Snapper during the day when they are more likely to be in deeper water but move to shallower areas when the sun goes down.

In Western Port Bay, Yaringa and Rhyll are often good sources of Pinkies. Also, the area around Corinella yields good results. If it is your first time, you will find no shortage of local captains and charters prepared to take you out.

The trick to finding Snapper is to look for areas they are likely to feed. Seagrasses, rocks and broken areas are all worth investigating. Try to be creative. The spots where I have found the biggest Snapper have been locations off the beaten path which are less heavily fished.


In Port Phillip and Western Port Bay, the Snapper are not fussy. For bait, you can use Whiting, Pilchard, Salmon head or Garfish in shallow water. I have seen blokes use squid and octopus. I’ve never tried them myself but I am not surprised, the Pinkies around here will take almost anything.

Personally, I use snelled twin hooks to rig a full Pilchard as bait most of the time.


The peak time for taking Snapper is in shallower water at dawn and dusk. You will have luck in the day but more likely in deeper water. After rough weather, I have had results fishing the edge of a reef. Also, in Port Phillip, there are Scallop beds which often attract Pinkies.

However, in peak Snapper season, I have seen them taken anywhere at any time.

Come to Melbourne, the Snapper-mecca this Spring and join in the fun. Just remember to stick within your legal allowance for Snapper (10 fish a day with no more than three over 40cm).


Have you tried to target Snapper around Melbourne? Do you have anything to add to this article? Let us know in the comments section below.

Peter Hollingsworth
Peter Hollingsworth

Peter has been fishing all around Australia since he was a boy. He loves camping, fishing and kayak fishing.