Queen snapper are a colourful bottom dwelling species that are recognised as a poor table fish by the many anglers that encounter them as a by catch whilst targeting other more popular species such as bald chin groper and W.A. dhu fish! Queen snapper are not a member of the snapper genus and are in fact a species of blue morwong.
Queen snapper can be located from as far south as Albany right up to Jurien Bay throughout Western Australia and also N.S.W., VIC, and S.A.
Queen snapper grow to around 15kg in weight and over 90cm in length although a typical sized queenie is around 3 – 4kg in most locations.
Queen snapper prefer areas of reef and rock and are generally encountered in water depths ranging from 15 – 200 meters in depth. South west rock anglers regularly take fine specimens from the cold, wet southern stones.
Queen snapper are a visually stunning species to look at fresh from the water although do lose their lustre upon death! They are a silver to blue colouration with bright yellow lines forming a beautiful pattern across the nose and fore head. The lips are large and blubbery making this species of morwong unlike any other.
Great fish to look at but does not taste too good unless it is cared for very well and eaten fresh.
Queen snapper are tough fighters and are typically quite a struggle on light rod and reel combos.
Light to medium spin or overhead tackle is well suited to targeting Queen snapper from a boat with light braided, gel spun or nylon lines with a breaking strain of 12 – 30lb proving ideal. 40 – 80lb nylon or fluoro carbon leaders should be attached to bright braided or gel spun lines to prevent fish from seeing the line and also to help prevent chafe offs on rough structures, teeth and gills. Medium bottom fishing or jigging outfits in either spin or overhead styles are more typically suited for fishing deeper water to 200 meters. Shore based anglers require much longer rods and reels capable of casting long distances and coping with heavy line classes of 20 – 50lb.
Most Queen snapper are encountered as a by catch for many anglers and standard bottom fishing baits such as cut fish strips, squid and octopus will suffice for most Queenie situations with lures such as soft plastics, metal jigs and fly’s also proving deadly on this species in shallow waters. Paternoster or drift baiting rigs made from 80 – 120lb nylon are normally used to target Queenies in deeper water.
Try to use fresh baits when possible and present them as naturally as possible. Remember to let the fish eat the bait down before striking!
Rising or full tides are best suited for targeting Queen snapper around most areas although some deep water locations will also produce good numbers of fish during low and falling tides. New moon phases are also preferable for most fish species including Queen snapper.