Snapper,Pink

(Pagrus auratus)

Commonly referred to as Pinkies!

Pink snapper would have to be one of the most highly sought after offshore fish species in Australia thanks to their fine table qualities and incredibly good looks. Pinkies are not a member of the snapper family as their name suggests and are actually members of the sea bream genus.  Pink snapper are not only famous for their good looks and fine eating qualities but also their fighting abilities once hooked. Both boat and shore based anglers alike can enjoy the thrill of hooking pinkies from many popular locations around Australia with solid fish to over a meter being regularly taken by experienced anglers. Australian pink snapper numbers are considered to be extremely healthy at present and should be maintained to ensure that this remains the case for many generations to come!

Distribution

Pink snapper can be located from as far west as the Monte Bello Island group in Western Australia right across the bottom end of the continent up into southern Queensland in the east making them one of the most widely spread, highly sort after species in the country.

Growth

Pink snapper grow to around 18kg in weight and reach sexual maturity at around 30 – 35cm in length. A typical sized pinkie is around 3 – 4kg in most locations.

Habitat

Pink snapper can be found throughout a large variety of areas from reef, sand, mud and man made structures such as wrecks and jetties to beaches, rock walls and cliffs. Preferred water depths ranging from 6 – 200 meters are also a good indication of the wide range of this popular species. Smaller, juvenile fish are generally encountered in estuary systems and shallow weed beds.

Identification

Pink snapper can be easily recognised by their Pink to red body colouration which also has bright aqua green spots mixed through the upper half. Juvenile fish are round or pan shaped with larger specimens proving to be much longer with a hard, lump of bone protruding from the fore head of the fish and also around the mouth and nose of much older fish. There are blue hues present on the anal and tail fins of some specimens and the bright aqua spots seem to fade with age to a white or cream colour. Pink snapper are a visually stunning species to admire!

Taste rating

  • Sixty Taste Rating
    60%

Great fish to eat fresh but does not freeze too well, a little over rated in my book.

Sport rating

  • Seventy Sport Rating
    70%

Pink snapper can be dirty fighters amongst structure but are typically quite manageable on most rod and reel combos.

Tackle requirements

Light to medium spin or overhead tackle is well suited to targeting Pink snapper from 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.

Recommended baits, lures and rigs

Most standard bottom fishing baits such as cut fish strips, squid and octopus will suffice for most pinkie 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 pinkies  in deeper waters to 200 meters.

Handy hints and tips

Beware of pinkie spines both when handling live and dead specimens, ouch!

Preferred fishing times and tides

Rising or full tides are best suited for targeting pink 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 pink snapper although full moons are also suitable for targeting this species at night.

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