John “Stinker” Clarke says snapper is our fishing fave….

What is it about snapper that makes everyone dream about catching one? For me, it’s the excitement of battling a real scrapper that performs equally as well in the kitchen. Beautifully coloured crimson, pink and opal blue, the snapper has earned the reputation that makes it iconic among recreational fishers.

There are numerous methods of catching a snapper, either from the rocky coastline or from a boat. I target snapper from my 11 foot tinny Stinkpot. Driven along by a 9hp motor, I head for the close reefs, headlands and rocky outcrops. Anchoring just behind the wash, dusk or dawn, I set a rich berley trail of bread, prawn, lobster and crab scraps, mixed with any old pilchards or bonito frames that I have. Snapper aren’t fussy. My preferred baits include big prawns, fresh squid, fresh slimy mackerel or bonito fillets. Tossing an unweighted, or lightly weighted, bait way back behind the berley trail, I let the bait sink until Whacko! Hang on.

Plastics are becoming increasingly popular, as they prove to be very successful. There are advantages in using plastics – no berley required, and no frozen bait. My family encourages me to use plastics as I don’t come home so smelly.

I have used plastics in the past with excellent results. However, I always return to the old bait and berley method, much to the displeasure of my wife.

But once that snapper is cooked… you can’t beat it!


Fishing writer, author and radio presenter John “Stinker” Clarke will be a regular columnist for the Manning Community News. John can be heard weekly, throughout NSW, on popular ABC Regional Radio fishing program “The Big Fish”. Check him out on or send an email to with your information and questions. 

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