If there is better snapper country than Port Stephens, I would like to know where it is. You can catch cracker snapper anywhere over the extensive reef system that stretches from Birubi to Fingal and then on to the islands, Boondelbah, Little Island and Broughton. A little further towards Seal Rocks is also great snapper habitat.

Visitor from Sydney, Alex Shipley, had an outing he won’t forget in a hurry. Tossing a 7 inch plastic around Boondelbah Island when – Whammo! – a monster took off like the last bus to Anna Bay. After a mighty battle, up came a thumping 97cm big red, estimated to weigh around 15kg.

There is a reason why snapper fishing is fantastic in our waters and it all begins in the feeder streams that flow into Port Stephens. Filtered by the hectares of healthy mangrove forests and oysters, the water that enters the Port is clean and rich in nutrients, ideal for the growth and development of juvenile fish – mulloway, bream, whiting, flathead and the thousands upon thousands of tiny squire, baby snapper, that infest the port. At a stage in their growth the snapper head to sea. 

There is a message – wherever you are – protect our water quality to protect our fish!

Fishing writer, author and radio presenter John “Stinker” Clarke 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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