snapper fishing SA - South Australia

How To Catch Snapper
Snapper Fishing Made Easy

By Wayne Smith

    If you are looking for information on how to catch snapper, you are so lucky to be searching right here, right now!

    Wayne Smith with large snapper

    For decades I also searched. Plenty of information existed on species distribution, snapper habitat, snapper bait, snapper rigs and other information but none of which was meaningful on where, or especially how, I should fish to get results.

    I have since determined that the majority of meaningful information had never been worked out to enable it's publication. Whereas I previously considered snapper fishing to be the preserve of large boats well off shore on wrecks and reefs, I found that need not be the case at all.

    Misinformation abounds about snapper fishing which discourages anglers. It paints a picture of being all too daunting a task to be successful. By way of example I quote a government PIRSA (Primary Industry and Resources South Aust.) internet article on snapper fishing by ‘One of the State’s most accomplished young anglers.’ (ref:

    ‘(Name) is a firm believer that you are only as good as the people who teach you how to fish.’

    Unfortunately this belief presupposes there is nothing new to be learned – that those who taught us have known it all. They certainly haven't! What it does highlight is why there has been so little progress on how to catch snapper for many years. It has perpetuated the incorrect assumptions made by anglers of past generations.

    It has resulted in discouraging impressions such as, ‘If the snapper are in a particular spot, they may only bite for one hour in twenty four, and then perhaps only on a particular bait, and at a particular stage of the tide.’

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    What chance does any snapper angler, novice or otherwise, think they have of getting it all right if they accepted that such narrow criteria really exists? The article was written with all good intent, and genuine belief of accuracy. However, and fortunately, it is incorrect on all counts. It is a legacy of the way most anglers, both past and present, tend to arrive at all sorts of convenient conclusions rather than looking at their own snapper fishing techniques when they don't understand why they struggle to get results.

    The snapper is just a simple fish. It knows not from where it’s next meal is coming. It simply cannot afford to fast for twenty three hours a day or be fussy about it’s diet. Neither can it afford to ignore a potential meal and return, possibly hours later, when the stage of the tide is supposedly ‘Right’, to see if it is still there. Sorry, but there is no way known that is possible.

    The fact is there are numerous factors impacting our ability to catch snapper. Historically we have failed, until now, to even identify them. Desired snapper fishing results have accordingly not been easily forthcoming. Excuses have been formulated, published and generally accepted without challenge. They have then been recycled and taught to others. It is time the cycle is broken.

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    Allow me to provide an idea of the type of mistake many anglers make:

    We all know snapper feed at night so many of us realize that is the best time to fish for them. Also known is snapper’s irrefutable association with structure, so naturally that is where we go, right? ... Wrong!

    I am going to draw a parallel with another nocturnal feeder, the owl. It is out hunting at night and roosts in a loft, for example, during the day. If we needed to catch an owl, are we going to search the wide open spaces for it, or go to the loft? Obviously we would go to the loft. But is there any point going to the loft at night? Of course not; it's out hunting somewhere.

    The same situation applies to the snapper. They roost around some structure during the day to avoid the press of the tide and avoid predation from sharks. If you know where the loft is, you can catch them during the day. However, before dusk they leave their ‘Loft’ and head off for a night’s browsing where they consider they have their best chance of picking up a meal. And while they are away, how many anglers are sitting ruefully at the loft assuming they are not biting? ... Right place, wrong time!

    Alternatively, ‘Right time, wrong place.’

    Yes, a few snapper can still be caught at the loft at night. Snapper can be passing from one feeding area to another. Some 'Lofts' (Private, artificial ones particularly) can exist not far offshore, close to feeding grounds. If other factors are favourable, anglers may also get snapper if they are still there at first light when the fish are starting to arrive back at the ‘Loft.’

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    Those anglers who have learned how to catch snapper have predominantly been able to reach offshore wrecks and reefs in larger boats or created their own hidden ’Lofts’ using car bodies, old farm machinery or whatever other structure they could transport. Those anglers have done quite well. They guard their little artificial reefs ferociously. Being ‘Lofts,’ they are mainly daylight locations. Well done and good luck to them.

    However, we don’t need to encroach on other anglers’ private artificial reefs. I found better results can be achieved by fishing at night, and sitting inshore where they will be feeding in numbers. Depending on location, most of what they feed upon; crabs, scallop beds, dead razor fish inhabitants, small squid and fish, etc., are inshore. We don’t have to go way offshore because under the cover of darkness they come inshore to us. We do have to know how to ensure they find us.

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    One common thread I found in most snapper fishing articles is how most snapper are caught around the change of tides. The observation is correct but the conclusion is incorrect, as is the subsequent action accordingly.

    The conclusion is that the snapper feed predominantly at that time and the subsequent action then is to focus your efforts around the tide changes.

    The conclusion is wrong for two reasons:

    1) Anglers have assumed the fish are feeding predominantly at those times because most snapper are hooked at those times. Wrong! Most fish are hooked then because few have ever worked out how to effectively counter the effects of the tides when they start really flowing.

    2) By focusing their efforts around the tide changes, they have to catch most of their snapper at that time.

    That subsequent action of concentrating efforts around tide changes is wrong because anglers are denying themselves the majority of productive fishing time and the opportunity to learn both how to counter the effects of the tides, and how to use them to advantage. Do so, and they can be caught right through the tides.

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    Another common thread is the necessity for using berley to catch snapper. Again, the concept is correct. However, without proper tidal provision, berley is usually responsible for most snapper NOT being caught rather than the reverse, as intended.

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    Since 2002 I have analyzed the whole routine of catching snapper. Those factors adversely affecting results have been identified. Solutions have been formulated, tested, improved upon, fine tuned and settled. The result has been great catches consistently.

    The pictures thus far have all been my catches, each made with a buddy, which show just what can be achieved. They were all made from my little 4.6m (15’) boat on flat sand within 3km of shore. Being night time, structure and location were not important. Neither was bait, tide stage, moon phase, wind direction or detailed records.

    What is important is putting yourself in control of the situation to ensure your result by identifying, and countering, all those variables which would otherwise restrict , or deny your catch.

    SA snapper fishing how to catch snapper
    While my results have been achieved in St. Vincent Gulf, here in South Australia, the same factors also apply elsewhere.       


    Here is a listing of less obvious factors which adversely impact your catch:

    * Fishing in the wrong place at the right time or the right place at the wrong time

    * Not having a strategy when it is too rough to launch

    * Un-necessary fishing time restriction by concentrating efforts around tide changes

    * Not knowing how to avoid losing precious fishing time on sting rays & dog sharks

    * Not knowing how to avoid the unknowing loss of baits to sea lice

    * Not knowing how to ensure the browsing snapper find us - inshore

    * Not knowing how berley pots can spook the snapper, or how to avoid it

    * Not knowing that your berley takes the snapper away from your baits when the tide starts gaining momentum, or how to avoid it

    * Not understanding the effects of tides or knowing how to counter them

    * Not knowing how to utilize the tides to advantage

    * Not knowing how to maximize your hook up rate

    * Not knowing how to maximize your landing rate

    * Not having a strategy when undersized snapper are stealing all your baits

    * Not having a strategy to avoid the influence of any shark which turns up

    * Not knowing how to maximize your bag and boat limits within the legal restrictions

    * Lack of commercial availability of essential equipment

    Little wonder anglers have struggled for so long to achieve meaningful results!

    All the information necessary for you to get the same results as I do,
    has been compiled in an advanced snapper fishing course.
    Optional Costs of the course are $300 or $500.
    $300 - excludes equipment

    $500 - includes equipment

    Advanced Snapper Fishing Course

    Topics covered :

    Understanding of, and solutions to, all the adverse factors listed above

    *** PLUS ***

    UNDERSTANDING the snapper to remove the myths

    How to make the NECESSITIES you can’t buy

    Berley v. Scent implications

    Wind V. Tide effects - implications, allowances and safety

    Different rough weather scenarios and how to handle them

    Arrival at fishing locations

    Night fishing V.Day fishing for snapper

    Where to fish, and why

    My snapper fishing locations

    Snapper rigs to use, and why

    Considerations between adult snapper and ruggers

    Time reduction to scale and fillet all your snapper

    Requirements if considering mounting a trophy sized snapper

    ONGOING support

    *** Please note: All fishing methods and catch quantities are practiced and taught within all legal regulations, size and bag limitations. ***


    While this website does not provide the answers, you at least are now aware of the real issues and know that solutions do exist. You also know where you can get the answers if you can’t work them out yourself. You can avoid the frustration of prior generations who endured the expense of operating their boats for years, chasing a seemingly elusive quarry, without ever discovering the real issues, let alone the answers.

    Some students have found they can exceed their course costs in value of snapper caught on their first subsequent trip out. The common feedback thus far is the disbelief of just how easy snapper fishing can be, after all.

    Student Testimonials:

    "I was on holiday when I met Wayne Smith in a caravan park.

    We talked about snapper fishing for about 4 hours. What amazed me most was his technique. It was awesome. By explaining it to me, he taught me how to catch snapper. By 'Thinking like a snapper' he explained how you don't need secret wrecks or reefs, like everyone seems to think. Neither do you need to venture far offshore.

    He has turned 'Berleying' into a virtual science to 'Bring the fish to you.' He pointed out the numerous myths which exist in snapper fishing which prompts most anglers to defeat themselves. I was amazed at how many factors anglers aren't even aware of which impact our results, both for better and worse. By applying a lot of smart thinking and innovation to take advantage of, or counter them, he had been achieving results I found hard to believe.

    Before we left, we made up a list of things we needed to make, and do, to get similar results. Living at Berri, in the Riverland, I had never seriously fished for snapper, but was now keen to give it a go.

    my first snapper fishing results

    Wayne offered to take me out with him once to see the whole routine in action. What an eyeopener that was! He doesn't target ruggers, but any which come along prior to achieving his limit of big ones are bonuses. Having explained how to maximise results within the legal bag and boat limits, we scored 14 snapper before stopping.

    A week later I took my wife Deb, and our 2 younger sons, out in our own boat. Unfortunately our trip was cut short with Deb getting seasick but we still managed to catch 9 good snapper on our first attempt.

    Our second trip, 2 months later, we avoided the seasickness and enjoyed a simply unbelievable snapper fishing experience. We valued that next catch at $5000.

    my second snapper fishing experience

    I understand our testimonials will be accompanied by the catch photographs of my trip with Wayne and our first 2 trips without him. Words from me could not explain it any better than those photographs. I thank Wayne for sharing his expertise with us and have no hesitation recommending anyone else with aspirations of catching snapper to take advantage of his opportunity of a lifetime."

    Tony Yard



    "Absolutely amazing Wayne!

    I have to give it to you. You have truly been able to suss out how a fish thinks. There is no doubt that you have mastered the art of fishing like many only dream of doing. Of course there are a lot of external factors that need to be considered, such as tides, moon phase, time of year and the waters you choose to fish in, although I believe Wayne has managed to discredit some of those misconceptions also.

    Wayne Smith taught me to catch snapper

    I couldn't believe the success we had one night after following Wayne's method very closely. 4 hours of frenzied feeding and a boat full of huge fish. It was the most exciting fishing adventure I have ever had the privilege of being part of.

    Thank you Wayne for being so willing to help us live the dream. I hope you too will have as much success as we have using Wayne's unconventional methods. They work like nothing I have ever seen before. Happy fishing and learning from a master."

    Debbie Yard




    "I was in a tackle shop one day buying pilchards for my following day’s snapper attempt. I only classed myself as a mildly successful snapper fisherman but the photos of bag limits of monster snapper adorning the walls made me even wonder about that.

    As it turned out, all those catches were made by one person who happened to be in the store at the time. That was where I met Wayne Smith. Talking to him that afternoon changed the way I looked at fishing. Wayne adopts an analytical and calculating approach to fishing. He has blown all the old theories out of the water. After talking to him for a good hour I knew he was the real deal. I decided to sign up for the snapper fishing course he was commencing.

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    The course covered everything I needed to know to become a very successful angler. Wayne has taken all the hard work out of catching snapper. All his experience chasing snapper has been packaged into a simple and easy to understand course. Everything makes sense because there is a reason for everything he does. He has rationally solved all the unknowns.

    Since completing his course I have gone from being a man who attempted to catch snapper to a snapper magnet. Most of our fishing is for a five hour period in which we bag out more often than not. We average between 40-50 kg of snapper per trip. With the retail price of snapper at the moment I paid for my course the first time my friend and I went.

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    I can tell you that doing this course has given me the knowledge to go anywhere in a general area snapper exist and successfully catch them. I thoroughly recommend you do this course if you are serious about catching more snapper."

    John Williams



    "My brother and I first met Wayne at a popular York Peninsula boat ramp when we were returning from what I would consider an average fishing trip. It was our last trip out before the annual November snapper ban and although we had caught 2 snapper, we had spent considerable time trying. Having loaded our boat back on to the trailer Wayne approached us enquiring of our catch.

    We spoke for about an hour and a half about Wayne's coaching techniques, all the time wondering why Wayne seemed in no hurry to get out there the way most keen fisherman would be. I phoned Wayne the following week and arranged to attend his class whilst the ban was is place.

    I learnt to catch snapper here

    Our first trip out resulted in the best catch we had ever had with a total of 8 large fish between us in a short time and using half the fuel we would normally have expected.

    Since that day we have never looked back with bag limits a regular occurrence.

    I would encourage anyone to attend who has a great love of fishing and can assure you that the money was well spent. Wayne has certainly helped us to get the most out of our limited fishing time available."

    Many thanks,

    Craig & Tony


    snapper fishing with Wayne SmithFor further information, or to book your course, call Wayne Smith so you too can take control of your results


    Ph: (08) 82511317 or

    Mob: 04000 58880 or

    Wayne Smith snapper fishing coach Adelaide


    All photos added beyond this point will be more catches made by students:

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    checkout our lastest snapper catch


    snapper fishing with Wayne SmithFor further information, or to book your course, call Wayne Smith so you too can take control of your results


    Ph: (08) 82511317 or

    Mob: 04000 58880 or

    Wayne Smith snapper fishing coach Adelaide

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