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Best Lures For Pink Snapper: The Inshore and Offshore Guide

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Pink Snapper (Chrysophrys auratus), or pinkies as they are also known, are tasty fish and well worth targeting. It is surprising how big a fish you can catch on a relatively light tackle. A few hard baits perform well, but the soft plastic baits can outfish them at times. So what are the best lures for Pink Snapper?

Pink snapper is part of the bream family and not the snapper family. They live for over 40 years and have a diet of crustaceans, small fish, algae, mollusks, and worms. They can grow up to a meter long and can weigh over 10kg. 

If the “all clear” is granted to target the pink snapper, try using these five lures that will have you actively pulling big pinkies out.

Different techniques like “drop shot” and “jerking” yield different results. It’s best to be rigged up for more than one technique to maximize on opportunity, conditions, and location. Keep reading to learn what the top 5 best lures for Pink Snapper are.

Top 5 Best Lures for Pink Snapper

1. Zman Scented Jerk ShadZ Bait

This salt-impregnated 4″ or 5″ split tail lure is very lifelike and has the erratic movement that baitfish have.

It is incredibly effective when combined with their Zman HeadlockZ HD Jigheads. The soft lure is 10 times stronger than other soft plastics with a 100% natural Pro-Cure Mullet Super Gel scent.

The Zman HeadlockZ HD Jig Heads are designed to pair with the ElazTech plastics that the Jerk ShadZ Bait is made of. The jig heads are made with tough heavy-duty Mustad UltraPoint hooks. This means the durable plastics and strong jigheads can take a bit of abuse while catching pink snapper on the bottom of reefs and rocks. These also are a great choice for Mangrove Snapper and Mutton Snapper.

2. Actume VIB Fishing Lure

This little gem may be small, but it is absolutely deadly. This is a very tough and reliable weapon when targeting pink snapper in estuaries. Some estuaries are deeper than others, and the two tow points mean you can adjust this lure for the depth and current.

It is only 4.5cm long and weighs 12g. When paired with some ANGRYFISH 8 strand braided line, you can cast it a long distance. You can feel the action the moment a fish strikes. It is so direct, and the fight feels more intense than a traditional line.

3. Berkley PowerBait Swim Shad 4” Bait 

This is a fantastic lifelike effective snapper catcher. It comes pre-rigged and tuned straight from the factory. The active paddle tail disturbs the water with a powerful swimming action irresistible to predators like pink snapper.

The holographic foil insert reflects natural light and will draw the attention of any fish this lure passes. The Power Bait Technology has been developed to release more scent when bitten. This means the fish holds on longer to the bait after striking it.

At 4″ inches and 16 oz, this shad has a good weight to cast a decent distance. Let it sink, and before it hits bottom, you’ve got one. 

4. Storm WildEye Golden Mullet

Once again, this is another shad-type lure. But, this one resembles a golden mullet.

It has a lifelike swimming action with plastics that are tough and soft. The weights on the inside of the lure are balanced to give the bait the best possible swim action. This makes the lure a good weight to be able to give it a proper cast.

Pre-rigged with VMC needle point hooks, a holographic foil finish, and a crazy 3D WildEyes stare. Its tail is salt impregnated and kicks side to side with ferocity. With that golden shine and stare, a pink snapper could not resist.

5. Bass Assassin Saltwater Sea Shad

Bass Assassin is a reliable lure with a bright red back and golden belly. The yellow paddle tail vigorously flickers the luminous tail to catch not only the eye but the whole fish. It is versatile and can be used with weighted hooks or lead head jigs.

The golden-red colors seem to be more effective than the other colors of this range. There are 44 different colors and are effective for almost all species that hunt. 

The upper 2/3 of this soft lure glows, and you can use it for fluke fishing. Anglers can use it effectively with a 1/8oz jig head and a 1/4oz on calm, still conditions.

There are 10 in a pack, and you have to bait up a new one after every strike, and there are many strikes. These also work well for Cubera Snapper.

How to Fish for Pink Snapper 

To be able to fish for pink snapper, you will have to be in Australasia. The fish can be found in this area alone and is also referred to as the Australasian Snapper. 

You can go the fishy route of baiting up with pilchard, squid, or slimy mackerel, or even live bait. Or you can use some weighted jig heads and plastic worms, spoons, or scented jerk bait. 

Get on a fully rigged fishing boat, go to the closest reef, and drop a line down with at least one of the recommended lures. Pull and drop the lure a few times on the bottom, and you should have action at the business end instantly.

The ‘shad bait’ type pre-rigged set-up is excellent for beginners and pros alike. This gives you only a few moments before your line tightens up. Fish that prey on other fish can’t resist these lures’ lifelike swimming actions, whether with paddle baits or scented plastics. 

The other way is fishing for snapper inshore in the mouth of an estuary. Try a colorful spoon and cast it into the estuary mouth. Retrieve it slowly, but not too slow, as to prevent it from hitting the bottom. Give it a few tries, and you might just be pleasantly surprised. 

Tips and Tricks to Catch Pink Snapper 

Colorful fishing lures

Here are a few tips and tricks on how to catch that big pink snapper: 

When using a drop shot rig to catch pinkies, try to get the bait to the bottom. 8 out of 10 times, the fish strikes on the way down, so be ready to real before you are ready to jig.

Worms and small fish plastics seem to be very effective, and you do not need an 8″ inch hard lure to catch a meter-long pink snapper.

Once the bait is on the bottom, one should try to master the rig’s up-down movements so as not to get caught up in the reef or rocks. If the current is not strong, you can just leave the bait on the bottom and wait for the fish to pick it up.

Anglers can catch some of the bigger fish by venturing in shallower waters or using an inshore kayak.

If the tide is coming in, try to fish inside the estuary’s mouth. When the tide is going the opposite way, try to fish on the mouth’s outer side where it meets the ocean.

What Depth Do You Catch Pink Snapper at? 

The pink snapper is a demersal species. This means that they are bottom-dwelling fish. They live on reefs and around rocky areas up to 200m deep. They migrate in schools between reefs and rocks, with larger fish going into estuaries and harbors.

These bottom-dwelling fish are used as an indicator species in environments around reefs and shallows. This means its stock status is used to establish other bottom-feeding fish’ health and status in that environment. It’s always best to check the local warnings and restrictions before trying to hook and cook one of these fish.

Depending on where you are catching will determine what lure, type of fishing rod, and rig you will need to use.

What Does Pink Snapper Taste Like? 

Pink snapper is a sought-after tasty fish. Very mild to sweet in flavor with firm, slightly pink-tinted meat. It has a delicious taste and is therefore often overfished. 

It is also a very versatile fish when it comes to preparing it. It can be cooked whole, filleted, broiled, boiled, or grilled. The result is absolutely delicious – a lot like how striped bass tastes.

Top Tip: The best way to prepare it is more simple than you might expect. Simply scale and clean the fish. Cut out the delicate, beautiful pink fillets and take off the skin.

Depending on the size, try to cut the fillet into 4″ inch pieces.

Heat a cast-iron skillet and a knob of butter and sear. Turn after 6 min and add some parsley and garlic. Cook for another 6 min. Take it off the heat. Give a lemon a squeeze and crush some pepper over it and enjoy. You will not be disappointed. 

It is praised in their culinary kitchen as a raw ‘sashimi’ and ‘sushi‘ variant in Japan.


Fishing lures

The Pink Snapper is a sought-after target species that are good fun to catch and great fun to eat. Found around all of New Zealand’s coast and around the southern sides of Australia. It is also found in the northern hemisphere coastal waters of China, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Japan.

It is an indicator species that reflect the health and numbers of other fish in an environment through its stock numbers. This means they are often under restriction and should be checked for their conservation status.

Different types of lures are used in different conditions, but often the soft plastics out catch the harder lures.

The Pink Snapper is a bottom dweller. However, bigger fish have been seen and caught in estuaries and harbors, where the harder lures were more effective.

So if you are around the coast of Australia, try out these lures to feel that delicious Pink Snapper tightening your line. We hope you enjoyed this article on the best lures for Pink Snapper.

Happy Hunting!


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