Snapper Snatchers: fishing made easy!
  |  First Published: December 2007

In the last few months, Snapper Snatchers from Black Magic have been grabbing their fair share of attention from Victorian anglers. I thought it was about time VFM took the opportunity to explain what all the fuss is about.

What are they?

In essence, Snapper Snatchers are pre-tied fishing rigs – but they are no ordinary rigs. They are made in New Zealand and come in a range of sizes and colours, but they all incorporate two chemically-sharpened Black Magic KL circle-style hooks, tied on tough trace material in a paternoster arrangement. The key to the success of the rigs is the fish attracting material attached to the hooks. Each hook is accompanied by flashy dressing, much like a saltwater fly. There is also a luminous bead above each hook, the glow of which can be intensified by shining a torch or strong light on them (just like a luminous trout fly). Even though it is recommended that Snapper Snatchers be used in conjunction with bait, the ‘fly like’ appearance of the hooks mean that you will always have a ‘bait’ in the water, no matter what.

What are they used for?

I first became aware of Snapper Snatchers when I was shown how to use them as a surf fishing rig. This is one of the most novel uses for Snapper Snatchers in Victorian waters. For starters, it’s just so easy. Tie the swivel at one end of the Snapper Snatcher to your main line, and attach a star sinker to the other. Bingo! You’re ready to fish!

More than that though, they’re very, very effective in the surf. I have caught a number of Australian salmon from the surf on Snapper Snatchers, and I know that anglers who use them more regularly also catch other species like gummy sharks, tailor and mulloway. Anyone who watches the Adventure Bound television series on Channel 31 will have recently seen VFM contributor Scott Gray catch two mulloway in consecutive casts on Snapper Snatchers from the surf in South Australia. It’s worth noting that on either side of Scott at that time were other anglers fishing livebaits – which the mulloway swam right past in order to get to the Snapper Snatchers.

It’s a big call I know, but I have seen enough of the effectiveness of Snapper Snatchers that I won’t be fishing in the surf with anything else until someone shows me a better way!

Snapper Snatchers can also be used with great effect by anglers fishing from boats. I have caught both snapper and school sharks on Snapper Snatchers – but the list of potential target species is virtually endless. Basically, any time you are fishing with bait you could increase your success rates by using Snapper Snatchers instead of just bare hooks.

Snapper Snatchers are best suited to fishing waters where there is a bit of current to wash the rigs around, but this season they are already proving a huge hit with Port Phillip Bay snapper, even though tidal flow in the bay is minimal. If you’re fishing for reds with your maximum four rods, it’s worth making sure at least some of them are rigged with a Snapper Snatcher for a bit of variety.

Sweetening them up

No matter whether you’re fishing from the shore or a boat, it is best to ‘sweeten’ your Snapper Snatcher hooks with a small piece of bait. A strip of squid is ideal, especially in the surf. Pass the hook through the squid strip just once, towards one end of the strip, just as you would for normal circle hooks.

Small fish fillets or pieces of cut up baitfish can also be used with Snapper Snatchers. This season, stacks of Port Phillip Bay snapper have been caught by anglers fishing with half a scad or silver whiting on each hook. If using soft baits such as pilchard pieces, the bait can, if necessary, be secured to the hooks with Baitmate. When baiting up, it is essential to ensure the gape of the hook is not obscured with too much bait and the hook point is well clear of the bait.

How to fish with them

Once you have your Snapper Snatcher rigged, baited and in the water, the next crucial step is to do nothing! The KL hooks, like circle hooks, are designed to hook the fish in the corner of the mouth as it takes the bait and moves away. Striking at bites will only pull the hooks from the fish’s mouth, so it is imperative not to strike.

If holding the rod while surf fishing, don’t start fighting the fish until you’re sure the fish is well hooked. If boat fishing, put the rod in a rod holder, low to the water, then sit back and wait for the fish to hook themselves. Don’t even touch the rod until there is a strong, sustained bend in the rod and/or line is pouring from the reel. It’s a hard habit to break, but it’s important.

This season it has become apparent that a great way to fish for snapper in Port Phillip Bay is to lower your Snapper Snatcher rig directly to the bottom, beneath the boat. Presumably the rocking of the boat gives the rigs some up and down action, which attracts the fish.

It doesn’t matter whether you use your Snapper Snatchers in conjunction with a braid or mono mainline. You will get excellent hook up rates with both.

What size?

When fishing for salmon in the surf or snapper in the bays, Snapper Snatchers with 5/0 KL hooks are about right. If you are specifically targeting gummy sharks or mulloway, go up to 8/0 hooks.

All Snapper Snatchers come supplied with piece foam for storing your Snapper Snatcher. It’s a good idea to use it too, so it doesn’t tangle with everything else in your kit.

How to get some

Snapper Snatchers are readily available from most tackle shops. If you’re looking to add some versatility and variety to your fishing arsenal, check them out. I’m confident they’ll help you catch more fish.

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