Product Guide

Snapper Snatchers®

How to fish

This article was written by Black Magic Brand Ambassador Dan Govier. Based in beautiful Nelson at the top of the South Island (NZ), Dan is an experienced saltwater angler who loves to spend time out on the water with his wife and daughter.

Whenever I go fishing, I always have a selection of Snapper Snatcher® flasher rigs in my tackle bag ready to go. These rigs would have to be the most successful and reliable rig to fish with on the market, and my favourite go-to rig which has produced many big snapper over the years. They are hand tied here in New Zealand to ensure the highest quality of rig is produced, and as a result they don’t let you down through faulty knots or hooks, and the fish just love them!

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Don’t let the name fool you, it doesn’t mean they only catch snapper. I’ve caught snapper, groper, kingfish, kahawai, blue cod, gurnard, john dory to name a few on Snapper Snatchers®. There are varying hook sizes in both circle hooks and J hooks, and so many different colour options for the you to choose from depending on what species of fish you’re intending to target.

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Having a pre-made rig ready to go in your tackle bag is a huge advantage when you’re out on the water. There are many different reasons that limit your time on the water these days such as work and family commitments, weather, fuel costs etc., so when you do get out on the water you want to maximise your time fishing (and not making rigs). The Snatchers® let you do that, and you will get some amazing results from using these rigs as well.

Many different people fish with me on my boat, and they often ask what gear they need to bring along.  I always tell them to get some Snatchers® if they want to catch some fish.  Those that listen to me have great results, but those that get blindsided by the specials bin on the counter with four flasher rigs for $20 do not.  It’s happened many times and they can be fishing right beside me with an inferior rig and the fish just don’t want to touch their line. They often get very frustrated, and at that point wish they had spent a little more money to buy quality – it’s like anything, you get what you pay for.

Having heavy mainline on the traces is a big advantage. Black Magic use 80lb Tough Trace for the 5/0 and 6/0 rigs, and this provides more abrasion resistance against the teeth of the snapper, as well as sharks and barracouta if you are unfortunate enough to catch some of those. It’s also helpful when you get two good fish on the trace, and they are fighting against each other. When you use the 8/0 rigs, the breaking strain of the trace increases to 100lb, so built for the serious fish.

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The advantage with using Snatchers® is that you can fish them just about everywhere. They’re just as successful in shallow water as they are in deeper water, and likewise over rocky reefs or out on the sand, straight below the boat or cast out the back of the boat.  Where to fish all depends on your fishing location and what the tide is doing on the day. I personally like to fish where there is good current, especially on the edge of a reef, but I’ve also had great success with them out in the middle of the sand or mud habitats.

They also fish very well at night, and if you give them a charge of light from your boat lights, or even better still a Black Magic UV torch, these rigs will stand out down on the seabed.  UV materials are embedded within the flasher material which is complimented by the soft lumo bead and this certainly provides an advantage over other rigs in deeper water.

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When I unpackage the rigs and take the hooks from the foam, the first thing I do is tie a double loop knot on the end of the rig for the sinker. This allows you to put the sinkers on and take off easily, whether it is to change weight of sinker, or travelling between destinations and saves having to cut sinkers off and retie them, where each time you end up shortening your trace. You don’t want to travel long distances with a sinker still attached to your rig and wrapped around reel as the sinker can swing and damage your reel or rod.

There’s a 15kg Black Magic barrel swivel at the top of each rig, and I tie my mainline directly to this. I only fish with braid, and I will tie a double at the end of my braid, at least one metre long, and this provides a stronger knot as well as further abrasion resistance from larger fish should their tail touch the mainline, or if a barracouta goes for your swivel on the way down.

Although I have caught fish without bait on these rigs, it’s certainly advantageous to use bait.  Pilchard, squid, piper and any freshly caught bait (i.e. kahawai, barracouta, mackerel) is my preference when using these rigs. You only need to put the hook through the bait once, and you want to keep the point and barb nice and exposed (not buried in the bait) and also ensure there are no scales left on the point of the hook – especially when using kahawai. My personal favourite for these rigs is a cube of pilchard. This particular combination has accounted for many good snapper over the years and why change a winning combination.

When you are travelling, or even storing the rod at home, I have found the best way to do this is take your sinker off and put the sinker loop around the handle of the reel. With the hooks, hook them inside of each other and wind the trace tight.  This keeps the hooks from catching on anything they shouldn’t, or damaging the inserts of your guides, or if left for a while, causing rust stains on your guides. The hooks used on Snatcher® rigs have a black or red coating, which provides an improved level of rust resistance, but you still need to wash the salt water off your hooks prior to storing them. This ensures a long life and prevents the tips going blunt over time.

When fishing the Snatchers® with recurve hooks, you need to avoid the temptation to strike the rod whenever you get a bite. This will often result in pulling the hook out of the fish’s mouth before it has the opportunity to hook in well. The best thing to do to maximise your success when using these rigs is to avoid striking when you first feel a bite. It can be very hard to resist, but as the fish continues to bite, slowly lift the rod up.  This will then roll the recurve hook into the corner of the fish’s mouth and provide the best chance of hooking up solid. Once the hook is in, you can then give it a good strike to really drive the hook home.

I have also found longer flexible rods fish much better with the recurve hooks and have better success rates, especially when chasing snapper in the shallower water. The longer rods absorb a lot of the weight of the fish up and also provide a bit more give should the fish take a quick run as it tries to escape.

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A quick rig walk through with Scott from Fishing & Adventure.
A quick rig walk through with Scott from Fishing & Adventure.

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