For Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan, queen snapper are an awesome species to target for a host of reasons. Scott takes a closer look at queen snapper, and their eye-catching blue and yellow striped colouration, in this week’s edition of Scott’s Species.
Species: Queen snapper, Nemadactylus valenciennesi
Eating: 4 stars
ID: Prominent lips, blue colouration with yellow strips around the eye, yellow on tail.
Also known as southern blue morwong, queen snapper are one of the most striking fish in the ocean, with their piercing blue and yellow colours when they are first pulled out of the water.
There is often debate among anglers about their eating qualities. Some believe they are a neighbour fish, while others rate them very highly.
No doubt correct handling is important, with the flesh best if the queenie is despatched immediately (preferably by iki jime), bled, gutted and put straight on ice.
I have eaten queen snapper and found it to be delicious.
They are a regular catch of boat, and sometimes rock, fishers from south of Jurien Bay.
Sometimes encountered in schools they can be found across a wide variety of depths and like broken ground, often being caught around the edge of reefs.
They can be encountered in water as shallow as 5m, but also be found out to 250m deep.
Queen snapper can grow to 1m in length and are regarded as a very good fighter. Although they grow up to 12kg, most fish will be taken at around half that weight.
They will take a variety of dead baits including shellfish, chunks of fish, squid, octopus and crabs.
They are also regularly caught on metal jigs and soft plastics and do release well if that is the angler’s preference.
Burleying is often a good way to attract any queen snapper in the area, especially in shallower water.
When bait fishing, they are usually caught on weighted rigs, such as paternosters, with sufficient weight to get the bait to the bottom.
Because of where they are usually encountered, solid tackle is required to subdue queen snapper.
And, once you’ve caught one, queen snapper are extremely photogenic with their eye-catching colours.