Common Name: Eastern Australian Salmon
Scientific Name: Arripis trutta
Maximum Size: 75cm
NSW Record: 7.860kg
Range: QLD, NSW, VIC, TAS.
Eastern Australian Salmon schools can be found along headlands and in bays, ranging in depth from 2-20m. The size of the schools can range from a few dozen fish to many thousands.
This species has a distinct green coloured back and dark tail, with individuals in good condition having yellow pectoral fins. Confusing species are Tailor, which are generally smaller (in NSW) and have a rounder head. Western Australian Salmon occasionally swim up the east coast but a difficult to tell apart from their local cousin unless the gillrakers are counted.
The fish mature at around 40cm in length and 4 years of age, spawning in coastal water during summer. The eggs and larvae drift south to Victoria and Tasmania before migrating north to complete the cycle. The sexes are separate.
To approach this species the best method is a slow dive, parallel to the school and waiting for the school to approach or cut across the diver. Commercial catches of this species range from 500 to 1000 tonnes per annum. The annual recreational catch is estimated at 150-200 tonnes.
Common Name: Mangrove Jack
Scientific Name: Lutjanus argentimaculatus
Maximum Size: 120cm
NSW Record: 11.68kg
Range: QLD, NSW, NT, WA.
The Mangrove Jack is often found in estuaries, particularly as a juvenile. Adult fish can be found on rocky and coral reefs, to depths of over 100m. Mangrove Jack will usually have a home cave within their territory, and a good cave system may hold multiple fish.
This species is generally of a greyish colour underwater, unless spotted in the shallows where the red colouration will show. The white-grey line underneath the eye is a prominent feature of smaller fish. Confusing species include the Moses Perch, which has a black spot on its side and the Black Cod (see protected species page) which inhabits similar habitat.
This species spawns in late spring to early summer and juveniles drift on the prevailing currents before settling in estuaries and on shallow rocky reefs.
The Mangrove Jack will respond to burley, but the main challenge is locating the fish in the first place. Looking for good cave systems close by to baitfish and near the sandline seems to be the best approach.
Common Name: Black Cod
Scientific Name: Epinephelus daemelii
Maximum Size: 120cm
NSW Record: 81.00kg (before it became a protected species)
Range: QLD, NSW, VIC.
The Black Cod is found in rocky and coral reef habitat ranging in depth from inter-tidal rockpools to deep waters well offshore. Its colouring can range from greyish-white to pure black. The colour form pictured above seems to be the most common in shallower areas. The black spot on the caudal fin is a key identifying mark. It can be confused with the Wirrah which has a deeper body and blue spots on the head and body. Other similar Serranid species include the Purple Cod and the Maori Cod, both of which have similar cave dwelling habits, but quite different colouration.