Reel Deal: Rare bluefish caught off South Coast

Northern monster: Ronny Cupitt with his big barra from a trip to King Ash Bay in the Northern Territory.

Northern monster: Ronny Cupitt with his big barra from a trip to King Ash Bay in the Northern Territory.

Keen fisho Glen Sherriff was drummer fishing at a favourite South Coast rock ledge recently when he hooked up on a hard-fighting fish that flashed blue in the wash.

Thinking he'd hooked a small groper, Glen was surprised to see that the mystery fish was in fact shaped like a drummer and closer inspection revealed a definite bluish tint with a profusion of small yellow spots, indicating he'd caught a bluefish (Girella cyanea), a close relative of black drummer and luderick.

This is a pretty special catch for Glen, as bluefish are rare in NSW coastal waters.

DPI/Fisheries research reveals these pretty fish prefer to live around offshore islands in depths from 5m-30m and they can grow to a maximum size of 76cm. They are known to be long lived and a 52cm bluefish can be up to 40 years old.

At 34cm, Glenn's fish was likely to be around 20 years of age and although rare on the NSW coast, bluefish are common in the waters of Lord Howe Island, where a bag limit of 5 fish per person applies.

After a quick couple of pics, he carefully released his South Coast bluefish to hopefully grow and produce lots of little bluefish.

Bluefish are a Protected Species and taking or possessing bluefish from NSW waters, other than the waters of the Lord Howe Island Marine Park, is an offence, and heavy penalties apply.

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Shellharbour Game Fishing Club wishes to remind all affiliated anglers of their Mako Master tournament to be held next weekend, August 19-20.

It will be based out of the Shellharbour ramp precinct.