by Gary Brown
Luderick are moderately a sedentary schooling fish that will move between and within estuaries and coastal lakes, with a more pronounced movement or migration occurring prior to spawning. The travelling seasons usually takes place along the NSW coastline in autumn and early winter and predominately moves in a northerly direction. In Australia the luderick ( Girella tricuspidate ) or more commonly known blackfish, nigger, darkie and black bream live only in the waters off eastern Australia and the north island of New Zealand. In Australia, they are present from Hervey Bay in Queensland, southwards to Victoria, northern, eastern and western Tasmania as far as Macquarie Harbour, and South Australia as far west as the north coast of Kangaroo Island. They tend to favour the estuarine, rocky reefs, rock platforms, mangroves, seagrass beds, embayment’s and other inshore coastal habitats.
Warren just loves to use his old wooden Alvery reel when fishing off the stones
Where to find Luderick in Australian Waters
Being mainly a vegetarian for much of the year luderick just love to hang around areas where there are weed beds, sea grasses, ribbon weed, cunje, nipper and worm beds green and brown cabbage and kelp. They can be targeted off the coastal rock ledges, break and retaining walls at the entrances to rivers that empty into the ocean or sea, break and retaining walls that are located in harbours, bays and estuaries, groynes, wharfs and jetties, bridge pylons, rock walls, over and adjacent to weed beds and rock ledges that are also found in harbours, bays and the estuaries. Luderick will also venture to close offshore islands that have shallow reefs and bomboras that have plenty of cunje, weed and cabbage growth.
Some of the places that I have to hike into to go chasing luderick means you need to take the gear with you
Tackle Guide for Luderick
When I am fishing off the ocean rocks for luderick my rod length is no shorter than 3.6 metres. The reel is spooled with five kilo monofilament. I find that the floats that I use in the estuaries for luderick are a much slimmer style, while the floats that I use off the rocks have a much fatter body and are much longer. When I am targeting luderick off the rocks and I have to use a bobby cork I find that the ones that are about 2cm in width and 3cm long will do the job.
Some anglers prefer to use threadline reels when targeting luderick off the rocks
Technique No 1.
I have found that if the water surface is a bit choppy when targeting luderick off the rocks I will weight my float so that the whole of the stem of the float above the cork is sticking out of the water. This will allow me to easily see the float as it drifts away from where I am stationed. I prefer to use small spit shot sinkers to weight the float, but remember to evenly set them apart and don’t crimp them so tight that it may cut the line. You could also colour the top part of the float in a very bright colour as this will help you see when the float goes down. You could also try using a bobby cork.
If you look closly at the floats you will see one higher than the other. The down has started
Technique No 2.
If I am going to fish for luderick at a place where there is no weed or cabbage I will go and collect it a day or so before at low tide. To keep the weed and cabbage in prime condition I will roll it up in dry newspaper and then put it in the bottom section of the fridge. I will then replace the wet newspaper each day with some dry newspaper and this will last for about seven days. If there is any left after this time I will freeze what is left and then use it next time in the berley.
Technique No 3.
Don’t try and put a lot of weed onto the hook. A few strands or even just one leaf of cabbage will be enough. If you put a large clump on the fish will feed on the edges of the clump and leave the hook untouched.
If using green weed it is best plaited onto the line above the hook, so that the end of the bait is down near the bottom of the hook. To do this try looping the weed around the line about 1cm up from the eye of the hook and then loosely wrap either side the opposite way around the shaft of the hook, nipping it off just below the bottom of the hook.
Technique No 4.
Luderick respond well to a steady stream of berley and one of the best berleys for luderick is white bread, chopped up green weed and cabbage. But you will need to remember to only use a small amount of berley otherwise you will feed the fish and they won’t take your bait. A handful of berley that is directed to where your float or bait is every five minutes should do.
Baits for Luderick
Many of you out there would think that the only bait to use when targeting luderick is either green weed or cabbage (ocean lettuce). The main baits that I use off the rocks for luderick are green or brown cabbage, green weed, cunjevoi, white bread and peeled prawns.
I can see three luderick holding positions in this photo. I to the left and 2 on the right. Just look for the white water
Green or brown cabbage is found between the low and high tide marks on the edge of low reef areas, sloping rocks boulders, channel markers and buoys and in rock pools. To pull it off the rocks all you need is your thumb and fore finger to hold the cabbage at the base where it is attached to the rock and gently twist the cabbage off.
Green and brown cabbage can be use off the rocks and in the esturay
The green weed found in the estuaries is usually fine and very long, which has a thread like appearance. This seaweed bait can be found on submerged estuarine rocks, breakwall, wharves, bridge pylons, submerged logs and also over shallow flats that have been left dry for extended periods. You could try looking for a stormwater drain that is near the rocks or estuary.
Cunjevoi is found between the low and high tide marks on the edge of low reef areas, sloping rocks boulders, channel markers and buoys and in rock pools. You will need to use a robust or heavy duty, short bladed knife to cut through the leather exterior of the cunjevoi to expose the red meat inside.
Drummer are a by-catch when chasing luderick off the rocks in my neck of the woods
Breakwalls are also a great place to target luderick
Beleive it or not. Not only were the luderick caught on the green cabbage, so were the tailor and bream
An example of a bobby cork and luderick rig
Now as the days get cooler why don’t you get out there and try getting amongst a few.