Please select your home edition
Edition
GAC-Pindar-Sailing News 728 - 21.jpg

SA reefs - SA's bight delight!

by Shane Murton on 18 Aug 2013
A ripper brace of Port Lincoln, SA, redfish. There's many reefs around the state that hold swarms of these great looking, top eating fish. Shane Murton
I've always had a love affair with the SA reefs, not only due to the variety of fish they provide, but also the range of techniques that can be used to fish them, which generally makes for a fun day out regardless of what's on the fang.

If you like mixing up your approach on the reefs, and catching a fish which are about as tasty as they get on the dinner plate, then you should be checking out Bight red-fish. These bright orange, stocky profiled fish characterised by a mammoth mouth and razor-sharp plates around their head region, truly have a lot to offer.

Bight red-fish, long known as simply nannygai or red snapper in SA, are one of the shining lights on the state's reef scene if you want a piranha-like attitude from a fish that eats basically anything put in front of them, and has great looks and bone-white flesh to boot. These fish form the basis of the catch for many offshore day trip charters around the state, who focus on deeper reefs. This said, they're more than in range for a lot of boats, and even land-based fishos, and can be caught at a variety of depths from a few metres to well over 100m.


You probably haven't experienced Bight red-fish chaos to its extreme until you've hit a pit of the true giants of several kilos or so. At this size they get a lot of character around the face region and are just impressive things to look at (that's even before you go to eat them!). SA is known for having some of the biggest examples in the country with the reefs off Yorke Peninsula, KI, and those on the west coast holding some true monsters. Even though they don't shred braid from a reel you can't help but be impressed by these creatures when they're at the upper end of their size range.

Commonly Bight red-fish like more prominent reef systems with sharp ledges and quite uneven terrain, and they can form large schools at times. On smaller reefs you could be targeting pockets of fish rather than obvious masses that light up your sounder. For me the real entertainment is when you have swarms of them below and can lower down octopus jigs, flasher rigs, plastics, or use your two hook paternoster rig. Top sport when you're getting hammered within seconds of touching the bottom! When you're into a school you can also downgrade tackle to a lighter thread line or overhead outfit and have a ball. These fish load your rod up amazing hard!


Once hooked there's a need to carefully play out your nanny to the surface under a constant fighting pressure, and make sure not to go too hard or give them any slack. They love to open up their mouth when they're coming to the surface and this creates a lot of drag and a high chance of hooks getting pulled out by anglers. Besides a few bony structures their mouths are also thinly fleshed and hooks can easily work a hole in this tissue and come free. Dropping them mid water is a common occurrence, especially on the really big ones as there's a temptation to get stuck into them and muscle them up. Gentle rod work, circle hooks and a nice soft actioned rod can help prevent fish loss.


In SA their legal length is 30cm (tip of snout to tip of tail), with a personal limit of 10 and a boat limit of 30. Seriously this is a lot of fish, especially given they're a 'best when fresh' species, and the flesh can go quite soft and fall apart when frozen for any significant length of time. Furthermore they should be placed straight onto ice when caught and not buried under any larger fish. Their meat can err on the soft side and you don't want to crush them.


Bight red fish are relatively slow growing like a lot of deep reef fish, and it is imperative to take only what you need from the reefs, and don't upgrade fish in overly deep water by throwing back small yet legal ones. This is effectively leaving a trail of bodies behind as many of these fish won't survive the associated trauma. Sensible fishermen manage the reefs they fish and leave a few for next time. With such a great bunch of traits wrapped up in an orange package, the next time you're working the reefs be sure take a spread of lures and a lighter rod, and play around with these ever-hungry delicacies!

Barz Optics - FloatersGAC Pindar Sailing NewsHella Marine - July 2016

Related Articles

Fisherman get suspended sentence for jumping detention in risky vessel
Friday 21st April, Stephen Trust, Director of Trust Trawlers Ltd of Brixham, was given a six-month suspended sentence Today, Friday 21st April, Stephen Trust, Director of Trust Trawlers Ltd of Brixham, was given a six-month suspended sentence and fined a total of £20,000 after being prosecuted by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for operating their fishing vessel in an unsafe manner and sailing in contravention of a detention notice.
Posted on 22 Apr
Flares and distress signals
Visual Distress Signals are part of your boat's safety equipment. Check them before you leave harbor for condition Visual Distress Signals (V.D.S.) are part of your boat's safety equipment. Check them before you leave harbor for condition and if they have an expiration date, be sure they are current. Their intended purpose is to summon help should the need arise and should be displayed only when immediate or potential danger exists. Visual distress signals can only be effective when someone can see them.
Posted on 21 Apr
Co-ordinated flows in three rivers a boost for native fish
Co-ordination of environmental flows in three rivers used to distribute Golden Perch, Silver Perch and other native fish The co-ordination of environmental flows in three rivers has been used to distribute Golden Perch (Macquaria ambigua), Silver Perch (Bidyanus bidyanus) and other native fish across river networks throughout parts of the southern Murray-Darling Basin.
Posted on 19 Apr
TowBoatUS takes Bassmaster Classic Champion's Boat to the Finish Line
When Jordan Lee, the winner of the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic needed a hand, TowBoatUS was there. When Jordan Lee, the winner of the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods needed a hand, TowBoatUS was there. On Sunday, Lee was crowned the winner of “the world championship of fishing,” but not before he had to ask the 24-hour on water assistance service, TowBoatUS Lake Conroe, for help in getting his disabled boat to the final weigh-in on time.
Posted on 16 Apr
New water sport 'Skarping' Peoria Carp Hunters
Nate and Zac have created a new sport. We fused basketball, fishing, and watersports. Nate and Zac have created a new sport. We fused basketball, fishing, and watersports. Skarping is an entirely new way to have unbelievable fun behind a boat. There was a lot of 'backyard ingenuity' used to come up with more effective ways to battle these carp.
Posted on 16 Apr
Good Samaritan rescues five from raft as boat burns and sinks
Here's a you-are-there video of charter boat captain rescuing five people floating in raft as their fishing boat burns Here's a you-are-there video of a charter boat captain rescuing five people floating in a raft as their 74-foot fishing boat burns and sinks in the Gulf of Mexico.
Posted on 16 Apr
Proposed law could jumpstart California’s rigs-to-reefs program
Offshore oil companies could be required to fund state-mandated rigs-to-reefs program according to legislative proposal Offshore oil companies could be required to fund a state-mandated rigs-to-reefs program, according to a legislative proposal introduced by State Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys).
Posted on 15 Apr
Coast Guard urges boating safety common sense
Coast Guard reminds mariners that as the air temperature is warming the water temperatures are still dangerously cold The Coast Guard is reminding mariners Friday that as the air temperature is warming the water temperatures are still dangerously cold. With the rise in air temperature, the number of boaters, paddle craft users, and water enthusiasts taking to water activities also rises.
Posted on 15 Apr
Operation Cord targets fish taken for illegal sale
Five retail outlets are investigated after Fisheries Victoria operation targeting the sale of recreationally caught fish Five retail outlets are being investigated after a Fisheries Victoria operation targeting the sale of recreationally caught fish was recently undertaken.
Posted on 13 Apr
Hazelwood Barra - An economic boon for valley
Victoria’s first ever Barramundi fishery has shown fishery made significant economic impact on Latrobe Valley’s economy A recent report on Victoria’s first ever Barramundi fishery at the Hazelwood pondage has shown the fishery has made a significant economic impact on Latrobe Valley’s economy.
Posted on 12 Apr