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FISH IDENTIFICATION

Eastern Wirrah Cod (Acanthistius ocellatus)


Greenish yellow with small blue spots. Found in ledges and caves. Respond well to burley.

Red Morwong (Cheilodactylus fuscus)


Differs from Banded Morwong by softer scales and 2 horns above eyes. Found throughout NSW on rocky reefs from 1m to 30m.

Banded Morwong (Cheilodactylus spectabilis)


Found on exposed rocky headlands and coastal reefs. Good eating but long lived. Very heavy scales and no horns over eye like Red Morwong.

Blue Morwong (Nemadactylus douglasi)

Found in deep coastal waters from 100m to inshore bays. Often found along the edge of reef on the sand line but also on coastal reef. Good eating quality.


Bastard Trumpetor or "Tassie" (Latridopsis forsteri)

The Bastard Trumpeter lives in coastal waters down to depts of around 60 m.  It is most often observed swimming over sand near rocky reefs. Know from the NSW Central Coast south to Tasmania.

Silver Drummer (Kyphosus sydneyanus)

They are a bottom feeding fish congregating in schools around ocean rocks and protected reefs and thrive in turbulent white water washing rocky areas covered by cabbage weed and cunjevoi and take refuge in rock-strewn gutters and caves. Note the angled anal fin and forked tail. Specimen in picture was over 10kg.

Ludrick (Girella tricuspidata)

Often found in large schools in coastal waters, estuaries and bays. Good eating quality. Related to Rock Blackfish below.

Eastern Rock Blackfish (Girella elevata)

Sometimes called Black Drummer but squarer anal fin and truncate (square) tail. Found in ledges, caves and under white water. Not related to silver drummer.

Mullet spp

Many species found in NSW with Bully and Yellow Eyed the most common. Good eating quality. Often found in large coastal schools around April to June each year or in smaller numbers year round in estuaries.  

Australian Bonito (Sarda australis)

Fast swimming, schooling species that is occurs on coastal reefs and estuaries.

Tarwhine (Rhabdosargus sarba)

Looks a little like a deep-bodied bream with stripes. They are common on the New South Wales coast.

Yellow fin Bream (Acanthopagrus australis)  

A member of the family Sparidae. Sparid fishes have moderate-sized scales and strong spines in the first dorsal, anal and pelvic fins.

They have canine teeth at the front of the jaws followed by conical or flattened molar-like teeth at the back of the jaw. Coastal fish are silver, but those living in estuaries are darker.

Australian Snapper (Pagrus auratus)

Frequent southern Australian coastal waters from Queensland around to northern West Australia. They are found around offshore and inshore reefs, estuaries, harbors, bays, off rocks, break walls and beaches. Snapper are a bottom dweller and tend to hold and feed over very rough reef and in deep holes.

Largetooth Beardie (Lotella rhacina)

Sometimes known as a pink ling even though actually a rock cod and not a ling at all. Individuals can be yellow-grey to red-brown with white fin margins. It is usually seen in caves, in bays and coastal reefs, in Australia and New Zealand.

Blue Swimmer Crab (Portunus pelagicus)

Also known as the flower crab, blue crab, blue swimmer crab, blue manna crab or sand crab, is a large crab found in the intertidal estuaries of the Indian and Pacific Oceans (Asian coasts) and the Middle-Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The name "flower crab" is used in east Asian countries while the latter names are used in Australia. The crabs are widely distributed in eastern Africa, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Eastern Rock Lobster (Jasus verreauxi)

Inhabit the continental shelf along the east coast of Australia, from Tweed Heads in New South Wales, around Tasmania, through to Port MacDonnell in South Australia.  They have a green body and brownish-orange legs.  During winter they move in from deeper water into shallower waters and they hide in holes and crevices around rocky areas and reefs, preferring vegetative cover such as weed/kelp. Adults can grow to a maximum total length of 1 metre (including the antennas). The Eastern Rock Lobster is the largest spiny lobster in the world and can grow to over 15 kg and live up to 20 years.  

Mosaic Leatherjacket (Eubalichthys mosaicus)

Adults are blue to brownish-grey with yellowish-brown stripes and blotches. All the fins are blue-green. Juveniles are yellow to brown and patterned with wavy blue to grey lines and orange-bordered brown blotches. Also known as Deep Bodied Leatherjacket or Dinnerplate Leatherjacket.

Rough Leatherjacket (Scobinichthys granulatus)

Has a compressed body, an acutely pointed snout and a small mouth. It is covered with coarse scales that make the skin very rough to touch.

The colour of this species is variable from brown to greenish, grey or white. It usually has a dark blotch above the pectoral fin, three lines across the forehead and two dark bars on the "corners" of the caudal fin. There are usually other brown and blue markings. Juveniles often have a series of dark blotches along the side of the body.

Yellow-Finned Leatherjacket (Meuschenia trachylepis)

Is light brown to olive green in colour. Visibly rough and leathery textured scale-less skin. Lighter in colour on the belly. Convex tail fin. Three to four horizontal lines (when alive) run the length of the fish but are often broken up from fish to fish. Tail has four spines on each side.


Fan Bellied Leatherjacket (Monacanthus chinensis)

Inhabit the northern waters of Australia. They are common in coastal and estuarine waters attracted to areas of sheltered sea grass beds or protected reefs with heavy marine growth. Piers seem to attract these fish where they school in search of food. Some species prefer the deeper waters around offshore reefs and occasionally large coastal bays.

Sixspine Leatherjacket (Meuschenia freycineti)

Male Sixspine Leatherjackets are usually blue with yellow blotches. There are blue lines and dots on the head and below the dorsal and anal fins. Females are pale green, yellow or brown and usually have three to five broad brown stripes. The colour pattern can be variable. Fish across the distribution can look quite different. Both sexes have five to eight spines on the caudal peduncle, those of male fish are longer.

Black Reef Leatherjacket (Eubalichthys bucephalus)

The Black Reef Leatherjacket can be recognised by its total black body colour and white ring around the eyes.

Sand whiting (Sillago ciliata)

Also known as summer whiting, silver whiting and blue-nose whiting, inhabit the inshore waters of eastern Australia including coastal beaches, sand bars, bays, coastal lakes, estuaries and rivers as far as the tidal limits. They typically form large schools across sand banks near river mouths and in the surf zone. Sand whiting generally favour sandy or muddy sand substrates in shallow water to about 6 metres depth.

Eastern Sea Garfish, Hyporhamphus australis

Has a halfbeak, are a pale greenish blue colour on the back and upper sides, they have a broad, blue-edged silver band along the middle of the side and clear fins and have 3 narrow brown lines along the back above the silvery band.


Yellow-spotted Sawtail (Prionurus maculatus)

Small yellow dots over a blueish body, may have streaky, vertical yellow bands along the centre of the body from the pectoral fins to the tail, three hard spiny plates on each side of the tail base centred in black spots


Australian Sawtail (Prionurus microlepidotus)

Also known as common sawtail have a leathery skin that is silvery grey in colour, with 5-6 black spots near the caudal fin. They possess 1 or more sharp, bony plates on the caudal peduncle & along the mid-line of the body. Sawtail have quite a small mouth.


Dusky flathead (Platycephalus fuscus)

The largest of the many species of flathead found in Australia, and the most commonly caught. Dusky flathead have  been caught at sizes up to 15 kg and lengths up to 1.5 metres. Typically a fish of estuaries and estuarine lakes and coastal bays.


Black-saddle Goatfish (Parupeneus spilurus)

Also known as black-spot goatfish can be recognised by its colouration and pattern. It has two dark stripes along the sides of the body, and a large black spot on the upper caudal peduncle. Juveniles are more slender than adults. They have the same striped pattern but are more strongly tinged with yellow. The species is listed in many popular fish books as Parupeneus signatus. Upon death most fish tend to turn more red to pink.

Sergeant Baker (Hime purpurissatus)

Can be recognised by its long tapering body, blotched colouration and its behaviour. The species is commonly observed by divers as it perches on the substrate with its head raised.


Yellowtail Kingfish (Seriola lalandi)

An oceanic surface fish congregating over inshore reefs, around rocky headlands, deep water jetties and channel markers as well as offshore over ocean rocks, offshore reefs and around islands. They inhabit the coastal waters of Australia's southern shores from south Qld. to the mid-coast of W.A., including north Tas. Large numbers are found up and down the eastern coastline. They prefer turbulent water and tidal rips and have known to school up over sharp pinnacles of reef, around wharf pylons, bomboras and rocky headlands. They appear during the warmer months of summer and autumn and can be found lurking under schools of slimy mackerel in large bays and estuaries during autumn.


Longfin Pike (Dinolestes lewini)

Has an elongated , cylindrical body. It has a pointed snout, large eyes and a large mouth. The species is yellowish-brown above and silvery below.


Mulloway (Argyrosomus japonicus)

Also known as Jew Fish are common off the beach and in the estuaries of southern Australia from southern Qld to mid W.A. They can be found in tidal lakes, estuaries, rivers, bays, harbors and adjacent surf and ocean beaches as well as infrequently in deep offshore reefs. They prefer areas of good bait fish populations like tailor, mullet and whitebait. Juvenile mulloway sometimes referred to as soapies or school jewfish prefer the more saline river and estuary systems.