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  Gone Fishing  Fish File

Morwong - Blue


Cheilodactylus douglasii

The Blue Morwong is a reef dweller and is a very wary fish. It will inspect a bait thoroughly before striking. This is why the hooks have to be completely covered with bait, but ensure that the point is not snagged with a hard piece of flesh.This fish has a small hard mouth and likes to suck at a bait.

Most Morwong reach weights of at least 1.2kg and some occasionally grow much larger. The Blue Morwong or Queen Snapper is definitely a top-quality eating fish, and is actively sought by many southern anglers.

Drifting over a reef area is best, as the fish do not school but hunt for food on their own. When the fish takes the bait, strike hard to bed the hook firmly into the mouth, and be prepared for a fight.The Blue Morwong is a very powerful fighter and does not give up easily. They fight longer and harder than Snapper.

Morwong have thick lips (why they are sometimes known as rubberlip morwong). They are pale silvery blue and sometimes have a brownish hue.

Morwong inhabit continental shelf waters of south eastern Australia. They are also found in the waters of the north island of New Zealand.

Morwong feed mainly at night and their diet includes pilchards, cockles, prawns and squid.

Most Blue Morwong are caught from boats. Using tackle such as 10-15kg breaking strain line and a 3/0 - 6/0 is ideal for catching Morwong off South Australian waters. Though lighter line can be used, such as 8kg line, heavier lines are recommended, especially around reefs. Bust offs are renown to occur using lighter line, but definitely offer a challenging fight when a fish is hooked.

The colour of raw flesh is that of white to pale pink (creamy pink) and fat content is low to medium. The taste it offers when cooked is of a mild fishy flavour.

Legal Minimum Length

Current Limit: 38 cm  [Previous: No Restrictions]

Bag Limit

Current Bag Limit: 5 per person  [Previous: No Restrictions]
Current Boat Limit: 15 per boat  [Previous: No Restrictions]

Type of Tackle

Use main line between 10 to 15 kg. If fishing for the larger variety, use a 25 kg trace.

A rod around 1.8m is ideal for boat fishing.

Hook Selection

Chemically sharpened 4/0 hooks are perfect for Morwong. For the larger variety, 5/0 to 6/0 hooks may be necessary.

Baits Used

Prawn, tuna, slimy mackerel, flathead, mullet, squid, octopus, bonito, whole pilchard, fresh fish strips. Live baits include slimy mackerel, mullet.

Berley Mix

A berley mix of the diced pilchards, any fish offal and pellets, soaked in tuna oil works very well. If boat fishing in waters deeper than 12 metres, a berley bomb of the above concoction may help, or if the tide is too strong. Use a fine scaling bag with a brick it in to settle the berley on the bottom.

Rigs Used

Rig No. 1
Rig 1 incorporates a figure eight knot to hold the sinker, and several dropper loops to hold the pre-snelled 3/0 - 6/0 chemically sharpened hooks. Weight of the sinker is dependant on the tidal movements of the water you are fishing in. The trace should be heavier than the main line, 12 kg for small Morwong, and 25 kg for the larger variety. A mainline strength of 10 - 15 kg is sufficient.

If you intend on using 15 kg main line, this line has a greater cross sectional and surface area than a 10 kg line, so more weight would be required to keep the sinker in one spot on 15kg line, as compared to 10 kilo line. The thicker the line, the greater the surface area, more adverse effects from currents, hence, more weight required. Thinner line also allows you to spool more line onto your reel. So you need to find a balance between line thickness, weight used, and fishing tactics in drag usage.

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