Home' Afloat : AFLOAT September 2015 Contents 44 AFLOAT.com.au September 2015
with David Lockwood
I’ve got no idea who invented the time-honoured tradition of
luderick fishing. I guess the rows of fine denticles in the fish’s
mouth helped them on their way, if not the fact you can see
luderick grazing around pylons. For the fish is herbivorous and
you need to find their preferred lunch of green weed to catch one.
For me, the education was ancestral. Just about every second
photo or catch report in the old fishing journals revealed a pile
of dead luderick. The fish was sustenance, especially during the
great depression. The cliff-dwelling homeless families at Tabbigai,
Kurnell, would have lived on the stuff. So, too, my family.
I pretty much grew-up on a diet of blackfish during school
holidays at our fibro shack on the NSW South Coast. The abundant
feasts spilled over to catching trips in our Sydney backyard and
the harbour. And as a kid catching ferries to school, you could
watch the old men fishing for luderick on their wooden crates.
Things remain little changed today. Each late winter and
spring, when many fish have lockjaw or swim north to escape
the winter, you can count on the luderick as your mainstay and
main ingredient. So it was on Sydney Harbour last month, in the
weeks leading up to the column, in fact, even the day and night
before smiting the keyboard.
I grabbed my little fella and we set off to collect bait. As ever,
the bait collecting was almost as big a part of the adventure as
the fishing. Long story short, we found plenty of green weed but
it was the 4-year-old who hit on the motherload a few boulders
We pulled the long filamentous greed weed from the rocks,
scraped a bit of shorter stuff mixed with sand for berley, and
headed home to rig. Next day, it was on.
A rocky point in Middle Harbour produced as it has done
since I was a kid. The tide was running in. We berleyed up and
baited up. The floats were cast and before long they shot down.
By early afternoon we had a half dozen luderick and had released
as many again.
Only one of these fish was a ‘bronzy’ with the thickset and
metallic flanks, the clean ocean-going fish with a good look and
lots of pull to it. The rest were local ‘blackies’ that were darker and
not yet ready to spawn
or run to sea. Still, they
made good tucker.
and boned, rolled in
breadcrumbs mixed with
grated lemon rind, finely
chopped parsley and
almond flakes, shallow-
fried in a splash of oil,
then finished off in a
blazing oven ever so
briefly, these were fish fit
for a king. Not overcooked
but hot, terrifically
succulent and just scrumptious.
We devoured about a kilo of the stuff for dinner, whereupon
the taste brought back fond family memories and reminded me
why I like tucking into luderick so much. It’s in my blood and
each and every mouthful took me back to fishing trips with my
dad and past dinners and even breakfasts of the stuff.
Luderick are omnipresent in our estuaries and will remain on
the chew this month. Find your green weed around the foreshores,
around swimming baths, the corner of harbour beaches, where
the sand meets the rocks, especially where there is a freshwater
soak down a rockface, and not too much direct sun.
Suspend the bait on a number 8 hook below a carefully
weighted float, say 2.5-3 metres down, using a long whippy rod
to absorb the shock of setting the hooks and the fish’s fight. It’s
fun fishing that’s for sure. Yet, yet some things have changed.
While I will admit to having zero experience with the latest
fad among fly fishers, they are clearly catching plenty of luderick
on green-weed imitation flies. You can buy these over the counter
at top tackle shops. Berley up and cast flies into the bite. That’s
pretty cool fishing if you ask me.
Meantime, September heralds improving weather for offshore
fishing. Look over the Shelf for school-run yellowfin tuna, head
to the 120m reefs to jig big kingfish, and try your hand at the
snapper, trevally and flathead on the 40-60m grounds.
Aussie salmon schools should be between The Heads and
in the estuary mouths. Broken Bay is a particular hot spot in
September, when kingfish, bonito and tailor can get in on the
act. The jewfish will start moving in the bays and rivers, while the
ever-reliable luderick are always willing and delightfully filling. h
Fly fishers are using weed imitations to catch luderick. You can buy
them over the counter.
LUDERICK ON THE CHEW
First find your green weed then catch
your luderick. This stash was on
Links Archive AFLOAT August 2015 AFLOAT October 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page