Cod, Estuary

(Ephinephelus cololdes)

Commonly referred to as greasy Cod!

Estuary cod are a darkly coloured cod species with mottled markings and a large mouth full of tiny, sharp teeth designed for grasping and swallowing whole, live prey items such as mud crabs and fish. They grow to large sizes and are a formidable opponent on the right tackle although most are generally encountered whilst targeting more desired estuary species such as Barramundi and Mangrove jack.

Distribution

Estuary cod can be located throughout W.A. from as far south as Shark Bay and north to the magnificent Kimberley region in water depths ranging from 2 – 100 meters. They are also commonly encountered throughout the state of Queensland up into the northern territory.

Growth

Estuary cod are like most cod species very slow growing reaching a maximum length of around 120cm and weighing as much as 30kg. Most estuary cod encountered here around Australia average around  6 – 10kg in weight.

Habitat

Estuary cod inhabit warm, inshore ,coastal waters with large areas of shallow reef and mangrove systems. They prefer areas with abundant food sources and ample cover and shelter such as rock bars, wharfs, mangroves and reef systems.

Identification

Estuary cod are typically cod shaped with brown, white and grey to dark brown and black blotches covering its body. Small red/brown spots are also visible throughout. They have large paddle shaped tails and a large, bucket shaped mouth full of tiny, sharp teeth designed for clasping and gulping down whole, large prey items such as mud crabs etc.

Taste rating

  • Seventy Taste Rating
    70%

Estuary cod are also referred to as greasy cod and are considered to be an acquired taste!

Sport rating

  • Seventy Sport Rating
    70%

Estuary cod are a formidable opponent when encountered around heavy structure!

Tackle requirements

Medium to heavy bottom fishing combos spooled with 30 – 50lb braided, nylon or gel spun  lines are required for landing large cod. Smaller specimens are easily managed on lighter spin and bait cast combos spooled with 20 – 30lb lines and are generally encountered whilst trolling deep diving lures for Barramundi etc. Leaders are always necessary for stretch and abrasion when fishing with braided and gel spun lines with one to two rod lengths of  60 – 100lb fluoro carbon proving ideal for most cod angling situations.

Recommended baits, lures and rigs

Most live and dead baits such as squid and fish are ideal for targeting larger specimens of estuary cod with hard bodied, bibbed lures and soft plastics designed for Barramundi also accounting for their fair share of the species in shallower estuary environments.

Handy hints and tips

Always use a set of lip grips to help land these beautiful fish as placing your bare hands and fingers into their sharp, trap like gills and jaws is seriously not recommended!

Preferred fishing times and tides

Estuary cod can be encountered during most stages of the tide using a wide variety of fishing techniques. They are more often than not landed whilst fishing for more desirable species such as mangrove jack and Barramundi.

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