Cod, Grey Banded

(Epinephelus ergastularius)

Commonly referred to as Grey bands or Bar cod!

The grey banded cod like most ultra deep water demersal species is an exceptionally good eating fish that is sort after by many of the angling community. They have proven themselves to be a rather difficult species to target over the years with many being accidentally caught whilst fishing for other deep water demersal species such as the Western Australian Dhu fish. Etc. The grey banded cod is an elusive species that is highly rated on most anglers hit lists.

Distribution

Grey banded cod can be located throughout W.A from as far south as Esperance up to point Sampson and are generally encountered in deep waters of between 100 – 300 meters. They are also encountered from N.S.W to southern Queensland in the east where they are often referred to as bar cod.

Growth

Although little is known about the growth habits of the grey banded cod here in Australia it is believed to be a slow growing species with a total maximum length of around 1.6 meters.

Habitat

Grey banded cod inhabit deep underwater ledges, canyons and wrecks located in water depths ranging from 100 – 300 meters.
Trenches and steep under water drop offs like the continental shelf are all likely to hold grey bands along with other ultra deep water demersal species.

Identification

Grey banded cod are a typical cod shape with the juveniles showing seven light coloured bars or bands running vertically down the body. These bands fade with maturity leaving a dark grey to brown coloured adult fish with significant white margins. Grey banded cod have large, paddle shaped tails and a mouth full of tiny, sharp teeth.

Taste rating

  • Eighty Taste Rating
    80%

Grey banded cod like most deep water demersal are exceptionally good eating!

Sport rating

  • Sixty Sport Rating
    60%

Grey banded cod are considered to be more of a table fish than a sport fish. This is possibly due to the extreme depths of water most grey bands are encountered in.

Tackle requirements

Due to the extreme water depths grey bands are located in large lever drag game reels and modern electric reels are best suited for ultra deep water demersal fishing and when mounted onto short powerful bent but styled rods are ideally suited for fishing these ridiculously deep locations. Heavy 80 -150lb braided line and plenty of it is also necessary to reach the sea floor in such extreme depths and maintain feel. Leaders are not necessary for deep water fishing with braided lines generally being tied straight to the top of the rig to give extra feel to the angler.

Recommended baits, lures and rigs

Some great ultra deep water baits include whole, large, squid, baitfish and fish fillets with the oily, smelly baits such as mullet proving to work best. Extra large 500 – 600 gram metal jigs are also very effective on ultra deep water demersal however need to be fished on high quality, specialised jigging outfits to be productive and comfortable for the angler. Rigs for this style of fishing are generally long enough to prevent braided mainlines from coming into contact with any underwater obstructions.

Handy hints and tips

Always attach some form of light stick or luminescentĀ  bead as well asĀ  tubing to your rigs when fishing for ultra deep water demersal species, this not only attracts fish to your rig but also prevents chafe offs whilst battling larger fish. Use bait cotton to wrap your ultra deep water baits securely, this will not only ensure they reach their intended destination remaining in perfect fish attracting shape but are also extremely difficult for fish to remove without becoming securely hooked.

Preferred fishing times and tides

Grey banded cod like most ultra deep water demersal species prefer any tide change at most stages of the day and will readily take top quality baits and jigs even into the night.

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