Gemfish

(Rexea solandri)

Commonly referred to as Gem‘s!

Gemfish are another deep water demersal species that is only just now being discovered by keen Australian anglers. They are also found throughout other deep water locations around the world and thanks to this there is more information available regarding the Gemfish than most deep water species. Gemfish are generally encountered as a bi catch whilst targeting more desirable deep water species.

Distribution

Gemfish can be located from as far south as the Albany region north to Coral Bay throughout Western Australia and also from northern N.S.W. down through VIC and S.A. into Tasmania. They prefer extreme water depths of around 100 – 500 meters.

Growth

Gemfish are a relatively fast growing, brief living species of deep water demersal that can live for up to 10 years or more reaching a total length of around 1.2 meters, weighing as much as 15 kilograms.

Habitat

Gemfish prefer deeper ledges and canyons with water depths ranging from 100 – 500 meters here in Australia.

Identification

Gemfish are barracouta like in appearance with long silver to bronze coloured bodies and sharp dagger like teeth. They have a small forked tail and a series of sickle fins extending from the tail to the beginning of the anal and dorsal fins.

Taste rating

  • Sixty Taste Rating
    60%

Gemfish are reasonably good table fair compared to most deep water species.

Sport rating

  • Fifty Sport Rating
    50%

Gemfish are poor sport on the heavy tackle used to fish such deep water.

Tackle requirements

Heavy tackle is needed to target these large deep water fish with 80lb rods coupled with powerful electric reels with large line capacities preferred. Large 50 – 80 class game reels with dual speeds are also used by anglers who do not chase deep water species often enough to warrant the expense of electric reels. 80 – 100lb braided lines are a must for fishing such extreme depths and allow anglers to maintain contact with their rig in even the most extreme of water depths. Nylon leaders are not necessary as braided lines are generally tied straight to the rig in these depths to increase feel for the angler.

Recommended baits, lures and rigs

Large, sturdy baits such as whole mullet and squid are best suited to ultra deep water situations and remain intact throughout long descents to the sea floor. Long triple sectioned Paternoster style rigs are preferred for targeting deep water species such as Bass groper. These rigs are generally made from 150 – 250lb nylon and have large, strong, three way swivels incorporated into them to prevent line twist on such long descents. Large circle style hooks, big baits and bright light sticks are also used to attract fish in the deep, dark, cold water.

Handy hints and tips

Using bait cotton to secure baits to hooks helps when fishing such extreme depths. Using the swell to assist in lifting and winding will save you a lot of energy at the end of a long deep water session!

Preferred fishing times and tides

Rising or full tides are best suited for targeting most fish species around most areas although some deep water locations will also produce good numbers of fish during low and falling tides. New moon phases are also preferable for most fish species including  deep water demersal’s.

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