Groper, bass

(Polyprion moeone)

Commonly referred to as Bass grouper!

Bass groper are a large deep water species that Australian anglers are just starting to become aware of. Fortunately the depth of water they are generally encountered in helps to protect the species from over fishing making these giant groper of the deep an extremely rare and highly sort after deep water species indeed!

Distribution

Bass groper can be located from as far south as the Geographe Bay region and north to Coral Bay throughout Western Australia. They may also be found in eastern, deep water locations such as the continental shelf from Tasmania up into northern N.S.W.

Growth

Very little to no information was available for this species possibly due to its rarity on the commercial fishing market and the depth of water it is encountered. Most bass groper encountered here in Australia average around 25 – 45kg in weight.

Habitat

Bass groper prefer deeper ledges and canyons with water depths ranging from 250 – 550 meters.

Identification

Bass groper are a dark to light brown colouration across the upper body with a lighter cream to light brown coloured belly section. They have an enormous mouth full of small, sharp teeth designed for grasping onto live prey items before swallowing them whole. Bass groper have large, powerful paddle tails and a much rounder head shape compared to that of the Harpuku groper which is more flattened and smaller.

Taste rating

  • Ninety Taste Rating
    90%

Bass groper are a fantastic table fish.

Sport rating

  • Eighty Sport Rating
    80%

Bass groper are a large, powerful species that are difficult to remove from their deep underwater locations.

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 demersal 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 bass groper.

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