Commonly referred to as Blue grouper!
Blue groper are a vibrantly attractive species that are rarely encountered by most anglers. They are more commonly seen by spear fisherman and scuba divers who respect them for their kind and inquisitive natures. Most Australian blue groper are encountered by anglers targeting other species and are a rare and protected species in some states.
Blue groper can be located from as far south as the Albany region and north to Perth throughout Western Australia. They also exist in healthy numbers from N.S.W. into southern Queensland.
As is the case with most groper species blue groper begin their lives as females and mature at around 30cm in length. They then grow to around 80cm in length where they change sex and become male. Blue groper can grow to over 40kg in weight and measure as much as 160cm in length although most fish encountered throughout Australia are typically around the 8- 15kg mark depending on location. Blue groper can live to 70 years of age!
Blue groper prefer shallow rocky head lands and inshore reef systems with water depths ranging from 2 – 40 meters.
Blue groper can be easily identified by their dark blue colouration and large, fleshy lips. They have a smallish mouth full of large, peg like teeth designed for crushing prey items such as crabs, urchins, octopus and squid.
Blue groper are a fantastic table fish.
Blue groper are a large, powerful species that are extremely difficult to remove from their rocky underwater locations.
Medium to heavy spin or overhead tackle is well suited to targeting blue groper from a boat with medium to heavy strength braided, gel spun or nylon lines with a breaking strain of 30 – 80lb proving ideal. 80 – 150lb nylon leaders should be attached to bright braided or gel spun lines to prevent fish from seeing the line and also to help prevent chafe offs on rough structures. Shore based fishing for blue groper requires strong, sturdy tackle such as Alvey 651 C5 reels loaded with heavy 50 – 60lb nylon lines attached to long powerful rods capable of lifting around 4 – 6kg from the ground. 80 – 100lb hand lines are also popular!
Most standard bottom fishing baits such as cut fish strips, squid and octopus will suffice for most blue groper situations with live rock crabs proving to be the ultimate. Lures such as soft plastics, octopus jigs and metal jigs have also proven deadly on this species. Paternoster or drift baiting rigs made from 80 – 120lb nylon are normally used to target blue groper in deeper waters to 40 meters.
Try to use small hooks with a thick gauge for strength when targeting blue groper and always try to use the freshest bait possible.
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 blue groper.