(Girella tricuspidata)

Commonly referred to as Darkies or black fish!

The luderick is the vegetarian of the fishing world, a powerful species commonly encountered from treacherous Eastern Australian rock ledges. They have a reputation for not only being a powerful and dirty battler using everything to their advantage including the environment but also as a fine table fish when eaten fresh. Luderick are also referred to as  rock black fish a name that has led to the confusion between black drummer and the popular luderick, also named black fish. Both species are caught in similar areas using similar fishing methods although unsuspecting luderick anglers using lighter gear are more often than not annoyingly blown away by the larger and more powerful black drummer.


Luderick can be encountered from southern Queensland down to eastern Tasmania and prefer rough, turbulent waters with plenty of reef and food sources such as green weed, cunjevoi and urchin present.


Luderick can grow to over 65cm in length and weigh as much as 9kgs although most larger fish commonly encountered throughout Australia average around 2 – 3.5kg.


Luderick inhabit coastal inshore waters such as beaches, estuary systems, rocky head lands, off shore islands and shallow reef systems with ample food sources available.


Luderick can be easily recognised by their muscular, short bodies which are light to dark brown in colouration across the shoulders leading down to a silverfish belly. There are dark, black, vertical stripes present along the body also. They have a small mouth full of unusual weed shredding teeth and a large powerful tail. The only other species of fish the luderick could be confused with is the Western Australian zebra fish which is endemic to W.A with the luderick being endemic to eastern Australia.

Taste rating

  • Seventy Taste Rating

Luderick are a great tasting fish when looked after and eaten fresh.

Sport rating

  • Seventy Sport Rating

Luderick are an incredibly powerful species that are capable of using everything including their environment to their full advantage. Hold on!

Tackle requirements

Light to medium rock fishing outfits such as alvey or centre pin reels and powerful, long, fibreglass or graphite rods are typically used to subdue these rampaging opponents. Alvey or centre pin reels loaded with light, abrasive resistant nylon lines are not only preferred for their powerful one to one retrieves but also for their rugged durability in one of the most unforgiving fishing environments imaginable. Due to the small mouth and fussy eating habits of this species leaders should be both strong enough to withstand the brutal torture they will be subjected to yet also light enough not to spook the luderick from feeding confidently. Small size 10 – 12 hooks are also necessary and should be hidden in well presented weed baits to tempt this cunning species.

Recommended baits, lures and rigs

Freshly gathered ,green weed is the preferred bait for targeting black luderick with bread crusts also proving to be effective at times. Baits need to be presented as naturally as possible and small, strong hooks are needed to maintain strong, constant pressure throughout torrid battles. Delicately balanced floats rigged on ultra light lines are generally required for luderick fishing which truly is an art in itself and a thoroughly relaxing pass time.

Handy hints and tips

When fishing for luderick try to allow your baits to waft around in the turbulent, white water as naturally as possible. Too much lead will send your float and offering plummeting to the snaggy sea floor before a fish can even set its eyes upon it and too less will allow the fish to feel the resistance of the float. Neutrally buoyant float rigs will be most successful! Using green cabbage weed from ocean rocks and green string weed in estuary systems should produce best results.

Preferred fishing times and tides

Luderick like most shore based species prefer a rising tide that coincides with low light periods such as dawn and dusk. Rough sea conditions are ideally suited to targeting luderick but always remember to never risk rescuers lives! Rock fishing is the most deadly sport in the world and for good reason. Beware and be sure to take all precautions necessary before stepping onto wet, slippery rock platforms!


[What The Fish]