Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yellowbelly Rockcod flees to its hole - I follow...

The other day I found a nice piece of reef while out for a dive with Zane Hobson. I saw no decent fish and began steaming up and down the parallel reefs off the sand dunes - the objective was to warm up as well as explore.
Suddenly down to my left I saw a movement and the shape of a big cracker came into view. Oops - I was essentially disabled by high heart rate. I watched the cracker swim by a few meters off and idle away. The big bulging lips showed it size and such a silvery head always make a splendid impression - it was around 16 kg. I did a dive later in the hopes it would return but there was no such fortune. Anyway I was now warm and a bit more motivated.
I headed east and found a ledge with a yellowbelly rockcod of good size hovering over it. I turned on the camera and made a dive some distance off and came around the ledge to where I expected it to be and sure enough there is was behind a ridge under the ledge a waving pecs at me. To see this fish and a very interesting reef structure in 12-15 m viz click on the youtube link below.

I watched the fish and edged closer until I was about a meter off. It faced me for some time then decided I was a threat and turned side on took a final look and squeezed into its hole offering me[and you] nothing but a tail view.
This was one of those rare occasions where I could have probably have caught this 3 kg rockcod by hand as its cave was shallow and its tail stuck out.

I went back down and took a pic of the tail jutting out the cave - if I had slid a gloved hand over the fish and kept it in the cave with my other hand there is a good chance I could have got a grip around the gills and pulled it out.

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