Clandestine Hunter of the Reef

Coloured Strongman

Cephalopholis miniata oft the Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Serranidae (Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets) > Epinephelinae has a robust, bass-like body shape, which easily identifies him as member of the grouper family. Its a mottled orange-red to scarlet in base colour with myriad small, closely spaced, light-blue polka dots all over its body and fin is of outstanding beauty. Overall this is an awesome looking fish. It is very much a aesthetic thrill catch them by casting jerk-baits in shallow reef areas. A large live-bait however is probably the most effective way. Some anglers have success trolling deep diving plugs so that they go just above the reef, where the fish are .Coral Grouper is a small fish by grouper standards and will grow up to a size of 50 cm. Presence increases strongly towards the south of Red Sea. Like all groupers Coral Grouper has a tendency to come to rest on substrates. Grouper run out, grab a bait, and head back for cover. This habit caused many lost fish and hung up lines. You should use heavy tackle and baits caught near the sea bottom. In general you are going to need heavier tackle than you would normally need for equivalent sized fish. Make sure the Grouper will not hide into the corals. Anglers will have to crank the drag down on their reel as hard as they can, often using a pair of pliers to lock it down. The idea is to stop the grouper from taking line and returning to his structure home. Grouper can be caught by straight bottom fishing, Free-lining live bait and slow trolling. Coral Groupers go for lures, live bait, and dead bait.  Generally the largest Coral Groper are found well offshore.  

If you are fishing a shallower reef it can be great fun to cast jerk-baits and retrieving them erratically with frequent pauses.  Many times the fish bite on the pause. There are basically three approaches used when fishing for grouper–: When a grouper strikes, anglers will lay their rod on the rail and start winding as hard as they can.

  • When a grouper makes it into a rock or reef, many anglers will simply break off the line and try again. The savvy angler will give the fish a loose line for as long as thirty minutes to allow the fish to relax and possibly swim out from under the structure. It has worked for many anglers on more than one occasion.


Grouper Lures and Baits

The coral hind feeds mainly on fish, particularly the sea goldie or lyretail anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis), with the rest of the diet made up of crustaceans, such as crabs or shrimps (2) (3) (6) (8). It is usually an ambush predator, lying in wait among corals or in crevices for prey to pass nearby, or ambushing prey by a quick rush from the bottom (2) (3) (8). While lying in wait, the coral hind may take on a camouflaging colour pattern and close the fins. This species usually feeds in the early morning and mid-afternoon, and will also use alternative hunting techniques, including following another predator such as an octopus or moray eel, catching flushed out prey (8). In turn, the coral hind may potentially be preyed upon by larger fish and marine mammals (2).


Coral Trout

The coral hind is one of the most beautiful fishes of its family, owing to the contrast of blue spots on an orange body. It lives in the most exposed areas of coral reefs where waters are clear. It is found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, occurring from the Red Sea to South Africa, and east as far as the Line Islands, in the central Pacific (1) (2) (3) (4) (5). It is absent from the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman (1) (2) (3) (4). This coral reef species inhabits clear waters at depths of up to 150 metres (2) (3), although it may be most commonly seen in relatively shallow water of up to about 30 metres (5) (7). The coral hind is most often found in exposed rather than protected reef areas (1) (2) (3). The coral hind is a widespread species and is not currently considered at risk of extinction (1). However, it is likely to be under threat from habitat degradation and overfishing in parts of its range, and its population may be in decline (1). As well as facing threats to its coral reef habitat, the coral hind is of considerable economic importance to local fisheries, and is also caught in recreational fisheries and for the live reef fish trade (1) (2) (3). Its bright colouration also makes this a popular species in public aquaria (2).


Sustainable Fishing

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