Groper are one of my favourite fish. Broad shouldered, with inquisitive eyes, the groper struggled to survive until restrictions were put in place banning spearfish and limiting the recreational catch to two fish. 

Before the laws were put in place the groper population was seriously under threat due to their docile nature. It is pleasing to report that groper numbers have bounced back in a big way with colonies established on every headland and over all the shallow reefs from Birubi to Broughton.

Big Rocky, Fingal Island, Cabbage Tree and Broughton Islands are preferred homes to this mighty fish.

Catching a groper is not a simple exercise as the best bait are rock crabs which can be gathered by hand at low tide in a calm sea. 

Other baits include big prawns and cunjevoi.

Using a 4/0-6/0 hook on a 50lb line the technique is basic. Using sea urchin for berley in 10 metres of water lower the terrified crab to the bottom. When the groper pulls – you pull harder. 

Fishing writer, author and radio presenter John “Stinker” Clarke can be heard weekly, throughout NSW, on popular ABC Regional Radio fishing program “The Big Fish”. Check him out on www.stinker.com.au or send an email to editor@manningcommunitynews.com with your information and questions. 

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