Toss out a lure in the fish-eat-fish waters of Australia, and you never know what will chomp down on it. Accordingly, here are 20 images of fish that wound up on lures thrown by me or others with whom I fished. I hope you enjoy these fishy portraits.
Narrowbarred Spanish Mackerel
Think king mackerel of U.S. waters — on steroids. Found throughout the Indo-Pacific, the narrowbarred reaches just over 100 pounds.
Widely acknowledged to be the toughest game fish of tropical Pacific reefs, these ferocious members of the jack family (Carangidae) grow to more than 150 pounds — easily large enough to wrench an angler’s arms from their sockets.
Colorful shark mackerels sport a distinct double lateral line. They may grow to just under 30 pounds, and derive their name from their flesh sometimes bearing an ammonia-like smell reminiscent of sharks.
These long, colorful and very aggressive groupers of Indo-Pacific shallow reefs are never shy about whacking topwater lures.
Found throughout the Indian Ocean over moderately deep reefs, this grouper is popular with anglers in many areas.
Emperors are a large family (Lethrinidae) of relatively shallow bottom fishes often favoring partially-sandy areas. Fine eating they’re important commercially. This one hit a Sebile Magic Swimmer.
Called longtoms in Australia, these members of the needlefishes (family Belonidae) can grow to several feet in length. They live and feed at the surface in nearshore waters.
Though Aussies called it a groper, the baldie is a member of the (always tasty) wrasse family, hence its resemblance to wrasses that anglers seek in the U.S. Northeast — the tautog, the Southeast — the hogfish, and California — the sheephead.
Blacksaddled Coral Trout
More properly called the blacksaddled coralgrouper, this little pup struck a Stick Shadd lure. The distinctly patterned species grows much larger — to 50 pounds or so.
Humphead Maori Wrasse
This monster among wrasses may reach upwards of 400 pounds. Locomotive-powerful when hooked on lures in its preferred thick-reef habitat, the species is vulnerable to overfishing, and is now protected in many areas.
One of the most abundant of shallow-reef snappers in the Indo-Pacific, Lutjanus bohar (also often called a bohar snapper), is remarkably aggressive, often charging after large poppers or stickbaits in packs, competing for the prize.
Narrowbarred Spanish Mackerel
These mackerel are always eager to chase down either topwater lures cranked fast or fast trolled lures. Often they will “sky” on poppers, launching themselves 10 or 20 feet into the air in their determination to catch their prey.
A long, thin member of the family of jacks and trevallies, the queenie haunts estuaries and nearshore coasts throughout the Indo-Pacific. Maxing out at nearly 40 pounds, it’s one of the world’s great light-tackle gamesters, making sizzling runs and leaping wildly.
Often called flowery cod Down Under, these grouper are distributed widely in tropical Pacific waters. Typically, they’re anything but shy, striking lures and baits hard and immediately heading for structure.
GT may range from silver with dark spotting to nearly black.
One of a seemingly infinite number of colorful groupers, this one (Cephalopholis miniata) grabbed a metal jig.
Seldom exceeding 6 pounds or so, this little mackerel is common throughout the Indo-Pacific. It shares the double lateral line with shark mackerel.
Abundant in many Indo-Pacific areas, this species — also known as the goldspotted trevally — prefers inshore/nearshore waters. It can reach 30 pounds.
Gaudy but gorgeous, Variola louti —a species of grouper — is properly known as the yellow-edged lyretail. Common throughout the Indo-Pacific, coronation trout may reach 15 pounds.
Okay, it’s not a fish. But it was so cool, it merited inclusion here. Caught at night under boat lights at anchor. Eaten next day. Yum.