- Cheilodactylus fuscus
A rare catch on a line, these fish are usually taken by spear fishermen. Red morwong tend to school together, in groups with a variety of sizes, and often choose a particular underwater structure to regularly hang around.
Reds like rocky bottom areas between kelp and sand, and are generally (but not exclusively) vegetarians. They are usually found chewing vegetation off rocks.
They can be found at depths of under 2m, but are usually a little less cautious in 6+ meters.
Red morwong don't tend to respond well to a direct dive down from the surface, but are not as cautious as blackfish. Start slightly off to the side, and angle down slightly away from the fish. Once you are on the bottom, then slowly approach the fish. It will generally ignore you after a few moments of staring.
With a hand-spear, if you miss on the first go, quickly get ready for another shot, as the fish will often dart off for around 1m, then turn to look at you, presenting a perfect side-shot.
As the fish tends to stick to particular locations, please try not to remove all fish from a particular structure - they're not very migratory, so you risk creating a morwong vacuum in the area.
Rod & Line Edit
Try using small hooks, with beach worm. These fish have quite small mouths.
The flesh of the Red Morwong is firm and white, similar in taste to snapper.
This Red Morwong was photographed by Deano at Gordon's Bay, Sydney