I love eating Luderick, they are fun to catch on foraged bait and I really enjoy their mineral-y taste (they’re vegetarians). Sometimes called black fish (fishermen are reaaaal creative with naming things), these guys live amongst rocks and wharfs and their favourite food is seaweed. The other afternoon I set out to catch one for dinner equipped with my light rod, a cork float, and a spoon to collect some of the hulk-green bait that grows amongst the rocks along the waterline. There is something ultra satisfying about catching your own dinner on bait that is completely free! I managed to bag myself a healthy 31cm Luderick on some seaweed that I had wrapped around my hook. After scaling and gutting my fish, I baked it with cherry tomatoes & garlic which was a simple dinner that honoured the soft texture and delicious flavour of my Luderick. The recipe will follow soon. Note: look up the legal size and bag limit for Luderick in your local area, for NSW it is 27cm and the bag limit is 20.
How to target Luderick
You will need:
a small fishing rod
a cork float
a big spoon for scraping weed off the rocks
a few slices of cheap old bread
a small sized hook
a small chopping board
a filleting knife
some anise seed soap for washing up (this is best for fishing because of its low environmental impact, the scent attracts fish, and gets rid of fishy odours)
Look for a clean fishing spot where there are plenty of rocks or man-made structures. Look for green cabbage weed, or mossy looking weed along the rocky shoreline and scrape as much as you can into your bucket.
Rig up your rod with a cork float and a small hook on the end. For bait, grab a small piece of seaweed and squish it together with a small amount of bread so that you have a doughy green ball that will stay on the end of your hook. Cast out into deep water and allow the cork to float with lots of slack on the line. Throw a couple of spoonfuls of sandy seaweed where your cork is floating to attract fish. Every so often, reel in and check to see if your bait is still on the hook, then cast out again and throw more burley into the surrounding water.
When there is a fish on the end, you will see the cork float obviously sinking and surfacing, where you will need to quickly pull upwards to set the hook. Reel your fish in keeping constant tension on the line, and manoeuvring around any sharp objects that could cut the line. Pull it in, then firmly hold him (avoiding the sharp spines) to remove the hook. If it’s an edible size, quickly and firmly hit it on the head with a solid object to kill it in the most humane way possible.
Remove all the scales with the back of your knife, against the scale direction, in a firm action. Find the small hole on the opposite side to the back spines, and insert the tip of your knife into the hole, then run along the length of the fish to open it’s belly cavity. Pull out the guts with your fingers, and rinse the fish in seawater. Keep the fish in a clean bucket, wash up with the anise seed soap, and giddy-up on home to start cooking.