silver perch, perch
Scientific name:Nemodactylus macropterus
Jackass morwong have a silvery-grey body, almost white below with a broad dark ‘saddle’ appearing across the back directly behind the head region. The pectoral fins have a single long ray.
Up to 70 cm and 4.5 kg.
Jackass morwong are found on open, flat sandy regions of the continental shelf and around reef margins all around Tasmania but are more commonly caught on the east and south coasts from 10-300 metres deep.
During daylight hours, juvenile morwong will feed in schools on or near the bottom where they are commonly caught by fishers using nets or lines. This species can be caught on lines using fish flesh, prawns or sandworms. They provide excellent sport on light tackle.
Responsible fishing tips:
This is a robust fish that has good post-release survival rates if handled with care. Jackass morwong may suffer barotrauma when the swim bladder of hooked fish expands if brought up from deep water. To avoid barotrauma, bring the fish slowly to the surface. Use a release weight to return it to the sea floor if you are not retaining it. Only vent the swim bladder if you’re experienced in carrying out this procedure correctly.
Fragile dorsal spines and a thick anal spine capable of causing painful puncture wounds.
Large scales and a black membrane lining the gut usually need to be removed. Jackass morwong has firm, white mildly flavoured flesh and tastes best grilled fresh, skin on or as skinless fillets. Also suitable to bake, barbeque, shallow or deep fry, marinate or steam.Fish illustration by Peter Gouldthorpe