Groper – Polyprion oxygeneios – A favourite New Zealand Deep-water Fish

Groper - Polyprion oxygeneios Other names: hapuku (pronounced hapuka) This species is often called Hapuku in the North Island, and groper…

Groper

Other names: hapuku (pronounced hapuka)

Denis with a groper taken near Stephens Island, outer Marlborough Sounds. Click on the picture to enlarge.

This species is often called Hapuku in the North Island, and groper in the south.

Many believe, incorrectly, that groper is a deepwater species only. However, before they were fished-out they were once caught surfcasting off Canterbury beaches. They were also known, according to David H. Graham in Treasury of New Zealand Fishes, to be plentiful in Otago Harbour at the beginning of the 20th century.

In the North Island, this fish is often known as hapuku or puka. Average size fish measure from 80cm to 1m while a big one can measure 1.5m and weigh more than 30kg. Your best chance of catching a really big groper is to fish around distant offshore reefs and pinnacles that rarely see angler’s lines.

Groper caught fishing in Cook Strait. Click on the picture to enlarge.

Once lifted a short distance up from the bottom their air bladder bursts and they float up to the surface. When deep-sea long-lining it isn’t unusual to see a string of groper floating on the surface like a row of buoys having all floated up together from the dark depths.

Colin Wilson caught this
groper deep sea fishing off the Canterbury coast.

Groper is a premium eating fish. The firm white flesh is much prized either cut up into fillets or sliced into steaks. Many expert fishermen believe the tastiest part of a groper is the flesh from the cheeks. The cheeks are sold in some supermarkets having been hot smoked.

It is thought that smaller groper school and move around while the bigger fish tend to take up residence in one area.

NIWA have done considerable research into the possibility of farming groper in sea cages. Once groper eggs hatch the small fish grow very rapidly for their first year or so. The research is looking promising.

Colin Wilson caught this groper deep sea fishing off the Canterbury coast.

In the South Island, this species is called groper while in the North Island most anglers call it hapuku, or even just “puka.”

Whatever the name this is one of the best-eating fish in the sea.

Groper can grow to 1.5m in length and weigh 60kg or more.

More on hapuka.

Groper is often called hapuku in the North Island.

This post was last modified on 14/02/2019 10:43 pm

Share

Recent Posts

The Masters on the Nymph – Michael Migel, Leonard M. Wright, Jr.

The Masters on the Nymph The Masters on the Nymph. Edited by Michael Migel and Leonard M. Wright, Jr. Illustrated…

22/08/2019

Norman Marsh’s Trout Fishing – Published by The Halcyon Press 1990

Norman Marsh's Trout Fishing Published by The Halcyon Press. Publication date: 1990 first edition. Hardcover. 160pp. ISBN 0 908685 60…

22/08/2019

Kent, John – South Island Trout Fishing Guide

South Island Trout Fishing Guide by John Kent Photographs by Patti Magnano Madsen Size: 215mm x 135mm. 258 pp total.…

09/08/2019

Twizel Canals Fishing Tips – Ohau, Pukaki and Tekapo Canals – Maps Video

Twizel Canals Fishing Tips - Plus 35lb rainbow video Here are some Twizel Canals Fishing Tips to get you started.…

05/08/2019

Rasmus Gabrielsson and Malcolm Bell Podcast Canterbury Salmon

Rasmus Gabrielsson talks with Malcolm Bell from The Complete Angler about the Canterbury Salmon Fishery by Allan Burgess Malcolm Bell,…

03/08/2019

Draper, Keith – Trout Flies in New Zealand by Keith Draper

Trout Flies in New Zealand by Keith Draper Published by Heinemann Reed. First published 1971, Size: 210mm x 140mm. 182…

19/07/2019

All Rights Reserved © fishingmag.co.nz 1999 - 2019