Scott’s Species – nannygai, a sought-after south coast fish

In this edition of Scott’s Species, Western Angler editor and fishing fanatic Scott Coghlan takes a look at a south coast staple — nannygai! Also known as bight redfish and often called red snapper, nannygai are an offshore species found from south of Lancelin.

Species: Nannygai, Centroberyx gerrardi

Eating: 4 stars

ID: Six dorsal fin spines, indistinct white stripe along lateral line.

Lachlan Carter with a red snapper, also known as nannygai, caught on a jig in shallow water. Picture: Western Angler

Beautiful eating and a south coast offshore staple, they grow to 76cm and almost 5kg in weight, but are usually caught at less than half that size.

I saw a photo of a 4.4kg red recently and that was probably the biggest I’ve seen.

They are caught in a wide variety of depths from as shallow as 10m out to 450m.

Red snapper are often found in large schools that can be spotted on a fish finder.

hey usually show up as vertical schools, not necessarily around structure.

Body Ogle loves chasing these great tasting fish on jigs!

Coral ground and near the Continental Shelf are prime spots, while smaller schools and individual fish show up in shallower water.

They are usually caught when targeting other more common species, and will take the usual deep water fish baits such as octopus, squid or pieces of mulies or fresh fish.

They are also willing jig takers. As they have a large gob, big hooks are not a problem although they have bony mouths and are quite adept at shaking free of hooks.

Weighted rigs such as paternosters are usually used for red snapper and drift fishing is most successful due to the depths in which they are usually encountered.

They have very sharp scales so do require careful handling.

A solid south coast red for Morris Wilkinson. Picture: Western Angler