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elephant fish (elephant shark) [callorhynchus milii]
Callorhynchus milii
Size Grows to 1.1 metres
Habitat Elephant fish are found offshore in southern Australia, but often enter bays and inlet such as Western Port in Victoria. Distribution of elephant fish extends from N.S.W. to southern W.A., including Tasmania. World-wide there are only three species of elephant fish. The species caught locally is found throughout the temperate waters of Australasia. All belong to the order of Chimaeras, a family of fish sharing obvious shark-like characteristics including a cartilage skeleton. Unlike other shark species though, the skin of Chimaeras is fine, smooth and shiny, just like the skin of many pelagic fish. The cartilage skeleton is also relatively soft, quite unlike the tough cartilage of most sharks and rays.
Qualities Excellent fighting.
Record Australian record 6.700kg.
Best Bait
bait: Bonito, Pilchard, Squid, Tuna
Tackle
Link: 2 - 8kg main line with a 1m 7 - 10kg leader.
Hook: No. 1/0 - 5/0 baitholder.
Rig: Light to medium gear with a running sinker or paternoster rig.
Hints Six to ten kilogram line is preferred for elephant fish but the leader does need checking after each fish is caught. This is because - while they won't actually bite through your line - there is a lot of wear and tear on the leader with a good elephant bite going and separations do occur.

Elephant fish take baits like pilchard, fish fillets and fresh squid very well and are best hooked by leaving the rod in the rod holder with enough drag on the clutch of the reel to pull the rod into a good working curve to set the hook.

Anglers who hold their rod, or pounce on their rod and strike at the first sign of a bite, do miss a lot of fish. This is because elephants dislike having the bait pulled away from them before they have had a chance to eat it.

Elephant fish respond well to berley and can sometimes be enticed into feeding frenzy. Should the tide be running - as is usually the case in the Barwon River estuary - the berley should be in a container right down on the bottom and consist of minced up fish, pilchards or the like.


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