Starspotted Grouper / Ishigaki Hata

26 Sep Starspotted Grouper / Ishigaki Hata

Ishigaki Hata [jp] / Starspotted Grouper
Epinephelus hexagonatus
(Forster, 1801)

P1060659

Second most commonly seen grouper in the shallow reef of subtropical Japan. Distinguishable from honeycomb grouper by the red colour spots and 5 black spots on its back. Starspotted groupers hide behind rock feed on crustaceans and small fishes which make them ideal target for game anglers who love to cast pin point. The one in picture is fully grown adult in Ogasawara Archipelago, Tokyo.

Habitat & Season

They can be seen all year in any reef rocky or coral in subtropical water, but the best season is from April to October when water temperature activates them.

Tackle & Flies

8-9 feet 6wt rod with intermediate fly line. Use 8wt where wind is strong or fish are big. Use #2-8 baitfish or shrimp patterns. Remember to use 12lb or stronger fluorocarbon for your tippet not to wear out.

Spot & Tactics

Best spot is where obstacle such as rock or coral is present with tide washing to generate plenty of oxygen.  They tend to chase object with high curiosity, so the best tactics is to let your fly sink to at least count 5 then retrieve.

In order to get bigger fish, you have to risk losing your fly by presenting it tightly behind the rock.