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None of the seas of the Australian coast compares with the waters of the Great Barrier Reef for medium. and light-game angling, and sportsmen proceed there every year to enjoy the thrill of the screaming reel. The most abundant game fish, and the one most sought after by anglers, is the barred Spanish mackerel, which grows to a weight of over one hundred pounds. During May and June these fish are found in greatest numbers at the southern end of the Reef, and from there they move north in great shoals till they are found off Townsville during October, November and December. Anglers troll for them from the stern of a launch, and it is not uncommon for four feather lures to be struck almost simultaneously and all four fish to be landed. The Spanish mackerel is a game and spectacular fighter, never giving up the struggle till its strength is completely exhausted. Moreover, it is one of the finest eating fish found in Barrier Reef waters, and "smoked" particularly well.
Even more spectacular and tenacious, though unfortunately far less common, is the queenfish, shaped like a mackerel but more, closely related to the yellowtail-kingfish and trevally. It grows to a weight of about thirty pounds, and when hooked presents a thrilling spectacle as it frequently leaps into the air or dances along the surface with only its tail in the water, frantically trying to escape.
The most stubborn fighter of the Reef is probably the turrum, a giant trevally that attains a weight of about 70 pounds. The turrum fights deep, and, tiring very slowly, it taxes to the utmost the patience and resource of the angler. Other game fish of the Reef are the giant pike, which grows to a weight of about 50 pounds, tunas of several species, yellowtail-kingfish, black kingfish, black and striped marlin, and sailfish.Amongst the bottom-dwelling fish landed by anglers are the Queensland . groper, which attains a weight of over 700 pounds and is more dreaded by divers than are sharks; the black rock cod, which grows to a weight of about a hundred pounds; sweetlips of several species; coral cod; king snapper; red emperor; and many others. Most fish caught over coral reefs axe richly colored; they bite freely and are good eating.
Such is Australia's own Great Barrier Reef, a coral wonderland for sheer natural beauty unrivalled throughout the world. With its gardens of multi-colored coral, its quaint, exotic sea creatures, its scurrying crabs and brightly-hued fish, it is, indeed, a land of strange and exciting beauty. Nowhere else in the world has nature been so lavish with her gifts, and vivid blues, greens, reds and oranges have been used with startling abandon to decorate the coral and a wide variety of curious sea life. Well has it been described as a paradise for nature lovers and a tropical wonderland of unbelievable loveliness.
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