Bait to Plate

Kev Collins

Well known Restauranter and co-owner of Fish D'vine & The Rum Bar in Airlie Beach. When Kev's not working he's out fishing in the amazing food bowl of the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park or in his tinnie in the estuaries crabbing! His blog imparts wisdom, tales and info on all things fishing and food.

Better than Coral Trout?

I don’t think I have ever been so excited about a fish I will never get to catch but I have just taken delivery of a new species which has taken my breath away. Both in terms of how it looks and what it tastes like. This is a relatively new fishery to North Queensland and being fished out of Bowen, just to our north. A single boat is pioneering this fishery, travelling some 200 miles into the Coral Sea to fish the underwater seamounts in 1000 meters of water. Flametail Snapper. My photos really don’t do justice to the amazingly stunning look of these fish, giant eyes like crystal balls, glistening red/pink scales and flesh, when cooked is soft, white and intensely flavoured of everything good about the sea. At present the vast majority of the catch is being exported to Hawaii but I am on a mission to get this on to restaurant plates in North Queensland. The cost of catching a fish so far offshore and in such deep water is significant and this will reflect in a price similar to Coral Trout but, to quote Molly Meldrum’s old count down line. Do yourself a favour. Rush out and try this. It will be on our menu for the next few nights and if I can secure a long term supply it will be on our next menu rewrite. Amazing fish in every way and, in my not inexperienced opinion, better than Coral Trout and maybe better than any fish I have ever eaten. Being on the cusp of Chinese New Year, having one of these enormous fish in our display window I expect a lot of photos to be taken over the next few days and a lot of Flametail Snapper being ordered. Wow. Just WOW. It is very seldom I get to see, fillet and cook a fish I have never seen before and have it turn out so good.