RECORD: 2.28kg, K. Grundy, Ariel Reef, 2005
Pink mao mao are a beautiful eating fish rarely caught by line-fisherman. Like their blue cousins, pinkies are a type of sea perch with a flat body and forked tail. They are most easily recognized by their beautiful, almost glowing pink colouration (as long as it's not too deep or they appear a flourescent blue as in the video). Older fish may also have black splotches on their backs. Pink mao mao may grow up to 50cm in length but are most common around the 30cm range.
Bag limit: Part of 20 finfish limit
FEEDING HABITS & HABITAT:
Schools of pink mao mao occur on drop-offs and cliff faces below about 10m. They feed on plankton and small nekton so they like a bit of current. They are often found schooling below blue mao mao with demoiselles.
Pink mao mao are relatively easy fish to shoot and the hardest part is probably just getting down to them. It is best to pick the fish you want from the school and get it on your first dive as the school will generally move deeper and deeper with each successive dive you make. By approaching the school from below or from the sea-ward side you can often herd them into the rock where they will sit in cracks making for very easy shots.
When diving in deeper water it is often helpful to take one or two kilos off your weight. This makes it much easier to get back up from deeper dives. Stiffer plastic or composite blades are also helpful as it's not so much getting down as getting back up again that is hard and a stiffer blade helps overcome the extra water pressure. Tucking your head in (as opposed to craning your neck to look below you) on your descent can increase your bottom time considerably as you're using less muscles, more relaxed and more likely to swim a straight line down. Remember that when making deeper dives you should always dive with a buddy who is watching you the whole time.