Marine Life / Sydney Diving

Ship Rock – Here Be Angler Fish

Tucked away at the end of a quiet residential street a flight of steps discretely descends down toward the water. At its base, a large rock formation like the bow of a ship greets you. This is Ship Rock, a hidden gem of a dive site and here be the hunting grounds of Anglerfish. Now to the untrained eye finding Anglerfish is not an easy task. Being ambush hunters they use camouflage and stealth to lure prey so need to be invisible. Other than a twitching lure a-top their head, the Anglerfish waits motionless for its prey to unwittingly come to it.

Anglerfish camouflage is fascinating. If you know what to look for in any one dive you may be lucky enough to see multiple anglerfish of different size and colour.

Angler Fish of different colours

In Sydney the colour of anglerfish  range from red, orange, yellow to brown, white and black

So where at Ship Rock do you dive to find these little critters? Typically when diving Ship Rock, upon descending the wall most will follow its structure and head towards the bubble cave. Make no mistake, this is a fantastic dive in itself but to see anglerfish you’ve gotta to zig when others zag. Instead of heading toward the bubble cave, on initial decent of the wall follow its structure the opposing direction. In little time you’ll get to a depression that drops down to about 18 meters. Adjoined to the wall at this point is what looks like, and probably is a bommie. Here, camouflaged within its aquatic surrounds is where the angler fish can be found.


Frogfish are known as anglerfishes in Australia

Tips & advice when looking for anglerfish Do:

  • Move slowly, methodically and carefully – anglers dare very good at blending in with their surrounds.
  • Look for slight gill movement or the twitching of their lure
  • Look for the slight opening and closing of oversized mouth
  • Look for eye – it may look like soft coral but if it’s got two eyes chances are it’s not.

Do Not:

  • Disturb the coral to try and scare the anglerfish out of hiding
  • Touch, poke or prod the anglerfish to get a reaction

P.S  Remember it’s best to dive Ship Rock on slack high tide, entering the water 10 minutes prior to Fort Denison High Tide