The Sergeant Baker fish is probably named after Governor Phillip’s orderly sergeant, William Baker. As you can see, they can be recognised by its long tapering body, blotched coloration and its behavior of sitting on top of rocks looking out for passing prey, as divers often see.
According to Fishes of Australia’s Southern Coast, the flesh is considered good quality. And I agree, it is one of the most underrated fish in the sea.
Sargent Baker is like a cross between red rock cod and a flathead both in the way they look and the texture of their flesh. The flesh is white and firm. It is well worth eating, easy to take the fillets off due to the small backbone and low profile ribs. Some say that they are bony because of a second line with fine pin bones. But they are easy to remove, just run a finger along the flesh and cut out the lateral bone section.
The frame and head make good soup or as we sometimes do, use it for crab bait, i.e. don’t waste anything. So it is well worth keeping the large ones. They grow to about 60 cm and Suzanna’s keeper at 55 cm is a good catch.