Caught my very first two blue cods this year with my favourite gulp lime tiger soft plastics. Really good fun on super light soft baiting tackle. They don't fight as hard as a snapper but still not bad, especially from my paddle board
The minimum legal size limit is 33 cm and you're only allowed to take two per day. The smaller one was just a bit over 34 cm and the bigger one 40 cm
I never thought that they hang around in pretty shallow water over a sandy bottom but it seem there were heaps around. Also caught and released a few undersized ones and had a lot of strikes where I couldn't set the hook. We're currently staying at Golden Bay on the top of the South Island, NZ Much better fishing here than I expected.
Blue cod is one of the most expensive and tastiest species. They like cold water and you normally only catch them on the South Island or bottom end of the North Island.
You are right, they look a bit like a gurnard. But they don't have any wings, little legs and not such a flat head. Really good flakey white meat. Tasty little buggers. Hope I'll be able to catch a few more soon.