Flathead - Southern Bluespotted

Other names: yank flathead, Castelnau's flathead, deepwater flathead, southern flathead, bluespot flathead

Scientific name: Platycephalus speculator

Minimum size: 40 cm

Bag limit: 5 (only 1 over 60 cm) (bluespotted and rock flathead combined)

Possession limit: 10 (bluespotted and rock flathead combined)

Identifying features: The southern bluespotted flathead has a lighter, sandy brown body with scattered small blue to white spots intermingled with dark blotches.  The tail fin has dark spots surrounded by white. The two spines on the gill cover are of a similar length.  It is the largest flathead found in Tasmania.

Grows to: Up to 90 cm and 8 kg.

Habitat: Found around the north coast of Tasmania in waters up to 30 metres deep, usually on sandy bottom adjacent to seagrass beds.  

Fishing information: These large flathead offer a niche fishery in some areas of Tasmania because fish caught tend to be large.  They are caught mainly in coastal embayments and inlets along Bass Strait.  Fishers are increasingly targeting them using soft plastic lures and flies.  May also be encountered at night whilst spearing for flounder.  

Responsible fishing tips: Flathead have good survival rates when handled correctly, depending on hooks and fishing techniques used. Use circle and barbless hooks on your line and a fish de-hooker to quickly return undersize flathead to the water.

Handling: Beware of short, sharp spines on the flathead’s gill covers and dorsal fin.

Cooking: Low oil content with a pleasant, sweet flavour.  Fine textured flesh which can dry out slightly with some cooking methods but remains moist and flaky when cooked in batter.  The long shape of flathead means that it fillets well as most of the bones are at the head section of the fish.  Also retains moisture well when cooked as whole fish.  Suitable to bake in foil, shallow or deep fry, marinate, poach or steam.

Flathead Fact Sheets

How to Increase the Survival of Released Flathead
How to Release Flathead using a Fish De-hooker

Fish illustration by Peter Gouldthorpe

Fish for the Future