Southern Bluespotted Flathead

Flathead bluespotted
© Tasmanian Government. Image Peter Gouldthorpe
Season: Open all year

bag limit5


possession limit10


boat limit-

Bag limit includes only 1 over 60 cm. Limits relate to bluespotted and rock flathead combined.

Guide to symbols

bagBag Limit
housePossession Limit
boatBoat Limit

Minimum size


Most scalefish are measured from the nose to the end of the tail. Get your scalefish measuring ruler or sticker at any Service Tasmania outlet.

Other names

Yank flathead, Castelnau's flathead, deepwater flathead, southern flathead, bluespot flathead

Scientific name

Platycephalus speculator

Grows to

Up to

90cm and 8kg

Identifying features

​The southern bluespotted flathead has a lighter, sandy brown body with scattered small blue to white spots intermingled with dark blotches. The lower 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.

The southern bluespotted flathead can be mistaken for sand flathead. Bluespotted flathead can be distinguished from sand flathead by the gillcover spines and tail-markings.

On bluespotted flathead the gillcover spines are similar length. On sand flathead, the lower gillcover spine is longer than the upper. Bluespotted flathead tail-markings have multiple black/brown spots surrounded by white, while sand flathead have one large dark blotch on the lower part of their tail.

Tap the magnifying glass to view an image gallery of identifying features.

Watch a video to learn how to ID different flathead species in Tasmania.


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.


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


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.

Recipe: Whole BBQ Flathead:

Clean and gut the flathead. No need to skin or fillet!

Place them on some foil, with butter, parsley and lemon or whatever you like in the cavity then wrap them up. Put them on the barbeque, in the oven or under the grill and cook them till they are soft and the skin will peel off when properly cooked. The meat can be pulled off the bone easily, with very little wastage. A great way to stop this fish drying out and getting maximum meat return from your flathead.

Flathead Fact Sheets

How to Increase the Survival of Released Flathead

How to Release Flathead using a Fish De-hooker


Fishwatch Report illegal fishing

0427 655 557

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Contact us

Recreational Fishing

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

Hobart TAS 7000

Phone: (03) 6165 3233, 1300 720 647


Commercial Fisheries

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550


Commercial Fisheries Licensing

Level 1, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550