Rock Flathead

Flathead rock
© 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

grassy flathead, smooth flathead

Scientific name

Platycephalus laevigatus

Grows to

Up to

60cm and 2kg

Identifying features

​​​​The rock flathead has a dark mottled appearance, including a green to pale brown rounded body and several rows of dark spots along the rays of the yellowish tail. The lower spine on the gill cover is shorter than the upper spine.

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


Commonly found over sheltered or moderately exposed seagrass beds and on flat, vegetated reefs in depths between 1-20 metres.

Fishing information

The rock flathead is the most highly regarded of flathead species for its flavour. It occurs in small localised populations and is most active at dusk. Now more commonly taken with rod and line using soft plastic lures over seagrass beds.


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: Crusty Parmesan Flathead:

¾ cup breadcrumbs; ¼ cup parmesan cheese (processed or fresh), grated; ¼ cup natural or Greek yoghurt; 500g flathead fillets; 1 ½ tbsp olive oil.
Combine parmesan and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Place yoghurt into a separate bowl and dip flathead fillets in to coat. Dip into breadcrumb mix, coating fish well. Heat oil to medium heat in a non-stick frying pan. Cook fish, in batches, for 2 to 3 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through.

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