Wild Shellfish Alert - Do not eat wild shellfish from the area in and around the White Beach and Nubeena region located on the Tasman Peninsula in South East Tasmania.
Wild Shellfish Alert - Do not eat wild shellfish from the area in and around Gardners Bay and Port Cygnet in Southern Tasmania.
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.
common flathead, slimy flathead, bay flathead, sand flathead, sandy flathead, flathead
Sand flathead have a long and narrow body with a broad, flattened head. They are a sandy brown or mottled colour above and white below with occasional reddish brown spots along sides. There may also be dark bands across the body and a distinctive black spot on the tail. Scales are present even though they are covered with a protective slime. The lower spine on the gill cover is longer than the upper spine.
Sand flathead stocks are depleting. Please assist in ensuring we have Flathead for the Future by:
Taking less than the bag limit as an individual fisher and as a group in a boat.
Release fish so they survive. Use circle and barbless hooks on your line and a fish de-hooker to quickly return undersize flathead to the water.
Never use undersize flathead for bait.
Fishing for other sustainable fish including tiger flathead (by fishing deeper), Australian salmon, mullet and mackerel.
Being a citizen scientist by giving your fish frames to the Tassie fish frame collection program .
Reporting tagged flathead, please record the tag details and report to the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Research
Sand flathead are a bottom dwelling fish usually found in abundant numbers in inshore waters all around Tasmania. They prefer shallow waters of around 0-25 metres depth and a weed free, sandy bottom.
Sand flathead are the most commonly caught recreational species in Tasmania, accounting for two-thirds of all fish caught. They are present around the state in large numbers and are relatively easy to catch. They can be caught on a variety of baits and lures providing they are fished close to a sandy bottom as they don’t usually rise more than one metre from the bottom to take a bait. Flathead are often caught from a boat that is drifting slowly so the fish see the bait as it passes by. May also be encountered at night when spearing for flounder.
Beware of short, sharp spines on the flathead’s gill covers and dorsal fin.
The Director of Public Health advises people to limits meals of Derwent caught scalefish including flathead due to heavy metal contamination - refer to the
Department of Health and Human Services or phone their hotline on 1800 671 738.
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. Popular as fish and chips.
Recipe - Easy Cook Flatties:
2 flathead fillets; 2 tbsp rice or plain flour; salt and pepper; 2 tbsp olive oil.
Place flour and salt and pepper in a plastic bag. Place fish fillets into bag and shake bag. Remove fillets dust off excess flour. Heat oil in a large frypan to medium heat. Place fish into pan, cook for 3 minutes then turn over and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Recipe - Beer Battered Flathead:
500 grams flathead fillets; ½ cup flour; salt; 1 tbsp oil; ½ cup beer and 1 egg white; stiffly beaten.
Mix flour and salt, gradually add liquid and stir until smooth. Leave for 10-15 minutes. Gently fold in egg white. Dip flathead fillets lightly in flour before dipping in the batter. Heat oil to 180°C for deep frying or shallow fry in a wide pan.
A flathead showing signs of black spots in the flesh
Have you noticed black flesh or spots in your sand flathead fillets? This is a phenomonen known as melanisation which is the subject of research at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. Help their research by reporting your catch using the
Black Fillets Project online form. Read the
outcomes of their survey or the
How to Increase the Survival of Released Flathead
How to Release Flathead using a Fish De-hooker
Level 3, 134 Macquarie St
Hobart TAS 7000
Phone: (03) 6165 3233, 1300 720 647
GPO Box 44
Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550