Flathead facts

Sand Flathead Sand flathead have a long and narrow body with broad, flattened head. They are pale brown or mottled colour above and white below with occasional  reddish brown spots along sides. There is a distinctive black spot on the tail.


Sand flathead have scales even though they are covered with a protective slime.

Sand flathead grow to at least 50cm in length and over 2kg in weight. On reaching this size they are around 16 years old. Sand flathead spawn around Tasmania from September through to February in coastal bays and inner continental shelf waters.

It is the most popular fish targeted by Tasmanian amateur fishermen due to its numbers and relative ease of capture.

Sand flathead can be caught on a variety of baits and lures providing they are fished close to a sandy bottom.

Tiger Flathead A similar species, the tiger flathead, has orange-brown spots on light brownish or pinkish grey body.  This fish has larger canine teeth than the sand flathead.

Tiger flathead are good eating and are generally caught by fishing over a sandy bottom.

They attain at least 65cm in length and a maximum age of about 17 years.

They are generally found both inshore and on the continental shelf between 0m and 400m.

Spawning occurs on the continental shelf between December and February. 

Care is needed in removing hooks from this species as its sharp teeth can inflict a painful bite that can easily break the skin.

All flatheads have very sharp spines on the back of their gill cover and on their dorsal fins that are capable of inflicting deep wounds to the unwary fisher. The spines, covered with a mucous, can cause a localised reaction and sometimes intense pain. Treatment for such reactions include washing with mildly acidic fluids, such as vinegar, or application of a topical anaesthetic cream.


Legal Size:  30cm

Recommended bag limit: 20

"Fish for the future"

For further information please contact Marine Resources Division, DPIWE

Phone 62 337042


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