Fish of the Month: Dusky Flathead (Platycephalus fuscus)
If you ever hear a fisherman say that they caught a huge ‘lizard’, this fish is what they are talking about.
This time of year is perfect for catching this tasty estuary species. My favourite way to catch them is with a light rod, braided line and a soft plastic lure that is bounced on and off the bottom as you wind in, but they will take many lures, and drifting with bait works well too. Dusky flathead love the warm, shallow, weedy edges of sandbanks and the mouths of creeks and rivers, where during the last few hours of the outgoing tide they will wait to ambush their prey.
Identified easily by a single black dot on the end of the tail, they are often confused with other species such as Sand and Bartailed flathead. Growing to over a metre long and quite the predator at this size, you can only take them between 40cm and 70cm in QLD, as the larger breeding fish are crucial to replenish natural stocks.
Japanese friends of mine tell me it’s the best sashimi they have tried in Australia, however I still like mine steamed whole or as beer battered fillets thanks.