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Guide to Australian Fish Worth Catching

18 Dec 2017

WATCH: Discover the joys of fishing from some local News South Wales experts. 

We share with you our Australian fishing hot spots and best fish to catch in Australian waters.

Fishing worth fighting for…

 Whiting: Thirteen species of this coastal marine fish reside in Australian waters. The most popular is the King George whiting, predominantly found off the coasts of South Australia. They have a delicate, sweet white flesh and fillets are thin so don’t overcook them. The targeting, take and possession of King George whiting is prohibited between 1 May to 31 May (inclusive) in an area of southern Spencer Gulf, southern Gulf St Vincent and Investigator Strait. 

Tailor: This hard-fighting fish is popular with surf fishers along rocks and beaches on the east and west coasts of Australia (from the top end of Fraser Island down to Onslow in Western Australia). During autumn and winter, large schools migrate north along the New South Wales coast into Queensland waters. They’re lot of fun to catch but have sharp teeth so handle with care. 

 Tailor Pomatomus saltatrix

Jewfish: If you’re not in New South Wales or Queensland you’ll probably know this little saltwater beast as mulloway. You’re in with a chance of catching a ‘jewie’ along most New South Wales beaches. South Australians also call it butterfish. 

 Mulloway Argyrosomus japonicus

Wahoo: Sports fishermen get a kick out of this tropical species. It’s speedy. The high-quality flesh also makes it a prize game fish. They grow to over two metres long and are found off Western Australia’s Rottnest Island, the coasts of Northern Territory and Queensland, and New South Wales’ Montague Island.

Wahoo Acanthocybium solandri

Mahi-mahi: Otherwise known as dolphin fish or dorado, these bright migratory fish can be found in tropical seas across the globe. It is a light tackle sport fishing favourite and flips and twists in the air when the action hots up. It also flashes gold and blue. A beautiful catch that often clocks in at over a metre-and-a-half. They like to gather around weed lines in about 37 metres of water so rev your fishing boat and head for the edge of a reef. 

Flathead: They’re not particularly pretty to look at (that big, flat noggin!) but bar-tailed flathead, dusky flathead, Northern sand flathead and yellowtailed flathead are great sport and table fish. You’ll find the dusky dudes in the sand, mud, gravel and seagrass at estuaries and in coastal bays like Port Phillip Bay and Gippsland Lakes in Victoria to Cairns. The other (oceanic) flathead prefer life offshore and bar-tailed flathead reside in Perth’s Swan/Canning River system. 

F head sand


According to The Australian Trout Foundation Inc, trout fishing is readily available within an hour or two’s drive from many of Australia’s capital cities. Trout prefer cool, clean and flowing water but can also be found in still water (lakes). In New South Wales trout can be found in the streams and lakes across the New England, Snowy Mountains and Blue Mountains regions. They are also found in the streams and lakes of Victoria’s Great Dividing Range, western Victora, and most freshwater lakes and rivers in Tasmania. Use bait (yabbies, worms, grubs, grasshoppers, mudeyes or maggots), lure or fly-fishing methods.

Oncorhynchus mykiss mid res 150dpi whiteBG

Luderick: Also known as black bream, these pretty fellows attract sport fishermen and are great eating. It’s a challenging catch: they only take bait that looks natural (a float with lead beneath ought to do it) and put up a good fight. On a good day, you’ll snag one over two kilos. They’re commonly found in estuary and inshore waters of New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and occasionally pop up in southern Queensland and Western Australia. 


Silver Trevally: Western Australians call this fighting fish ‘Skippy’. At around six-to-eight kilograms it’s small compared with giant trevally (which weighs in at 55 kilos). They like to hang out around reefs, jetties, harbours, channels and wrecks. Find them along the south and south-west coasts. 

 Giant trevally Caranx ignoblis

Snapper: Oh, happy cooking days. 

This fleshy white fish is tasty however you poach, steam, bake, fry, barbeque or grill it. They kick back in reefs of up to 200 metres and can be found along the south coast of Australia, especially near New South Wales’ Kiama, Berry, Gerringong, Gerroa, Huskisson, Vincentia, and Shoalhaven. There’s a seasonal snapper run at Victoria’s Port Phillip Bay and you’ll also find them off the coasts of Tassie and South Australia. 

 Preview 1

Garfish: These little guys make for great eating and can also be used as bait for larger fish. 

Size restrictions vary in each state. Always keep your eye on seasonal closures, too. For example, you are not permitted to catch snapper in South Australia from 1 November to 15 December. Always check your local fishing authority for up to date information and guidelines.

Three by two garfish Hemiramphus robustus



Want to know more about fishing? Read our articles here:

The two Michaels from Out of the Blue
Budget fishing and bait tips
Get on board a fishing charter


Australian Fishing Hot Spots


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Hervey Bay

Tannum Sands




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