Fish Species Of North Queensland
What a strange looking fish indeed !
The hairtail derives its name from their appearance, by the sudden tapering of their bodies to a thin hair like ending about 6 inches long. The rest of their long, thin, eel-like body is all shiny chrome, no scales and topped off with a sinister head full of long curved teeth.
They swim upright, shimmering along like some weird monster worm or snake like creature.
Considered a delicacy by some southern Queensland and New South Wales anglers, a whole winter fishery exists to target these fish in the Hawkesbury River (NSW) during their winter run. According to the scientists they are not supposed to be up this way, but I can assure you they are and are very common captures from the deep holes in our estuary during the winter months. They prefer clean water and only appear to enter our estuary system during the slow moving tides and the better weather conditions.
Fish of over 1 metre long are quite common. They will readily take live or peeled prawn baits, as well as sardine and strip fish fillets. A simple dropper rig or running sinker rig is OK (fished on the bottom is best) while some fish have been known to hit the bait on the drop. Hook up rate is poor due to their mouth structure and large teeth, many live baits are destroyed without actually hooking up.
The fish should be bled immediately and can be gutted and just cut into pieces. The shiny “skin” removed by scraping with a hard hessian cloth or similar.