Commonly referred to as Queenies or skinny‘s!
The mighty queen fish would have to be one of Australia’s most spectacular sport fish. They are well known for their acrobatic performances when hooked and are often located in pristine environments making them a truly unforgettable angling experience. There are typically two species of queen fish encountered in Australia with the larger talang variety proving to be the more common and popular. The current world record for talang queen fish stands at 39lb 7 oz and the Australian record is held at a staggering 14.59kgs!
Talang queen fish can be encountered in W.A. waters from as far south as Carnarvon right up to the magnificent Kimberley region and also from Queensland up into the Northern Territory.
Talang queen fish can grow to a staggering 16kg in weight and measure well over a meter in length although most queenies encountered throughout Australia average around 4 – 6kgs. The current world record for talang queen fish stands at 39lb 7 oz and the Australian record is held at 14.59kgs!
Talang queen fish prefer shallow sand flats with near by access to deeper water with large numbers of small bait fish present, they also frequent areas such as jetty’s, in shore reef systems and estuary’s. Queen fish can also be encountered in deeper water to 30 meters when spawning and are often taken as a by catch whilst trolling for mackerel and coral trout etc.
Talang queen fish can be easily recognised by their 5 – 8 distinctive grey blotches located above the lateral line running horizontally down the side of the fish. They have a powerful deep forked tail and a bright silver body with green/blue shades across the shoulders, back and head. The mouth is full of small, sharp teeth designed for holding and swallowing small bait fish whole. Queen fish are also known as skinny’s or leather skins due to their extremely thin build and tough leathery skin which makes them a perfect trolling bait or teaser at smaller sizes!
Talang queen fish are best known for their fighting abilities rather than their eating qualities although they are quite nice when pickled!
Queen fish are a spectacular sport fish in anyone’s book!
Light graphite rods in the 3 – 6kg range, around 6’ in length matched to spin reels in the 2500 – 4000 class spooled with braided or gel spun lines with a breaking strain of 6 – 10lb are ideal for casting lures both from the shore and out in the boat for Queen fish. Trolling for queen fish is also a popular technique and requires a light overhead or spin combo spooled with 4 – 8kg brightly coloured nylon or braided line. Small lever drag reels and light rods are ideally suited for this exciting style of fishing. Queen fish do have small, sharp teeth so light nylon or fluoro carbon leaders are generally required to prevent bite offs and wire proving totally unnecessary for most fish. Queen fish are also a fantastic target species for salt water fly out fits which should be rated to between 7# – 9# depending on the size of queen fish being targeted.
Live hardy heads, small mullet and whiting will all make great live baits for fussy queen fish, try fishing them on light nylon leaders and running sinker rigs. It is also important to match your hook size to your bait. Small hard bodied lures 10 -20cms in length are ideal for both casting from shore and trolling from a boat at around 4 – 6 knots for queen fish with metal slices, soft plastics, surface lures and fly’s all proving to be incredibly effective on this veracious species. Surface lures such as poppers and stick baits are not only especially effective but also visually spectacular when launched upon by large, powerful queenies!
Polaroid sunglasses will help considerably when trying to see queen fish on shallow sand flats and in rougher conditions.
Early mornings and late afternoons into evening are the preferred feeding times of most fish species including queen fish. Generally if a rising tide coincides with dawn or dusk the fishing can be red hot!