Salmon, Threadfin

(Polydactylus sheridani)

Commonly referred to as Threadies!

The thread fin salmon is a highly prized northern creek species that has gained the reputation of an out standing sport fish with great eating qualities. They are also referred to as giant thread fin due to their large size. Its fantastic golden colouration and prominently large whiskers give the thread fin a very unique appearance making them one of the most highly sought after northern creek species available.


Thread fin salmon can be encountered in W.A. waters from as far south as Port Hedland right up through the magnificent Kimberley region and also throughout northern Queensland and the Northern Territory.


Thread fin salmon can grow to well over one meter in length and weigh as much as 15kg in weight although most fish commonly encountered around Australia average around 4 – 6kg.


Thread fin salmon inhabit salt water estuary systems throughout the top end of Australia and prefer warmer waters of around 20 C plus. Like estuary most species threadies love to hang around structure, mangrove systems, rock bars, deep holes, channels, even wharf and jetty pylons will all hold fish at certain stages of the tide. Coastal areas where rivers meet the ocean and even rocky outcrops and headlands will also hold salmon at times as will coastal sand bars and mud flats.


Thread fin salmon have commonly been mistaken for the smaller, blue nosed salmon which is a green, blue to grey colouration with smaller whiskers and a pointy nose.  The giant or golden thread fin as their name suggests have a golden colouration with yellow fins and a large mouth that has a pair of rough leader wearing lips. The body is thick and muscular towards the shoulders then tapers down towards its large, powerful forked tail. Threadies also have an amazing set of long whiskers which they use to detect prey in murky water.

Taste rating

  • Eighty Taste Rating

Thread fin salmon are fantastic eating. Most northern anglers prefer them to Barra!

Sport rating

  • Ninety Sport Rating

Thread fin salmon are one of the most prized northern creek species available and are a worthy opponent in any anglers book!

Tackle requirements

Most anglers prefer to target northern estuary species such as salmon with short, robust, bait caster style or spin combos spooled with 20 – 30lb braided line joined to clear nylon or fluorocarbon leaders of around 60 – 100lb. Low profile bait casters are typically used to throw lures in tight situations and larger profiled reels with greater line capacity are better suited for larger areas for live/dead baiting. Rods should be robust enough to pull heavy fish from cover yet also have the sensitivity to cast light lures accurately. Gel spun lines such as fire line are also well suited to northern estuary fishing as they are extremely abrasive resistant compared to most braids and will generally hang in there a bit tougher than most lines when they come into contact with structure. Longer rods and spinning reels can be used to target salmon from shore when extra casting distance is required. Bait runner style reels are best suited for this as they allow a fish to swim off with a bait without feeling any reel pressure before the hook is set.

Recommended baits, lures and rigs

Live and freshly cut mullet would have to be the ultimate northern estuary bait with live prawns also proving to be deadly. ( Please check with your local fisheries department for regulations on legal bait collection methods) There are hundreds of  lures on the market today with hard bodied minnows still proving to be the lure of choice whilst targeting most northern creek species. Soft plastics and surface lures will also work at certain times with the key to lure choice being what ever style you choose make sure it is –

1 – Going to be visible to the fish in the water colour you will be faced with at your desired fishing location?

2 – Going to have the correct swimming action to entice a fish into striking?

3 – Going to be able to swim at the correct depth the fish will be hunting at?

4 – Going to be the correct size for the fish to attack?

5 – Going to be strong enough to land the fish or do you need to make modifications such as attaching stronger treble hooks etc?

You will obviously need to take a variety of lures with you to use in different fishing scenarios for instance if fishing on a full moon at night in calm conditions take heaps of black surface lures or when fishing around deep snags take heaps of deep diving hard bodies and soft plastics for trolling and casting. When the water is cool and the fish don’t seem to want to bite lures try using live and dead baits.

The simple live or dead bait rig is ideal for targeting northern creek species of all sizes and at most locations.

Handy hints and tips

When fishing for  thread fin try fishing the incoming tide and place your lures or baits where the dirty water is just deep enough for fish to feed in as the tide rises.  Salmon seem to always feed at your feet as the water moves in with the tide. Deeper holes and channels will also produce fish at low tide.

Preferred fishing times and tides

Rising and low tides are best suited for targeting thread fin salmon in most northern locations.


[What The Fish]