Triple tail

(Lobotes surinamensis)

Commonly referred to as Triple tail!

The triple tail is an enigmatic tropical sport fish that is often encountered by anglers casting lures and fly’s around mooring buoys and other large, floating objects. They are famous for their airborne antics once hooked and are considered to be one of the prize species our northern waters has to offer.


Triple tail can be located from as far south as Onslow right up through the magnificent Kimberley region throughout Western Australia and also parts of Queensland and the Northern Territory.


Triple tail can grow to around 10kg in weight and reach lengths of up to a meter although a typical sized triple tail is around 3 – 4kg in most northern Australian locations.


Triple tail are found in shallow reef, sand and mud areas with water depths ranging from 1 – 50 meters with smaller, juvenile fish generally encountered in estuary systems and shallow bays.


Triple tail can be easily recognised by the abnormally large soft dorsal and anal fins which create the illusion of tree tails, hence the name. The body colouration varies from a yellow colouration in juveniles to a dark chocolate brown with silver sheen in adults. There is also grey, mottled markings on larger specimens.

Taste rating

  • Seventy Taste Rating

Triple tail are highly regarded as a sport fish and are generally released by most anglers although they do taste very good!

Sport rating

  • Eighty Sport Rating

Triple tail can be dirty fighters amongst certain structures and are a definite sporting challenge on any light outfit!

Tackle requirements

Light to medium spin or overhead tackle is well suited to targeting triple tail from shore or from boat with light braided, gel spun or nylon lines with a breaking strain of 20 – 30lb proving ideal. 40 – 80lb fluoro carbon leaders should be attached to bright braided or gel spun lines to prevent fish from seeing the line and also to help prevent chafe offs on rough structures, teeth and jaws. Salt water fly outfits are also well suited for chasing these magnificent sport fish and should be rated between #8 – #10 depending on the size of fish encountered.

Recommended baits, lures and rigs

Most lures such as soft plastics, hard bodied minnows and sub surface stick baits are all deadly on this species in shallow waters as are a large range of small to medium sized salt water fly’s. Baits can also be used to target triple tail but most anglers prefer to cast lures or fly’s at floating structures.

Handy hints and tips

Casting lures and fly‘s at floating structures such as passing logs and mooring buoys is a sure way of locating triple tail in warm, northern waters!

Preferred fishing times and tides

Rising or full tides are best suited for targeting triple tail around most areas although some deep water locations will also produce good numbers of fish during low and falling tides. New moon phases are also preferable for most fish species including triple tail.


[What The Fish]