Australian Hairtail


Hairtail are related to barracoutas and frost fish.  They are also known as cutlass fish and ribbonfish.

The Australian hairtail is a very silvery fish with a highly compressed, scaleless body tapering to a threadlike tail.  The dorsal fin is continuous from the back of the head.  The mouth contains a single series of razor-sharp compressed teeth in both jaws, the lower jaw being longer than the upper.  The upper jaw has two pairs of enlarged, barbed teeth in front and their are minute teeth on the palatines.

Hairtail tend to more in schools, this being obvious when a collection of fishing boats are grouped in a small bay.  When the fish arrive the action transfers from one boat to the next as the school passes, invariably returning to the first boat as the bay is circled.  This process continues until, for unknown reasons, they all suddenly disappear http://www.pre….ne.html.

Hairtail are seldom caught or seen during daylight hours or at periods of low tide.

Distribution – Large schools are infrequently found in coastal bays and estuaries on Australia’s east and west coast. Recreational fishers in NSW have traditionally caught this fish in Cowan Creek in the Hawkesbury River system just north of Sydney, with catches also recorded in Sydney Harbour and Botany Bay.

Size – Hairtail grow to a maximum length of 2.5m and approximately 5kg in weight.

Characteristics – Has a silver, ribbon-like body that ends in a thin whip-like tail. Hairtail have large, slashing teeth that should be avoided. They lack both caudal and ventral fins. Hairtail can be caught all year round though they are more commonly taken during winter months.

Information and image sourced from Sea-ex


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