Sci: Scomberoides commersonnianus and S. lysan

Common Names: The queenfish or "queenie" is popularly known in the Northern Territory and other parts of tropical Australia as the "skinny fish" or "skinny". In other parts of the world, this species or closely related fish are also called leatherskin or whitefish. Several species or queenfish are found in our waters, although S. commersonnianus and S. lysan are by far the largest and most important.

Description: The common queenfish (S. commersonnianus) is a long, fairly deep and extremely laterally-compressed saltwater and estuarine fish of tropical waters. Its typical colouration is typically dark green along the top of the back, and metallic-silver to silvery-white on the flanks and belly, sometimes with a yellowish tinge. A series of oval-shaped blotches forms a broken line along each flank.

Size: Most "queenies" caught by anglers weigh from 0.8 to 8 kg, with occasional specimens up to 10 or even 12 kg and very rare giants of 15 kg or slightly more.

Distribution: This tropical fish is rarely found in large numbers far south of the Tropic of Capricorn, although stragglers are sometimes taken in Hervey Bay and even Moreton Bay, in southern Queensland. They also turn up in reasonable numbers in and around Shark Bay, in Western Australia.

Fishing Techniques: This exciting sport fish falls for live baits, dead baits, fish strips and pilchards or garfish on ganged hooks, as well as various lures and flies. With lures, the emphasis should be on movement and speed, which will excite the queenfish. Fast trolled or rapidly-retrieved sliced chrome lures, poppers, spoons, minnows and saltwater flies are all excellent choices. A wire or heavy monofilament nylon leader is advisable when pursuing queenfish, as their hard, sharp-edged jaws and small teeth can easily damage light nylon fishing line.

Eating Qualities: Although sometimes denigrated in the tropics because of the ready availability of more "glamorous" table fish , queenfish have firm, white meat with an excellent flavour, although tending towards dryness. Smaller specimens are not generally popular because of the very thin fillets and excessive wastage. Queenfish should be bled and iced after capture.


By Steve Starling