Largehead Hairtail

Trichiurus Lepturus
Largehead Hairtail - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Trichiurus Lepturus
Other names Australian Hairtail, Cox's Hairtail, Cutlassfish, Hairtail, Northern Hairtail, Ribbonfish
Size Up to 2.3 m (7.5 ft)
Weight Up to 2.8 kg (6.1 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters, estuaries, silty & muddy areas
Depth Range
Largehead Hairtail Distribution

Interesting Info

  • Largehead Hairtail are a schooling fish, found in tropical and temperate coastal waters throughout most of Australia.
  • They are nocturnal predators, rising to the upper water column at night to feed and back to the sea bed during the day.
  • Largehead Hairtail are carnivores, feeding on smaller fish, crabs, prawns & squid. Older fish tend to only eat fish including juvenile Largehead Hairtails.
  • Estimated lifespan is around 15 years with maturity at around 2.
  • The main predators of Largehead Hairtail include sharks, larger predatory fish & cannibalising adults.
Species Interaction

Commercial & Recreational Fishing

Largehead Hairtail are a popular recreational fishing species as they are a strong fighting fish and taste great. They can be caught from shore or boat in the evenings when they are most active. They are a highly targeted species throughout the world with trawlers.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Trichiuridae

Genus: Trichiurus

Species: Trichiurus lepturus

Conservation Status

Based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Largehead Hairtail are currently categorised as “Least Concern”(LC).

LC is the lowest category on the scale for risk with “Extinct”(EX) being the highest.

Fish Taste Quality

Largehead Hairtail are a great table fish, popular throughout the world. Often served grilled or fried.

Taste Rating: 4/5

How to catch
Largehead Hairtail

Catch Difficulty: Intermediate

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig, Ganged Hook Rig, Artificial Rig

Bait: Crab, Fresh cut flesh baits, Herring, Lures, Pilchards, Prawns, Squid, Slimy Mackerel, Yellowtail Scad

Technique: Keep bait close to the reef/structure, Slowly sink bait towards bottom, Cast lures close to structure

Popularity: Popular

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