Video: What the Heck is a Threadfin Salmon?


I have been in the fly-fishing biz for more than two decades, and I had never heard of a threadfin salmon until I saw this video today. It’s not actually a salmon, of course, but that’s a common name in Western Australia, apparently. The species is actually the king threadfin (Polydactylus macrochir), native to tropical waters of northern Australia and southern Papua New Guinea. They inhabit coastal estuaries, river mouths, and turbid waters.

In this video, famed fly-fishing photographer Peter Morse casts for this cool-looking species that seems to act a bit like redfish, cruising the shallows looking for food. Once hooked, they fight hard and put a serious bend in a fly rod. When they come to the bpat, they reveal a pretty odd (to use) body shape, blunt nose, and strange pectoral fins that are independent rays.

4 thoughts on “Video: What the Heck is a Threadfin Salmon?”

  1. A little more on threadfin for you. In Singapore/Malaysia/Indonesia, it’s a common food species called “Ikan Kurau” (though technically there are two species, the Indian threadfin and 4-fingered threadfin) and is commercially fished so sports anglers don’t see it very often.

    Threadfin use those peculiar whiskers to herd small fish and prawns forward towards the mouth, enabling it to feed well at night and in low viz. Threadies eat small plugs but are finicky and a natural for fly fishermen. Their shallow water habit overlaps with the more common barramundi. In my experience, threadies are a bonus fish rather than a target fish.

    They fight like hell, often running laps around the boat after a blistering first run. Most people prefer them to barramundi, which is another fine-eating fish, so it’s common to keep one for the table and then release the rest.

    Anyone considering fishing Australia’s Deep North should check with the camp operator to see if threadies are on the menu. They’re not common everywhere, and it’s worth going where they can be sight-fished in the flats abutting mangroves and tidal river and creek mouths.

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