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New species of fish in Far North Queensland to keep its nickname the ‘blue bastard’

The elusive ‘blue bastard’ fish in Far North Queensland gets its name for its blueish sheen, and the fact it’s hard to catch.

But fly-fishermen have been catching the fish off Weipa since the early 2000s, without realising they were onto something pretty special.

They couldn’t find it in any of their books because they’d unknowingly discovered a new species.

Alan Philliskirk, owner of Fish’s Fly and Sportfishing in Weipa, told Ross and John anglers had been catching the fish for years.

It’s now been recognised as a new species – belonging to a family of fish known as sweetlips.

‘For a long time we’d been catching this fish and using it as a target species on the flat since early 2000 and just assuming that it was a different species that we get off shore called sweetlips,’ he said.

‘A guy called Peter Morse, a very well known fly fisherman in Australia, gave it the nickname of blue bastard because it was so difficult to catch and that it took a lot to actually eat your fly.’

While it’s since been identified and given a Latin name, it’s still called the ‘blue bastard’.

LISTEN: Fish’s Fly and Sportfishing in Weipa owner Alan Philliskirk