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As the a busy Spring holiday season draws to an end in Queensland, you’d can be forgiven for thinking it was actually the Summer holidays given the perfect, hot days with huge crowds of families on the beaches and in the waterways.  It was pleasing to see many families fishing together in the Maroochy River and also spending time at places such as SunCoast Barra Farm.  With large numbers of people fishing came several good weigh-ins, identification of species and many reports of the one that got away!

What was disappointing was witnessing some anglers ignoring legal limits and bag limits.  Many anglers who have been caught in the act of keeping undersize fish have been known to use the excuse “The size limits change so often, that I just can’t keep up!”. This week the focus will be on educating anglers who may not be aware of the current size and bag limits which were revised in March this year by the DPI.  If you feel you may not be up-to-date or the words “bag limit” and “size limit” are completely foreign, then you must read on!

In all states of Australia, including Queensland, there are limits on the size of fish that can be legally taken and this varies from species to species. There are minimum size limits and also some maximum size limits as often the larger, more mature fish of a species are the breeding females and need to be left alone to continue on the reproduction of a species.

Size limits are not just a random number pulled out of a politician’s hat!  There’s much calculation over time based on biological research into each species´ reproductive cycles. The DPI state that minimum size limits generally allow fish to spawn at least once and contribute to the population before they are taken. And in some species the larger individuals contribute more to the population, which is why maximum size limits apply. Flathead for example release spawn at their most mature size and most barramundi begin their lives as males and later, as they grow larger, become females. A maximum size limit is applied to protect large females and to allow them to spawn.

A bag limit is the number of fish that one person can legally take and keep. These limits serve several purpose including; conserving heavily-exploited species, conserving species that are susceptible to capture, sharing the catch more equitably among anglers, reducing the illegal marketing of fish and sending out a message promoting ethical and responsible behaviour when using a limited natural resource.


Measuring  the bag limit is as simple as counting the number of legal-sized fish you have caught and wish to take home – there is no excuse for keeping in excess of the legal bag limit and anglers caught doing this are simply greedy.

To measure the legal size (length) of a fish a ruler is a must as guessing is just risky.  The fish needs to be measured from the tip of their snout to the end of their tail (not the inside of the concaved tail but the longest most point). With crabs the measurement is across the carapace, from the widest most tip on the left to the widest most point on the right.  If you unintentionally take a fish that is not the legal size or is unwanted, return it to the water immediately, taking as much care as possible to avoid causing injury to the fish.

Though many of the key species caught in the river this year are limit-less or have had very little variance in bag or size limit, below are the most recent regulations for local estuary species:

Mud crab – 15cm min for Males, Bag limit of 10

Sand crab – 11.5cm min for Males, No bag limit

Sand whiting – 23cm min, Bag limit of 30

Bream and tarwhine – 23cm min (though changing to 25cm in March 2010), Bag limit of 30

Dusky flathead – 40cm min to 75cm max, Bag limit of 5

Trevally - No size limit, Bag limit of 20

Luderick – 30cm min, Bag limit of 10

Mangrove jack – 35cm min, Bag limit of 5

Jew/Mulloway – 75cm min, Bag limit of 2

Dart – 30cm min, Bag limit of 30

Tailor – 30cm min (though changing to 35cm in March 2010), Bag limit of 20

Goldspotted and blackspotted rockcod (aka estuary cod) – 38cm min to 120cm max, Bag limit of 5

If we all abide by the legal size and bag limits while taking it it our stride to educate future generations of angler and ever re-educated our angling friends who may not be quite up-to-date with current regulations, then together we can all fish for the future!



Noosa: Tailor, dart and a few whiting along the North Shore and Teewah beach.  Mangrove jack, trevally and flathead between the Lakes.  Whiting and bream in the river mouth and Munna Point Bridge area.  Jew and a few flathead also along the Tewantin reach.

Maroochy: Tailor along the beaches at night, a few jew to 5kg at the Yaroomba Rocks. Whiting and flathead around Cotton Tree, the Black Bank and also the mud bank in front of Eudlo Creek entrance.  Trevally to 1.5kg  between the Cod Hole and Chambers Island. Flathead and mangrove jack near Dunethin Rock and Petrie Creek.

Kawana: Bream and dart along Kawana Beach. Golden trevally and a few big-eye trevally at La Balsa.  Bream, squire, sweetlip, flathead and tarwhine along the rockwall. Bream on soft baits around the moorings and sand crabs near the mouth.  Mangrove jack in the canals.

Caloundra: Queenies on live bait inside Caloundra bar. Flathead in the shallow channels that lead to the bar.  Trevally, small snapper and tailor off the rocks at Moffat headland.  Tarpon at Pelican Waters canal, a few mangrove jack in Coochin Creek and put the pots in this weekend around the upper reaches!



1. Mark McNaughton from Brisbane holds up a thumper 3kg teraglin jewfish (legal length: 38cm min) caught at Double Island Point on Charterboat Cougar One (with thanks

2.       Corey Schembri is cvautious to only keep flathead between 40 and 75cm – including these two from Bli Bli area.

3.       Gary Gardiner weighed in this 5.4kg tailor from Teewah which was well and truly over 30cm legal length.



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