Home' Afloat : AFLOAT January 2018 Contents Take monthly with water January 2018 45
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Fishing for the future
Recreational fishers had some big wins in 2017. We’ve scored
more fish-aggregating devices or FADS in the saltwater, greater
stocking and remediation of our freshwater rivers and dams,
and landed some overdue recognition that we are interested in
protecting our fishing future.
The inaugural meeting of the National Recreational Fishing
Council in Darwin last November highlighted the important role
rec fishers assume these days in ensuring the sustainability of
Australian fish stocks, while also contributing to the economic
wellbeing of regional communities.
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne
Ruston, who convened the Council’s first meeting, praised the
recreational fishing sector for its commitment to sustainable
“Australia’s 3.4 million recreational fishers are essential
stakeholders and have much expertise to offer regarding the
balanced management of our fisheries. Recreational fishing
also makes an important economic contribution to regional
Minister Ruston also announced the Fisheries Research
and Development Corporation would conduct a comprehensive
National Recreational Fishing Survey in 2018.
“ We strongly value the views of our recreational fishers and
with this survey we’re seeking a much better understanding of
where, how, when and why they fish,” Ruston said. “ This data
will be used in future decisions about the management of
Closed seasons, slot lengths
and bag and size limits
Two utilised fish-management tools in this country are closed
seasons and slot lengths. Where fish are known to aggregate for
breeding purposes at set times each year, it can make sense to
curtail fishing to let them go about their business.
There’s been a lot of discussion about mulloway aka jewfish
in recent years and the fish stocks just aren’t what they used to
be. The fish needs greater protection, especially the big girls
and, at the same time, the smaller immature fish that are taken
before they have a chance to have babies.
This year, I ’m betting, we’ll see tougher restrictions on what
size jewfish you can keep. As it now stands, the bag limit is two
mulloway over 70cm in length. That needs to be upped to 80cm,
when 100 per cent of the fish are mature, with an upper limit of
say 120cm. Commercial harvesting and beach hauling of the big
breeders needs to stop. Now.
The trial Trophy Flathead initiative in NSW is a good example of
how Aussie anglers are taking responsibility for future fish stocks.
This unique angler-driven voluntary code of practice in St
Georges Basin, Tuross Head, and Lake Macquarie encourages the
release and tagging of ‘trophy’ sized flathead over 70cm in length.
The trophy fishery program will maximise flathead stocks,
provide enhanced angling opportunities and has the potential
to increase local tourism. Killing a big flathead or jewfish is
becoming frowned upon these days.
Holiday fishing tips
January is the busy month for wetting a line, but you’ll need
to bring you’re A game to score fish. Here are 10 tips to help
you catch a feed and have plenty of fishing fun this January.
1. Fish at dawn and dusk and rainy days
2. The first hour of the run-in tide and last hour of the run-out
tide are hot
3. Use a depth sounder to find the edge of the reef and sand
4. Use live bait over the reef edges, wrecks, FADs and
under water structures
5. Trolling deep-diving minnow lures around the headlands
6. Cast soft-plastic lures along the estuary flats
7. Try crabbing in 5-6m of water off beaches
8. Go prawning at night in coastal lakes
9. Trolling for marlin and mahi mahi in 60 fathoms
10. Try an all-night vigil in the estuary for big jewfish
One of the key things that separate the danglers from the
top anglers is persistence and patience. But this doesn’t mean
sitting all day waiting for the fish to come to you. Change things
up, try different lures and baits, and locations, staying active
until the fish are found.
January is a great month to take the kids fishing.
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