FLATTIE: A beast of flathead ready for release. Photo Contributed
FLATTIE: A beast of flathead ready for release. Photo Contributed Contributed

Closures in play now so take care to follow fishing rules

WITH the weather not looking too flash outside and the coral reef fin fish closures this weekend, plus the barra closure coming into play as well, it could be a good time to have a look in the estuaries for a common fish.

Whiting, flathead and yellow-fin bream are three of the most common takes for recreational fishers in Queensland and there are a few about.

You could also get yourself a nice muddy or two with the long-awaited rain giving everything a bit of flush out.

And if the weather and water keeps warming up there will be a few more mangrove jack about too.

The coral reef finfish closures came into play at midnight last Tuesday (October 29) and run through until Monday (November 4).

All the favourite reef species are off limits from Cape York down to Bundaberg during the critical spawning season. And Fisheries officers will be out and about to nab anyone silly enough to ignore the ban.

A Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry spokesman said the ban covered a wide variety of reef species and fines for taking these species during the closure were hefty.

"Fishes including cods, grouper, emperors, parrot fish, sweetlips, wrasses, coral trout, fusiliers, surgeonfishes, tropical snappers and sea perches are no-take during this time,'' he said. "There's an on-the-spot fine of $440 for minor offences, but if it's more serious they could find themselves going before court and facing a maximum penalty of $110,000.''

The barra closed season applies from today and runs through until midday on February 1 next year.

The closed season in the Gulf (of Carpentaria) began on October 7.

That means the Queensland east coast closed season applies to barramundi everywhere except in and from waterways upstream of Awoonga, Burdekin Falls, Callide, Eungella, Fairbairn, Fred Haigh (Lake Monduran), Kinchant, Koombooloomba, Lenthalls, Peter Faust, Teemburra, Tinaroo and Wuruma dams.

A take and possession limit of one barramundi applies during the closed season in all of the 18 lakes and dams listed; five when out of season.

And while you may catch a barra accidentally and carefully release it immediately without any penalty, you cannot target barramundi for catch and release during these closed seasons, as the stress of capture may prevent fish spawning.

So the word for this weekend is pump a few yabbies or catch a few worms and give those beautiful summer whiting a nudge. Or maybe a nice flattie on a lure.

Brimbo will eat just about anything - I was actually catching a few last weekend in a rock pool on cooked prawns from a left-over lunch!

Make sure you know your legal sizes and bag limits; flatties vary depending on the species, while summer whiting have to be 23cm for a bag of 30 and bream 25cm again for a bag of 30.

Make sure your muddies are bucks and 15cm at least across the carapace.