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G'day all.

So I was at Currumbene Creek near Huskisson fishing with my Alvey estuary setup using salted pillie cubes on a 1/0 suicide hook, short 10lb fluro trace, swivel and sinker onto 12lb mono.

I was casting into a drop off, pulled in a coupla small fatties and a couple of 40cm models, when I was hit by a beauty!

It put up a good fight and when landed and measured, came in at 79cm ... pb btw. No photo as I left my phone at home.

I know that it is best practice to put them back in the water, so I did. Heart pounding, shaking and sweating, shitting myself that I'd get spiked, but off she swam.

Now. I REALLY wanted to keep her for a few photos and to feed the fam but anyway, back she went.

I want to know, if it is best practice to release them, then why is the law that you can keep one over 70cm in NSW? Why not just make it that you can only keep 'em between 36 and 70cm?

I read on a forum here that not all big ones are females, approx 25% are actually males, and there is a way to assess gender by rubbing the abdomen. I'm not sure how prolific 'regular' sized fatties are at breeding, but if there are large ones releasing up to a million eggs and others producing a healthy amount as well, then surely the creeks are well stocked?

Just asking as I seek to learn.

Thanks raiders.

Edited by ParaPaul
Misspelled
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The experts on this Forum will keep you informed. Especially the why's Etc. Etc.

Cheers.

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The myth that flatheads change sex is untrue. However the females do grow larger than the males. So the larger models are more likely to be female and therefore good breeding stock. Make a decision you are  within the law to keep a big one. 

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23 minutes ago, blaxland said:

The myth that flatheads change sex is untrue. However the females do grow larger than the males. So the larger models are more likely to be female and therefore good breeding stock. Make a decision you are  within the law to keep a big one. 

Correct.

From what I have read males tend not to grow more than 58-60cm, so anything you catch bigger than that is more than likely to be female. 

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Thanks fellas,

I understand that I am within the law to keep a big one, I  guess that after reading a few horror stories of people being roused on by fishos for keeping instead of releasing made me feel that I didn't want to be 'that guy'.

I feel that keeping one big one to feed an extended family is more economical than 4 or 5 small to medium fish, everyone loves a feed of flathead at $45 or more per kilo from the fish shop ... AND you get to use the bones and all for stock or soup, no wastage.

Although the law allows to keep one at over 70cm, I hear of people being called out for doing so. Has the DPI got it wrong? Should the law be changed to 40 - 70cm keepers only?

Confused. 🤔

Edited by ParaPaul

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Laws don’t make things right, kingfish for example in nsw don’t breed until 80plus cm from memory but the size limit is way under that.

if it’s known that flathead above 58-60cm are pretty much all females then it is a good idea to return them to the water imo regardless of what the law says.

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1 hour ago, ParaPaul said:

 Should the law be changed to 40 - 70cm keepers only?

. 🤔

No.

If you want to keep a big one, do so. I usually don't keep many over 60cm.

Many years ago I ate one that was  86cm - it was a bit chewy and not much flavour, so I don't keep the big ones. As I have spent much time catching and eating fish - about 60 years - I have tried many fish species, and their different sizes, to find what is good eating and what is not.

Around the 45 to 55 cm mark make for good eating. I have released many large flatties over the years from Port Hacking and there are still some big ones there. Just keep releasing them.

The largest male flattie I have seen was about 65cm.

 

Edited by Yowie
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ParaPaul, firstly what a great little system Currumbene Creek is and good to hear you got a nice fish from it.

Rules are rules mate and don't feel guilty if you want to keep a big one here and there, you're doing nothing wrong.

I've caught plenty of large flathead from St Georges Basin over the years and have copped my fair share of abuse for letting them go by the "kill and Grill" brigade, so damned if you do and damned if you don't. I kept a big one once that died before I got it to the boat and to be honest it horrible, very dry and tasteless. I guess that's the same reason we pay big money to eat lamb instead of mutton.

I agree with others, 99% of flathead over 60cm would be female, but I have also caught undersize fish full of roe. No matter how big the fish, if the belly looks fat, I hold them up to the light and if they're in roe you can see the orange inside them. Personally, I release all roed fish, but that's just me.

The lesson to be learned here is next time, don't forget your phone/camera haha.

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29 minutes ago, Green Hornet said:

ParaPaul, firstly what a great little system Currumbene Creek is and good to hear you got a nice fish from it.

Rules are rules mate and don't feel guilty if you want to keep a big one here and there, you're doing nothing wrong.

I've caught plenty of large flathead from St Georges Basin over the years and have copped my fair share of abuse for letting them go by the "kill and Grill" brigade, so damned if you do and damned if you don't. I kept a big one once that died before I got it to the boat and to be honest it horrible, very dry and tasteless. I guess that's the same reason we pay big money to eat lamb instead of mutton.

I agree with others, 99% of flathead over 60cm would be female, but I have also caught undersize fish full of roe. No matter how big the fish, if the belly looks fat, I hold them up to the light and if they're in roe you can see the orange inside them. Personally, I release all roed fish, but that's just me.

The lesson to be learned here is next time, don't forget your phone/camera haha.

Haha, mate I deliberately left it behind in order to be uncontactable for a few hours 😁. Next time I'll take my gopro for the money shot.

Your 'lamb vs mutton' comparison makes perfect sense, my thoughts were along the lines of taking one big fish vs 4 to 5 regular sized is more environmentally friendly.

Cheers.

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It's a personal choice mate and the rules are the rules. Personally i don't keep flathead over 70cm's and do tend to encourage those i fish with to do the same. Convinced my grandfather to let a 73cm fish go and he still hasnt forgiven me 3 or 4 years later lol

For the record ive only ever had to make the decision once with an 83cm model

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