Precious Monsters

The dusky flathead in Port Stephens shake in their boots when the Coles family hit the water. 

At 105 cm this is the biggest flattie I have ever reported in the past 35 years and is testament to the efforts of all those who have been releasing big flathead back into the system.

Although it is legal to keep one flathead over 70 cms it has developed into an unwritten law in Port Stephens (and elsewhere hopefully) for the big duskies to be set free to breed. 

This sends a very clear message to NSW Fisheries to review the bag and size limit for dusky flathead.

I clearly recall when all big flathead were kept and paraded around as a display of great achievement. Times have changed and there is a greater awareness of protection of our natural resources. 

It is the next generation of fishers that give me confidence that the future is in good hands.

I had a chuckle when the Fisheries Minister suggested that allowing carp to be targeted by bow and arrow would lessen the environmental damage caused by the introduced fish. 

Having witnessed the numbers of carp I reckon that the impact would equate to throwing a rice bubble at an elephant.

Fishing writer, author and radio presenter John “Stinker” Clarke can be heard weekly, throughout NSW, on popular ABC Regional Radio fishing program “The Big Fish”. Check him out on or send an email to with your information and questions. 

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