It's an unusual time of year to be talking about dusky flathead, but new fishing rules set to be introduced in NSW have put the species firmly on the agenda.
NSW Fisheries recently announced long-awaited changes to the bag limit for dusky flathead, and have also introduced a new 'slot limit'.
The daily bag limit has been decreased from 10 flathead per person to five. And a 'slot limit' of 36 to 70cm means anglers can only legally keep fish within this size range.
The slot limit has been a long time coming and will help protect large breeding female flatties, which are typically over 70cm long.
In saying that, most recreational fishers I know have abided by an informal slot limit for years - this just cements it into law.
The bag limit changes are well considered, too - five flatties per person, per day is plenty.
These new rules only apply to dusky flathead - the species of flathead most commonly encountered in our estuaries.
It does not apply to sand and tiger flathead, which tend to inhabit offshore waters.
The next sensible step would be to ban - or severely restrict - commercial netting in our coastal rivers and lakes. But that's an argument for another day.
The changes come into force on August 1. For more information visit dpi.nsw.gov.au.
Speaking of estuaries, the pick of the fishing across the region continues to be in the South Coast inlets.
Systems north of Batemans Bay have been muddied by torrential rain, but those to the south remain clear and fishable.
Salmon, tailor, bream and trevally have been the order of the day, with holidaying anglers reporting plenty of action around the estuary mouths.
It looks like the salmon in particular are going to hang around all winter - they're providing hours of fun on bait, lure and fly.
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