ANGLERS are being urged to respond to the Department of Primary Industries review of NSW recreational saltwater and freshwater fishing rules discussion paper by the July 31 deadline, or face the consequences.
The department is proposing to reduce recreational bag limits on a raft of popular species.
While most anglers don't have a problem with bag limits on most species, Jason "One For" Nunn, from Fishermans Warehouse, queries the idea of further restrictions on teraglin (trag) and snapper.
"Why go down to two trag when five is working?" Jason said. "We're seeing more trags off the coast and it's been the result of responsible anglers only taking five. If they were endangered no one should be able to get any.
"On the other hand, commercial fishermen can pull up on a reef on any given night and catch 100 kilograms of trag. That is over-fishing.
"The government seems to be saying the rec catch rate is exceeding the pros."
Jason believes the answer is to leave the bag at five but increase the size limits of trag from 38 centimetres to 42 centimetres.
"That keeps the trag in the water longer to breed," he explained. The same goes for snapper.
"Very few anglers get 10 snapper these days. The bag limit is working - why reduce it? They should have a maximum length limit on snapper - still catch 10, but only take home one over 60 centimetres, for example. That keeps all the breeding fish in the system longer."
Jason worries that soon it won't be worth putting the boat in the water and heading outside.
"Guys will get out to a reef, get two trag in the first hit and that's it, you'll have to come home. What about the cost of getting out - the fuel, ice, bait? We're already paying fishing licence money, rego on trailer, rego on boat, bait, GST on bait - we're all contributing," he said.
"Most anglers are responsible and abide by bag and catch limits.
"Most fishing clubs have modified bag limits on top of existing regulations.
"So it's a bit hard to cop this new toe-poke kick in the guts.
"The same goes for kingfish: they want to reduce the limit to two, but who's out there catching five anyway?
"You've got to wonder who they consult when they come up with these limits.
"We need as many guys on it as possible because the review paper signals a real intent to proceed."
Jew ruling imminent
MULLOWAY are on the government's hit list too - but a separate list.
A Department of Primary Industry spokeswoman confirmed on Wednesday that a ruling on jew, separate from the current discussion paper, will be handed down soon.
"Mulloway has been kept separate from the bag and size limit review," the spokeswoman said.
"They have been up for submission for years in relation to stocking, and issues with sustainability.
"Data collection had been happening for some time and so it wasn't appropriate to include it in the current review paper."
Jason would rather they raise size limits on mulloway than cut down on bag sizes, but the feeling is a restriction of one jew per angler is in the offing.
Flathead move made
THE NSW government responded quickly to stakeholder concerns last week about unrestricted harvesting of flathead and left trip limits for NSW commercial fishers in place.
"I have asked the department to reinstate the pre-existing limits and to now work closely with the Commonwealth and stakeholders to develop effective, efficient cross-jurisdictional management arrangements," minister Katrina Hodgkinson said in a statement.
Top tailor season
WINTER fishing is going off with anglers reporting the best tailor season in years, with big runs off local beaches from Blacksmiths up to Fingal.
Seems to be a pendulum effect working in Lake Macquarie too, with salmon numbers down and tailor up.
Up to five kilograms, that is, according to some sources.
"Jumpin" Johnny Frith has been tearing into bream and reports good numbers of healthy travelling fish up to the one kilogram mark making their move.
Mixed into the catch have been consistent numbers of flathead, jew and whiting.
Younger angler action
AROUND the traps, the Herald Fish File welcomes four-year-old Amethyst Ward to the club.
Amethyst caught her first fish ever at Karuah Jetty this week, a nice little bream.
Five-year-old Sage Mullins caught a cranking 40-centimetre whiting on a cooked prawn off the jetty at Wangi Wangi.
Another five-year-old, Jacob Ehrenreiter, got a handy 30-centimetre bream in the lake, his first keeper.
Off Newcastle, Ben Smith on the aptly named boat Escape Pod outfished his old, bagging a handy 1.5-kilogram snapper with his first bait and a nice big flattie.
Meanwhile Zane Hartin got a lesson in the ways of the food chain when his bait was snaffled by a live yellowtail, which was in turn snapped up by a bonito at Fishermans Bay.
Check out these pics on the Herald Fish File, along with Jets midfielder Ruben Zadkovich, who hooked a beaut Spanish mackerel on Elcho Island, in the Top End, while visiting his brother.