KNOWING how to measure your catch accurately is important to ensure it complies with size limits.
And this Saturday you can take home a FREE fishing ruler with your paper, so you'll need to know how to use it.
Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district manager Brett Depper said there was often debate among fishers about how to correctly measure their catch.
New South Wales anglers are no exception.
"The correct way to measure a fin fish is lying on their side and measuring from the tip of their snout to the end of their tail," Mr Depper said.
"The fish should not be manipulated in any way when measuring. For example, fishers shouldn't pinch the tail together to lengthen a fish's overall length.
"A sturdy ruler or coil tape measure with an end stop on it is the most accurate tool for measuring fish.
"By having an end stop, it means the fish can be put against the edge for accuracy.
"Measuring devices which are adhesive or flexible should only be used as a guide.
"Stick-on rulers and similar devices sometimes shrink when exposed to the weather so are unreliable and could give an incorrect measurement.
"If a fisher catches an undersized or unwanted fish they should return it to the water immediately, taking as much care as possible to avoid causing the fish any injury."
Mr Depper said mud crabs were measured from point-to-point across the widest part of the shell and must be a minimum size of 15cm across the widest point of its carapace.
The size of a blue swimmer crab is determined by measuring the distance between the notch immediately forward of the base of the large lateral spine of the crab on one side of the crab, and the notch immediately forward of the base of the large lateral spine of the crab on the other side of the crab. Blue swimmer crabs must be a minimum of 11.5 cm from notch to notch.
"The easiest and most accurate way to measure a crab is with a crab gauge, which can be found at bait and tackle shops," Mr Depper said.
If you suspect illegal fishing, whether you see it in person or online, report it to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116.
Get your free ruler with Saturday's paper! More information, HERE.
Five reasons to go fishing this weekend
IF YOU'RE a regular weekend fishing warrior, down at the jetty or on the water, we don't need to tell you twice to drop what you're doing and head out for a fish.
But if you always find yourself 'too busy' or 'not too keen' to throw in a line, we're about to change your mind.
Here are five reasons to head out for a fish this weekend (if you actually need one):
1. It's good for the soul: A lot of us spend five days a week stuck in an air-conditioned office in front of a computer, or doing some hard yakka in the sun. This weekend, melt all that away and head to the water for a relaxing, and fun, fish. Fresh air, sun, salt and getting in touch with nature is exactly what your body needs to de-stress and recharge.
2. It's the perfect family activity: The kids will love it, the parents will too, and even grandma and grandpa will have a ball on the water's edge having a crack at reeling in a keeper. What better way to get the family together than a fun day in the great outdoors. Get the kids off the iPads, mobile phones and computer games and into nature's playground.
3. Free dinner: If you're lucky, you'll go home with the freshest dinner around. For those who don't think they eat fish, have you ever had it straight from the ocean, caught that day? If not, chances are you're about to change your mind about how you feel about fish.
4. It's fun: If you've never caught a fish before, you're in for a treat. Even if you don't catch one all day, you'll still have stacks of fun trying.
5. You have your free lures and ruler to try out: You would have got your free packet of lures with last Saturday's paper, and you'll get your free ruler this weekend - so you better test them out!
Now if that's not enough of a reason to hit the water (or convince your other half why you should), then we don't know what is.
Holy mackerel! Snag these amazing giveaways including a $2500 fishing trip
IF YOU'VE been living under a rock the past couple of weeks and haven't heard about our whopper fishing giveaway, then prick your ears.
We're giving away a bundle of the best prizes we could muster, and we know you'll be more than stoked with what's on offer.
Check it out:
1. Win the Ultimate Fishing Adventure for you and a mate, worth more than $2,500. Enjoy a full-day Odyssey Charter fishing adventure on the Sunshine Coast with tackle, travel costs and accommodation included. To top it off, we'll throw in a $1000 BCF voucher. All you have to do is collect two tokens (published in paper each day until February 17), attach them to your completed entry form (published in paper Saturdays and Wednesdays until February 15) and post to the address listed on the entry form. We've got one to giveaway in our region, so a local is guaranteed to win - get your name in now.
2. Last weekend we gave away a FREE packet of fishing lures with the Saturday paper. This week, we've got fishing rulers to give away! Grab the paper this Saturday and swap the token inside for your ruler at a local participating newsagent.
3. Win a $5000 BCF voucher. We've got a whopping $5000 BCF voucher up for grabs for one lucky winner across the ARM footprint. Imagine the gear you could get with that! To enter, just head online between now and February 17 and enter your details.
Head HERE for more information.
Allowed size for popular catches
WHEN on the water, it's important to play by the rules, especially when it comes to legal size limits for your catch.
Size limits are in place to ensure we don't ruin the ecosystem by taking fish that are too young, too old, or in some cases likely to keep breeding more marine life.
All fish have exceptions to the general rule with various species having different minimum take-home sizes. To be used only as a guide, here are some rulings for popular catches: