Fishing in S.E. Queensland



Stan McCosker was a keen fisherman.  He was concerned by the widespread poaching of sea fish, especially Whiting, below the legal size.  This was a hazard to fish stocks.  Here are newspaper articles from 1970, concerning this, and Stan's particular experience.




128 Oxlade Drive,
New Farm
28th April, 1963

Mr. Merv. McDonald, Fishing Editor, Courier-Mail


Dear Mr.McDonald,



For the past year my fishing mate and I have wondered why our catch in numbers, never matched the hundreds of others who fished at the same time. Our fishing grounds lie between Maroochydore and Scarborough.

We set out to solve the problem and saw the answer to our worry in the bags of fish, the fishing vandals brought in. We saw catches ranging from near hundreds down to the twenties. In one catch of 96, ( so the fisherman said-" like") which did not quite half fill the sugar bag, lying on top were three flatheads about the size of a fence lizard. Whiting directly underneath, were no larger than six inches at the most. In another catch of 22 ,mostly bream, not one made the legal limit; they were no longer than seven inches,

Probably it was our misfortune not to discover one catch, which in its entirety was of legal size, but our quick sticky-beaking survey showed, that most of the catches contained no more than 20% legal size.    

Excuses advanced for the bagging of tiddlers:-

The best, first “Granny is staying with us and she is 92-like- and she can’t last much longer- like- and whiting is so sweet and her favourite dish .like.”                                       

“Mum's old cat loves small fish”.

“Going beach fishing tonight and want LIVE fish bait”.

I met a character who had beheaded at lkeast a dozen wee whiting and 1 asked the reason and he said “well mate,if the bloody inspector does come, he has got nothing on me, for I haven’t a fish in my possession - only a part of one.


Another, a joker who holds down a well paid job in Brisbane, had an army haversack of fish, mainly whiting, the largest being no more than six inches and in reply to my questions "where did you get the whitebait” and "how do you cook such tiddlers" said "I scale, gut and behead them and put them through the mincer” and "what the L would you know about whitebait”.

Every one of the vandals knew he or she was not playing the game, but was giving it a go-"like”.

                         To me it appears useless depending on the un-supervised individual to preserve our fishing, but to inspect every catch I know is far beyond our resources.                '



However I do suggest that a large framed copy of the Regulations be compulsorily displayed in a prominent position in every boat hiring business and wherever fishing gear and bait is sold.

It might help, particularly, if in large lettering was a threat
a la so many Govt. forms, which warns in no uncertain terms the transgressor, with this:-       .


Sock the vandal where it hurts most.

I know full well that this would annoy the boat hirers, for they do not appear to be concerned about the size of the fish caught - it is the numbers they talk about and the story soon spreads. Hire a boat from Isaac- he's the bloke who can put you on to them, and the business prospers and the tiddlers suffer.

I enjoy your notes and wish they were longer.
Best wishes.


                                                    Stan  McCosker


P.3. An idea common most everywhere is that if a fish is 1/4 inch under the legal size, "it is jake as the inspector wouldn't be so lousy as to book a man for a paltry ¼ inch"..