Dusky Flathead are a popular food species for all fishers as well as a popular target for sports fishers.

  • Overview


    Crystal Bowl GBR is aiming to examine 3 core measures across a wide range of species in the region:

    • Fishing experience (how many fish per trip)
    • Quality of the fish (size of fish)
    • Community attitudes (number of legal sized fish kept or released)


    Fishing Experience

    • Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys reported a catch rate of 0.1 fish/fisher/day in 2017
    • Local Sportfishers have reported a catch rate of 1.9 fish/fisher/day in 2018 so far
    • Bundaberg ranked 6th in the state for Dusky Flathead Catch Rates
    • A decline in Commercial Catch Rates reported, dropping from 5.22 kg/day (2016) to 4.78 kg/day (2017)


    Quality of the Fish

    • Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys reported the average size of flathead caught in 2017 was 483mm
    • Bundaberg ranked 10th in the State for size of Flathead (based on Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys - based on min 100 fish reported)


    Community Attitudes

    • 64% of fish reported at Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp surveys were released
    • 61% of fishers catching flathead in Bundaberg in 2017 were local
    • Bundaberg ranked 7th in the state in 2017 for the number of Dusky Flathead released


  • Assessment

    Moderate Take For Consumption Advised


    Flathead, Bream and Grunter have long been the staple of estuary fishing around Bundaberg.  Middling results for catch rates and sizes suggest that fishers are not enjoying spectacular results but fish are taken.  Bundaberg has one of the lower release rates for flathead (64%) which indicates there is harvest pressure.  Commercial catches have been on the decline since 2010. 

    Some caution should be exercised in targetting this species and reducing harvest pressure may be needed to improve catch results.

     NOTE: Moderate take means taking what is required for immediate needs.

  • Forecast



    Forecasting for Bundaberg will be completed and available for the 2018/19 financial year.

  • Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys - General Fishers

    Monitoring of Recreational Catch by Qld Fisheries

    Queensland Fisheries monitors boat ramps up and down the coast as a part of the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy. Fishers in Bundaberg regularly report catching Flathead with slightly more than half of all legal size fish being released Monitoring began in 2017 and continues in 2018.

    • Dusky Flathead was the 10th most commonly reported species in Bundaberg in 2017
    • An average length of 483mm was reported in 2017
    • Fishers reported an overall catch rate of 0.1 fish/fisher/day in 2017
    • 64% of fish reported in 2017 were released
    • 61% of the total catch was reported by locals
    • The peak period for Dusky Flathead catches in 2017 was during August


    Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys Monitoring Dashboard 


  • Sportfishers

    Dusky Flathead as a Sports Species

    Dusky Flathead are prized by Sportsfishers because they are an agressive species that respond to a wide variety of lures. Other species provide greater challenge, thus sportfishers tend to invest more time in the other species but when conditions are not ideal or a feed is desired, Flathead is an attractive option.

    • Local Sportfishers reported a catch rate of 2.9 fish/fisher/day in 2017 and 1.9 fish/fisher/day in 2018, so far
    • The most commonly reported lengths in 2017 were fish in the 401-500mm size range (75 fish) while in 2018, fish in the 301-400mm size range (12 fish) were most common


    A detailed snapshot of catch data by local Sportfishers and Suntaggers is available:

    Local Sportfishers and Suntaggers


  • Commercial Fishing

    Commercial Fishing Catch

    ueensland Fisheries monitors commercial catches up and down the coast. Commercial fishers are required to maintain logbooks of catch and report quarterly. The commercial catch of Dusky Flathead in Bundaberg (see Area Fished section) represented 4.2% of the statewide catch. Monitoring is ongoing in 2018.

    • Commercial Catch rate declined slightly between 2016 and 2017 with 5.22 kg/fisher/day and 4.78 kg/fisher/day reported, respectively
    • Number of active licenses has ranged between 25 and 35 over the last decade with 26 licences active in 2017.
    • Commercial catch in 2017 was 1.6T, compared to 2.3T in 2016.


    Bundaberg Dusky Flathead Commercial Catch Dashboard


  • Monitoring

    Monitoring of Flathead

    Data for this assessment has been sourced from:

    • Bureau of Meteorology
    • Local Sportfishers
    • Queensland Fisheries


    Here are links to all the monitoring pages for Dusky Flathead:

  • Fishing Area

    Area Assessed

    Flathead are caught in the estuary, creek and nearshore areas of the Bundaberg region. Recreationally and Commercially they are targeted in inshore areas (map grids T31, T32, U32 and V32).