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 2.4 fish/fisher/day in 2018 so far
    • Mackay ranked 9th in the state for Dusky Flathead Catch Rates
    • A decline in Commercial Catch Rates reported, dropping from 8.5 kg/day (2016) to 6.5 kg/day (2017)


    Quality of the Fish

    • Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys reported the average size of flathead caught in 2017 was 525mm, which is an increase from 495mm in 2016
    • Mackay Ranked 3rd in the State for size of Flathead (based on Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys - based on min 100 fish reported)


    Community Attitudes

    • 53% of legal sized flathead caught in 2017 were kept
    • 67% of fish reported were caught by locals
    • Mackay ranked 12th in the state for the number of fish released
    • The larger average size indicates pressure on the species is lower


  • Forecast

    Moderate Take For Consumption Advised

    • Boyne Tannum hookup catch rate between 1.2 and 1.6 fish/fisher/day
    • 95% of Yellowfin Bream in the Boyne Tannum Hookup will be between 490 and 530mm
    • Recruitment is unknown


    Heavy harvesting of Bream is not recommended, but a moderate take for consumption is unlikely to adversely affect stocks based on available data. Evidence from the Qld Fisheries boat ramp surveys suggests that most fish are released but with only a single year of data, this will need to be assessed as additional data is collected.

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

  • 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 Mackay regularly report catching Flathead with slightly more than half of legal size fish being kept. Monitoring began in 2017 and continues in 2018.

    • Dusky Flathead was the 21st most commonly reported species in Mackay in 2017
    • Average size of fish measured was 525mm
    • Fishers reported an overall catch rate of 0.1 fish per day
    • 53% of fish reported were released
    • Peak periods for Dusky Flathead catches were during June and September in 2017


    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 2.4 fish/fisher/day
    • Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys reported an average length of 525mm


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

    Local Sportfishers and Suntaggers


  • Commercial Fishing

    Commercial Fishing Catch

    Queensland 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 Flathead in Mackay (see Area Fished section) represents 1.45% of the total statewide catch. Monitoring is ongoing in 2018.

    • Commercial Catch rate is down slightly from 8.5 kg/fisher/day in 2016 to 6.5 kg/fisher/day in 2017
    • Number of active licenses has dropped from 21 in 2016 to 18 in 2017
    • Commercial catch in 2017 is down from 0.88T (2016) to 0.50T


    Mackay Flathead Commercial Catch Dashboard


  • Tourism

    Importance of Flathead to Tourism

    Flathead are not specifically a tourism drawcard but along with Whiting and Bream, they are an important species for any family visitors. Family visitors are more likely to target species that are easier to locate in a short space of time.


    Max, 4, Cody, 2 and Jack Cusack, 7- Fishing frenzy as the 2015 Boyne Tannum HookUp gets underway. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer
  • 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 Flathead:

  • Fishing Area

    Area Assessed

    Flathead are caught throughout the Mackay region. Recreationally, they are targeted in inshore areas (map grids N24 and O24 to O26). Commercially, they are targeted in offshore area (map grids O24, O25 and O26 to X24, X25 and X26). It should be noted that grid N24 covers most of the Mackay net free zone.