Listy modelling shirt

By-catch……or just a little curious?

Regular visitors to the Lair may recall that some time ago The Woodsman (Dave Wood) and I (Listy) submitted a short article to the Lair about by-catch in fisheries research – see it ( We even boldly suggested a competition for the best by-catch item which could net (ha!) somebody a prize. And now, at the end of June, it’s time to follow through (fnar!) and pick a winner. I’ve let Woodsman do that – he’s got a better eye for these sorts of things (apparently – although I just reckon he didn’t want me to award the win to myself).

To recap, “by-catch” refers to other aquatic or semi-aquatic creatures/things we catch in our sampling equipment. These things may tell us just as much about the waterbody under investigation as the target fishes, because:

  1. Fish may eat them
  2. They may eat fish

Please note that fisho’s are legally required (with good reason), to employ measures that minimise the risk of death to by-catch in our sampling routine – such as fixing the ends of nets above the waterline for air-breathing things, or regular checking of equipment to remove by-catch. We at the Morays Lair endorse these precautionary measures.

We’ve had plenty of entries. There were some crackers (literally), and some bottlers too!

Crackers and bottlers

Here are the contenders in order of ‘intrigue’ score (a completely unscientific, very subjective scoring system from 1-10).



SCORE: 11 WINNER! (Pic. Dave Morgan) Most people set nets to catch aquatic organisms, Dave Morgan and Steve Beatty set theirs in search of potential partners. Looks like this trip was a winner, although the victim looks a little deflated at the prospect of being caught!

Dave will need to keep an eye out for the post as he will soon be the proud owner of a limited edition “The Morays Lair” fish-finger t shirt (ably model by Listy below) for his ‘catch’.

Listy modelling shirt

[Editor's note: Listy not just an intellectual colossus]



SCORE: 8 RUNNER UP! A stick… big deal you might say. But how many sticks have you had in your net that have a word as awesome as TECHNODOUCHE and a smiley face drawn on it? Uber cool! (Pic. Thomas Espinoza)


Morgs and Freshy

SCORE: 7 This toothy critter was a little bit snappy (fangs very much) after being trapped for a while. (Points were deducted for working in a dangerous location to start with- it’s just not fair on the rest of the competition) (Pic. Supplied by Dave Morgan but taken by a Queenslander)



It may not have the fangs and menace of the guy above, but is certainly up there in the interesting stakes (Pic. Thomas Espinoza) SCORE: 7


Python Linklater

SCORE: 6 Sadly this slithery serpent is not orange and does not have bells attached (see Listys rant about snakes in the original By-catch post), luckily for it, two caring fisho’s were on-hand to release it (see pic below). (Pics. Danielle Linklater)

Linklater and friend

NOTE: If you are concerned about the knife, don’t be. It was used to cut the python free.


WaterRat Fyke

SCORE: 6 Rare to see one still trapped. Those teeth are like scissors and normally result in some pretty major net repairs. (Pic. David Wood)


Lizard Lure D Roberts

SCORE: 5 After trawling the brain cells Dave Roberts netted this little idea for a lure design. (While not actually caught in a net, there is a net in the background of this photo. Close enough for us!) (Pic. Thomas Espinoza)



SCORE: 5 This bloke is a bit crabby for two reasons, firstly he is 1000km from the ocean and secondly someone is hanging onto him. (Pic. Thomas Espinoza)