Prawns Make a Run

Some Myall Lake prawns brought back by Tilligerry locals after a successful outing up the river.


MYALL Lake prawns always bring a higher price than the school prawns from the Hunter River.

In fact the professional prawners who seek them are limited in number.

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They actually go into a draw for numbered stations down the river. Hauls can be patchy with no set time for the prawns to run.

One professional a few years ago caught a mere 30 kilos one night but the following night netted some 500 kilos (half a tonne!)

The ‘Dark’, those nights before the rise of the full moon in the summer months, is the most popular time and, as it’s holiday season, ordinary folk get in on the act as well.

They use a wide, open mouthed net with a lead line attached to poles to sweep the sand flats and shallows.

A tall person is a great asset as you can keep them on the deep end and cover more ground.

In opening the pocket you must be careful not to go near the dreaded bullrout, a small fish with poisonous spines which is often caught up in the net.

A lot of fun can also be had with a scoop net and a bright gas lantern, particularly when amateurs work in pairs.
A novel, ‘February Dark’, was written around the Myall Lakes prawners.

Port Stephens is closed to prawning west of Soldiers Point but when conditions are right over the Christmas holidays, the Mallabula sand flats are still popular with a few locals and visitors who risk the wrath of the fishing inspectors.

Currently at the Wallis Lake Co-op, king prawns retail for $40 per kilo with the Wallis Lake variety bringing $20 and the more fancied Myall Lake type some $30.

Rather than joining in the rush at Easter and Christmas, you can save money and time by buying prawns in the off-season and freezing them.

Finally, a tip for those wanting to have a dip for them: Wait for a couple of windless days as this will ensure clear water where you can easily see the prawns.

Also, scoop them from behind as when threatened they flip backwards.

Aluminium foil, covering the back of your pressure light will reflect the beam forward and keep it out of your eyes.

It’s very wise to check the regulations regarding net sizes and the ‘no -go’ areas with Fisheries before you venture out.



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