Giant Bundaberg prawns bigger than a stubby

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Tackle World's Tim Mulhall caught this cracker of a leader prawn which reached a length of over 25 centimeters.
Tackle World's Tim Mulhall caught this cracker of a leader prawn which was more than 25cm long.

They can grow bigger than a stubby and are often mistaken for lobsters but these giant creatures are actually prawns and they're being caught in waterways around Bundaberg.

Photos of leader prawns have been circulating social media, with local fisherman comparing their biggest catches from the Burnett River and ocean surrounding the region.

Leader prawns are from the banana or tiger prawn family, so named for their massive size and they role they play in a school of prawns.

Tackle World's Tim Mulhall has seen a fair few of the giant ocean dwellers in his time but said the elusive creatures were not an easy catch.

“You could go out on 100 fishing trips before catching one,” he said.

“They are usually among schools of banana prawns and are called leader prawns because they are the leader of the pack, their size makes them the king of the family.

“You might get one or a couple in each school and if one of them is eaten by prey, another banana prawn will begin to grow in size to take charge of the leader position.”

Tim said although leader prawns could grow to an impressive size, they're not as tasty as an average prawn.

“They are really large but quite tough so they don't make for good eating,” he said.

“While normal-sized banana prawns are clear or cloudy in colour, the leader prawns can be quite dark and muddy looking.”

Tim said he had caught a few of the prawns in his time, with one reaching well over 25cm in size.

“It's always a big surprise when you pull one into the boat,” he said.

“Some of them are the size of a lobster.”

Jardel Franklin with a massive leader prawn caught in waters off Moore Park.
Jardel Franklin with a massive leader prawn caught in waters off Moore Park.

Leader prawns found in rivers and oceans

The prawns have reportedly been caught from the Burnett River and locals have also pulled them in straight from the ocean.

Fisherman Jardel Franklin said he caught a massive leader prawn while commercial fishing off Moore Park Beach.

The prawn was the length of Jardel's forearm and without looking too closely, could be mistaken for a crayfish due to it's gigantic size.

“It was 265 grams in weight,” he said.

“I usually come across about five or six big ones in probably four to five days.

“Up north they catch heaps around this size.

“They call them u10 meaning under 10 prawns to the pound.”

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