Are you a bit confused about the catch-and-release code these days? What species are socially acceptable to fillet? What species should be set free? It’s enough to leave you holding your limp gaff in hand on the back deck, paralysed with uncertainty. Never fear, The Captain has written a new code so you know what to do when that billfish or bluefin comes alongside. It’s based on the world’s leading standard in social research – Facebook likes.





Image: Joel Ryan

All swordfish must die. After all, you woke at 3am, spent $400 on fuel and haven’t had more than 100 likes on a Facebook post for 12 months now. If you happen to catch one, kill it, then jump in its mouth if possible and start snapping away. Send the photo to as many editors of fishing and boating magazines as possible. There is a downside to killing one of these goliaths – your boat will be heeling to one side. In this event, it’s OK to kill another one to trim out the boat for a joyous ride home.

Note: Be sure to include words like “beautiful beasts” in your Facebook posts and definitely reference the “life-changing experience with best mates” as well as “tributes to my long- suffering wife”. By Facebook standards, emotional posts outweigh ethical posts by at least 20 to one.






All marlin must live. Even though you’ve been fishing for 20 years to catch a marlin, resist the urge to kill one and bring it on board. If you succumb, and have to post your marlin murder to Facebook, make sure you mention that the fish died “of natural causes” or that it “came up backwards”. Follow that post by mentioning that you and your starving family consumed every piece of meat, including the eyeballs, on the very same night. Under no circumstances ever freeze a fillet of marlin or you will go straight to Facebook fishing hell.





Image: Joel Ryan

All bluefin must die. Hanging a bluefin from the gantry is a guaranteed 100 likes on Facebook. A photo of you and your buddies bringing one over the gunwales will score an instant 300 likes. Hell, The Captain’s crew would – if only they could. Plus, you’ve got to have something to prove to Mrs Captain and your boss that the 24 hours of trolling on the weekend were 100 per cent worth it. If that’s not enough justification, just mention that those greedy Japanese long-liners have stopped plundering the Southern Oceans – which means, er, that you can.






All flathead must live. The humble and plentiful flathead has been a staple of Australian diets ever since Joseph Banks flicked out a Gulp! in Nuclear Chicken from the back of the Endeavour in 1770 and landed a nice 75cm dusky. Unfortunately, flathead is no longer a staple. Any flattie bigger than your forearm needs to be released. The main reason is this: it has babies. Yep, those ones breed – unlike giant swordfish, which as everyone knows are mysteriously created from seahorse dandruff. We recommend you spend over $10,000 on an Aquatech housing and a DSLR camera to get a shot of the friendly flattie boat- side, then post to Facebook for a solid 80 likes. Satisfied with your social-media handiwork, head to the fish market and spend almost $40 per kilo on some sweet flattie fillets. Go figure.