KEEN fishers are being warned to keep their knives in their tackle boxes or risk having to explain themselves in court.
It comes after an aspiring soldier narrowly escaped a criminal conviction for forgetting to pack away a knife after a fishing trip.
It's a story Hervey Bay police Acting Sergeant Richard Whatman is all too familiar with and one which he warns will nearly always have an unhappy ending if the owner of a knife cannot provide a "relevant reason" for having it in public.
On Friday, he stressed the hardline approach was not about ruining the fun for recreational fishers but an attempt to rid those with sinister intentions of a potentially deadly weapon.
The Hervey Bay Magistrates Court was told Jay Leslie Daniel, who was charged with possession of a knife in a public place, found himself on the wrong side of the law during a roadside breath test earlier this year.
A knife stashed under the driver's seat, a passenger with bloodshot eyes, and the presence of a maroon wig and heavy black jackets in the backseat caused police to suspect Daniel may have committed an unlawful act, despite the discovery of a tackle box in the boot.
Daniel's lawyer John Willet said all could be easily explained because the wig had been used for a State of Origin party, carrying jackets was standard in the middle of winter, the passenger had been welding - welding marks could be seen underneath the car - and his client had simply forgotten to remove the knife from the car after a fishing trip.
Magistrate Graham Hillan accepted the knife had probably been used for fishing but said the law was clear and fined Daniel $300.
Sgt Whatman said many fishers and hunters did not realise they were committing a crime by carrying a knife.
He said all knives should be stored, "safely and out of the public eye" and warned keeping them under seats or in door side pockets was "not good enough" and would attract a charge which carries hefty fines and up to one year in jail.