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Fishing on the Wild Side

Fishing on the Wild Side

Mike Fry doesn’t only live on the Wild Side of Tasmania, but also goes fishing in probably the wildest boat ever to troll for trout—certainly in Tasmania. 
When your mate says ‘What are you doing tomorrow, want to come up the Gordon for the night?’ it would be pretty hard to say anything else except “you bet” and start checking out your tackle box and packing your overnight bag. But if your mate was Troy Grining and he wanted to give his new 52ft, high speed cruiser a run across Macquarie Harbour, test the new onboard dory with a chance of landing a nice Gordon River Brown you would have to feel privileged. I didn’t say anything about getting on my hands and knees and kissing his feet…just having a lend of ya’ but I did feel very appreciative.

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Winter Warehou

During the winter months a lot of anglers pack their rods and reels up and go and do some much needed gardening and house maintenance which normally has been neglected over the summer months. But all you anglers out there, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Blue warehou can be caught throughout the winter months. They are great fighters and excellent on the table and in my opinion are the best eating fish in the estuary when eaten fresh.

 
Tides
When snotties are really on the go they will bite at any stage of the tide, but after many trips at targeting snotties there seems to be more of a trend of catching fish at low tide. The moon phase doesn't seem to effect the bite whatsoever. Try and concentrate in areas, which are out of the main stream of the current. They tend to hang in feeding bays especially in the Tamar. You will catch them in fast water at times but the slower water seems to be more consistent.  These slower areas are where jellyfish and other prey of the snotties get trapped.
 
Rigs
When targeting snotties keep everything nice and light and in scale. There are certain areas that you do have to use heavier tackle such as Deviot pontoon. The chain under the pontoon becomes a real hassle when large fish are about. A heavy fast tapered rod and 6000 reel spooled with 7 kg line should be adequate in stopping the big trevally before they get you on the chain. A 20 LB trace should also be used in this situation. Sabiki rigs are great on small snotties but when larger fish are about stronger hooks will be needed such as Black Magic KS size 1. In most situations a far lighter rig than this will be needed. Your trout outfit will be fine and should be rigged up with a Surecatch sabiki rig with a bomb sinker on the end.

Bait
There is much controversy about what is the best snotty bait. Some people believe white bait is the way to go and some people prefer chicken breast but I prefer to use snottie trevally flesh. It stays on well and snotties seem to be little cannibals and they love it.
 
Berley
This is a very important part to being a successful snottie angler. Berley is used to lure the fish to your baits. Sometimes large amounts of berley is the way to go. Snotties don't seem to get over fed like some other species. My preferred berley mix consists of layer pellets, old bread and tuna oil. If you are fishing in deeper water a berley bomb is a great advantage for this lures the fish right to your bait. Also a good tip is to let your sinker hit the bottom and then wind up a meter or two off the bottom. Snotties tend to hang in the middle reaches of the water column.

Times
There is no real rule to the time of the day. I think the tide is more important. I also know a certain angler who has caught snotties in shallow water late at night.
 
Locations
The Tamar has many good snotty trevally locations as does the Rubicon. When they come into our estuaries they tend to scatter and there are no certain hotspots. They tend to hang around an area for a short period of time and then move onto another area. Half the fun is finding where this is. Don't get stuck in a rut and fish the same spot over and over again when maybe they are not there. The best advice that I can give you is too not to fish too deep. Snotties tend to hang around in water depths of around 5 to 10 meters of a day. And try to keep out of the current. There are many good locations for snotties.  One that has produced a remarkable number of fish over many years is the Stanley wharf.

Rods and reels
A light snotty outfit that I would recommend would be a 6 foot 6 Ugly stick gold or a Daiwa heartland rod matched up with a Samurai 2500 7I or a caprice 2500 reel. A good heavy outfit would be an ugly stick BWS 1101 or a Daiwa eliminator rod matched up with a Daiwa Kaster 5000 or a Daiwa Capricorn 4000 reel.
One of the most important tips of snotty fishing is to keep your ears to the ground, read the newspapers and listen to radio shows as this will give you the information on where the fish are and when they are biting. You can hear Damon Sherriff's statewide fishing report on ABC Radio Saturday morning at 6.20 a.m.
Good Luck with the snotties.
Damon Sherriff.    

Fish Facts
Blue warehou, seriolla brama
Common name: Snotty trevally, Tasmanian trevally, warehou, snotty.
Distribution is from central NSW all of Tasmania and to mid Great Australian Bight.
Adult warehou inhabit waters from 50 m to 400 m and are a schooling species usually aggregating close to the sea bed. Older juvenile warehou are often found inshore are are frequently associated with jellyfish.
Warehou can reach a length of 75 cm and mature in 3 to 4 years. Should be eaten fresh as flesh spoils quickly.

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