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Sea run trout tactics – Craig Vertigan

Sea run trout tactics – Craig Vertigan

During the trout off-season I tend to spend a bit of time chasing bream, to continue getting a fishing fix, and spend time tying flies and dreaming about the trout season to come. It’s a time to spend doing tackle maintenance, stocking up on lures and dreaming up new challenges and goals for the trout season ahead. When the new season comes around I usually spend the first few months targeting sea runners. Sea run trout are simply brown trout that spend much of there lives out to sea and come in to the estuaries for spawning and to feed on whitebait and the other small endemic fishes that spawn in late winter through spring. Mixed in with the silvery sea runners you can also expect to catch resident fish that have the typical dark colours of a normal brown trout as well as atlantic salmon in some of our estuaries that are located near salmon farm pens. Living in Hobart it is quick and easy to do a trip on the Huon or Derwent and is a more comfortable proposition compared to a trip up to the highlands with snow and freezing winds to contend with.

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113 arthurs high waterPresented from Issue 113, December 2014
Many lure fishers started their fishing at Arthurs and consider it one of the most reliable fisheries in Tasmania. Professional lure maker Justin Causby gives his tips.

Trolling on Arthurs can be broken down into three areas. Open water, structure and the Morass. I’m personally not one for trolling open water very often. The fish are out there, and they show in very good numbers in early mornings as they feed on midges from the evening and night before. But once the sun hits the water or the fog clears they go down, usually deep. You see very little sign of them on sounders despite seeing many scores of tell-tale rises all over the calm water at dawn.

If targeting the open water I’d suggest running a three rod spread; one shallow and two deep to start, either lead-line or downriggers. The later still largely out of favour in Tasmania, despite being a mainstay on the mainland for the legion of trolling anglers.

The Morass area always has been and remains a very popular trolling ground. Yes there is some drown timber and you may lose a lure or two but they bottom here is a great depth and covered in some seriously good weed beds. Weave your way through the timber paying close attention to your sounder. You should be looking for weedbeds, outcrops or reefs etc. All these areas will hold fish, the weedbeds in particular. Your shallow running line will take fish but if you can set up a deeper running line and have it around a meter off those weedbeds you’ll find some very good success.

Looking for structure as mentioned, Arthurs has an abundance of trees. Trolling the edge of these tree lines will be a very good starting point. The old sand lake has some well-defined edges that in some instances also coincide with drop-offs and put together provide some excellent fishing opportunities. The islands that divide the lake also provide great structure and also stimulate weed bed growth as the lake bed rises giving way to the optimum depths for underwater life.

Trolling I only use Tassie Devils and colours 106, S11, 72, 94 and 102 are favoured colours. Run either shallow or deep. The lure action is very good and you know very quickly if you’ve picked up weed when working close to the bottom targeting those feeding fish.

Lure casting

By far the most rewarding and successful way to target fish away from the fly is throwing hardbodies. Everyday can be different at Arthurs but a few tips to point you in the right direction. Early in the day at first light you really need to be casting hard in to the shores. Very close in fact. You can begin to work out a little deeper as the sun rises. The eastern bank of the Cowpaddock is a hot spot. It’s sheltered from the rising sun and offers longer than usual fishing in the peak time. This edge of the shore is relatively weed free compared to the rest of the bay. Good numbers of fish can be found here. Either side of Brazendale Island are also very good. Particularly at high levels such as now. Hydro Bay into Phantom Bay also offer exceptional fish at times. Fishing to the rocky shores and among the drowned kero bushes can be very exciting.

Creely Bay and Tea Tree Bay offer very similar fishing. Both a very good depth they can produce throughout the day.

There are some good weed beds out from Tumbledown Creek that are worth prospecting, both sides of the tree line can offer good fishing. The eastern shore is when compared to the rest of the lake very stark but don’t discount it. Often bearing the brunt of the wind, this can turn the bite on as with any lake.

That’s probably the best tip to follow. When things are tough and you are out of options always try the windy shore. It might not be very comfortable but more often than not it can produce the goods. But not always, and that’s why we keep going back.

Favourite lures to use.

Well there are so many quality picks to choose from these days. Local brand Cranka Lures have several good colours, Golden Trout and Rusty Gold are great colours. Nories Laydown minnows are very popular in the trout colour and black and gold. Smith Panish have some very nice colours and actions along with the Daiwa Presso and Hawk Snipers. Confidence is the best lure in the box so go with what you feel first.

Justin Causby

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