Warning: This article is not for the weekend fisherman, the tourist, the impatient - or people who don't like the dark or the cold. So if you are any of the above, please turn over now!
Chasing big snapper in Tasmania is, in my opinion, the most challenging type of fishing anyone can undertake. Many people think I am one of the luckiest fishermen in Tasmania, but I disagree - I make my own luck. I seriously concentrate on targeting big snapper. When I say, big snapper, I don't mean 5kg fish, I mean fish over 8 kg plus.
Easter is nearly upon us and there are plenty of anglers busting to get out and have a fish. With good Friday a traditional fish eating day, many will head out to catch a fresh feed to eat and there are plenty of options, weather dependent, of course. Having said that, the long term outlook is looking pretty good for Friday, with a sunny day and light winds.
If you are looking for Tuna Eaglehawk Neck looks like the best option. A charter skipper informed us that there were some big fish caught early this week and we know of a huge one that was dropped on the weekend. St. Helens has been disappointing on the Tuna front this year but there are big Australian Salmon in the bay and Kingfish are still being caught. The other piece of news is that there are some good sized prawns in the bay. Silver Trevally, Bream and King George Whiting are also there in good numbers and will be sought after.
There are some good flathead to be caught out about 40metres off Sisters Beach and Burnie. They would certainly be there in other places but we haven’t had any other reports in. Gummy Shark are also there to be caught if you target them.
It was interesting to see that there was another huge Broadbill Swordfish, weighing 263kg, caught off the East Coast earlier this week. It’s certainly got a lot of Tasmanian Game anglers interested as well as a lot of interest from Mainland game anglers.
Gamefish have been scarce in the St. Helens area. Eaglehawk Neck however, has been good with plenty of large Albacore Tuna being caught well over the 20kg mark and a few bluefin up around 30kgs. There have also been some bigger Bluefin Tuna being caught in the far south around Pedra Branca, Mewstone and Maatsuyker Island. One Hobart angler landed a jumbo 112kg bluefin last weekend.
The March long weekend has arrived and there will be plenty of fishing to be done. The West Coast looks like it’s going to be fairly rugged weather wise asthere are westerly winds forecast. This will make the East Coast the better option.
If you want to check out the weather for the weekend have a look at the BOM meteorology website, click on Tasmania and then have a look at MetEye. This is a great tool to look at forecast wind direction and speed, predicted temperature and rainfall and you can also check out the predicted wave heights. It is a very useful tool and you can have a look at any part of the state at 3 hour intervals for 7 days.
There are some encouraging signs happening at the moment as far as fishing goes. With the weather becoming more settled it has allowed more fisho’s to get out and about and have a fish. There are a few grasshoppers on the water in rivers and this will only get better if there are more hot days. Saltwater is going well with Game fish being caught off the East Coast and gummy shark and flathead up this end of the state.
Those fishing the lakes have been finding fish a bit hard to find there are however some exceptions. If you can be in the right place at the right time there are fish there to be caught.
Eaglehawk neck is starting to build with some good sized Albacore Tuna being caught there last weekend. There were some good sized Bluefin caught further south near Pedra Branca. We also had an encouraging report of a couple of Bluefin Tuna that were caught in a net at Strahan. There were a couple more caught on rods and fish were sighted busting up on the surface. If the weather is reasonable the West Coast will be a good spot to try for a Bluefin.
The wind has been blowing from the East for a while now and while conditions have been less than ideal on the East Coast, West Coast conditions have been fantastic. Stripy Trumpeter are one of the species being targeted and there have been quite a few caught. School Shark, Gummy Shark and Blue Eye Trevalla have also been in the mix.
We had a report this week of a Stripy Trumpeter that was caught on a Dog Tooth Ika Knife Jig. This method of fishing that has increased in popularity on the mainland but has been rarely used down here in Tassie. Expect to hear more as Tassie anglers embrace knife jigging, slow jigging and micro jigging. Anglers on the mainland have been finding it is a very effective and fun way to catch fish.
Last year there were a number of Broadbill Swordfish caught off Eaglehawk Neck and St. Helens and it is set to continue this year. There was a good fish hooked and lost at Eaglehawk Neck this week and a couple were landed recently. With anglers targeting these fish there will be more caught and it seems that the pool of knowledge on how to go about catching them is increasing and being shared.
Well that’s the Australia day weekend gone for another year and by all reports there was a fair bit of fishing done even though the wind did its best to hamper everyone’s efforts. Hopefully it will settle and allow for some serious fishing.
Fishing in the highlands has been tough, mainly due to the weather, but there are a few places that are worth having a go at.
With only a week to go Christmas is looming very quickly. There should be quite a few new anglers out on the water judging by the number of junior combos we are selling. If you are heading out for a fish at Christmas please do it safely as no fish is worth your life or serious injury.
I was fortunate to spend some time fishing with Paul Worstling last week. He was in the North West of the state to film some footage for the next season of IFish. Paul was blown away by the quality of fishing we have here and I know he will be back to check out some more. We fished in the Smithton area and caught and released some big Flathead and King George Whiting and had a brilliant day out.
Judging by some of the chatter in the shop this week if seems that there was a lot of fishing being done last weekend. It’s a great thing that if you want to go fishing in Tasmania it is accessible to everyone. If you want to catch a trout there is a small cost involved in getting a licence and if you want to throw a line in the sea it’s free. All you need is some gear and you can fish as often as you like with little or no cost. The reward for this pastime is fresh fish for tea and it always tastes better when you catch it yourself.
There are a few reports filtering in from Arthurs lake that are encouraging. The fish are in good condition and one angler reported a mix of fish from 4lbs to 1.5lb footballs. There are some dun hatches occurring in the cowpadock area and these will increase as we move towards Christmas. Duns are also hatching at Penstock Lagoon and Little Pine Lagoon.
The wind is continuing to blow and it’s a recurring topic of conversation in the shop. There have been some opportunities to go fishing particularly in the early morning and those people taking advantage have been catching fish.
If you are heading up to the lakes to go fishing there is a very useful initiative for you to check out from Anglers alliance. They have installed web cameras at the following waters: Great Lake, Arthurs Lake, Penstock Lagoon, Lake Burbury, Little Pine Lagoon, lake Augusta, Brumbys Creek and Four Springs. The web address to go to is http://anglersalliance.org.au. You are able to see what the weather conditions are like from the start of the day through to the time you look at the site.
There is plenty happening in the world of fishing at the moment. The lake Burbury Fishing competition is on again this weekend and it is sure to attract a good number of anglers from around the state. The rivers are well worth a look and trout are starting to feed off the top. With the weather looking reasonable for the weekend I am sure there will be anglers out trying to catch Squid, Flathead and Gummy Shark.
If you are keen to have a fish in one of the coastal rivers the Inglis, Leven or Mersey are three of the main destinations. You can also grab an angler’s access brochure from a tackle store, for the Mersey and Leven rivers to help decide where to go. Small floating bibbed lures, blade lures such as celtas and soft plastics are all lures that will catch fish. Fly fishers should try flies such as Royal Wulfs, Red Tags and Adams patterns. There are plenty of alternatives.
There are a lot of anglers from the Burnie area looking forward to this weekend as it is the Burnie Show holiday on Friday and many use it as a start of their fishing up in the highlands. The weather can be changeable but it is generally when things start to get a bit warmer and Trout fishing starts to fire.
The road from Lake Augusta to the nineteen lagoons area is now open so there is easy access to the area. It’s one of the premium Trout fishing locations in the state and I expect there will be a few folk from Burnie there on Friday. The IFS have advised that to road is better condition than the past few years and they have requested that anglers stick to the speed limit to keep the road in good condition.
Some of the weather that we are getting lately is almost unbelievable with relatively calm days and very little rain. It seems there are a lot of anglers taking advantage of the conditions and wetting a line.
I was down at Sisters Beach on Sunday and the target for the morning was Calamari Squid. We got onto a few good ones and I have been experimenting with a method that I was told about a while ago and it has been fairly successful. It basically involves hanging a squid jig under a polystyrene float and using a small silicone rubber float stopper to set the depth. The advantage of this is you can set the depth so your squid jig is just above the bottom which leaves it in the strike zone and it also results in less jigs being lost. It worked for us and it is a method I will persevere with.
The next two weeks are the last hurrah for the Brown Trout season and many anglers organise a “last trip” of the season in this time. The Great Lake is well worth a try as there has been some really nice fish caught recently. The Great Lake has plenty of Rainbow Trout and if you are lucky enough to catch one, they normally put on a spectacular show leaping out of the water in their quest to escape. Swan Bay is a good spot in the evening if you strip a large wet fly or a dark spinner.
There has been some fantastic fishing around the traps over the last week. Last Friday we got word that there were some more Bluefin Tuna caught out off Strahan. Sunday was looking good so I got a crew together and headed down the West Coast. We were not disappointed. The weather was good and before long we had a Bluefin on board. We looked for birds working as they are usually a good indicator of where the fish are. The big surprise for the day was an Albacore Tuna over 20 kg. We finished with three Bluefin and one Albacore.
The weather was very unkind to those fishing in the Pirtek Fishing Challenge last Sunday and conditions were nothing short of atrocious. The results will be announced on Saturday and we are all hoping that anglers from the North West Coast are among the prizes.
There is some good news coming out of the Eaglehawk Neck area because there were a few Bluefin caught last weekend including a 127kg Jumbo sized one. Everyone has their fingers crossed that it is going to be a good season and there will be plenty of fish about.
I was interested to read that the IFS are going to be doing some electro fishing surveys in some of our rivers. There has been quite a bit of talk recently with regard to the number of cormorants that are around and their possible effect on fish numbers. Anecdotally, rivers that have been prolific producers of trout in the past have in recent months produced low catch rates. The IFS will electro fish the River Leven, Tyenna, Russell, Mersey, St Patricks and Meander rivers to ascertain the density of trout and the spread of size classes. The methods used will allow comparison of previous results from surveys conducted in the 1990's, 1980's and 1970's. The report will be released about March this year and should make interesting reading.
I had a trip down to St. Helens on the long weekend and the wind that has been blowing from the west followed me down there and blew from the east. We did get a good days fishing out on the shelf on Monday and managed to find a few Gemfish.
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