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Early season - Bob McKinley

Presented from Issue 105, August 2013
Bob is a professional fishing guide and guides for trout and estuary species. Check him out at www.fishwildtasmania.com

There are several things we look for in our early season trout waters. It is still winter and cold, so some of the things to consider are: Altitude as this dictates the water temperature and therefore feeding activity. Food for the fish. Availability of trout food is generally dictated by the quantity and quality of weed beds.

Quantity of fish.

Three waters which I believe fit all three requirements are:

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Tamar River calamari

Damon Sherriff
Southern calamari and cuttlefish are one of my favourite species. They are both fantastic to eat and make great bait. Although calamari are related to the arrow squid I am sure that calamari are far smarter! They can be a real challenge. They go off and on the bite at the flick of a switch. In my opinion they are far superior on the table as well.

Southern calamari are also a great sport fish on light tackle when they approach two to three kilos.

Squid Jigs
Everyone has their own favourite squid jig and their own favourite colour. I have mine and this is how I rate them.
Ozzie Tackles, Mini and tiger prawn are my favourites, they are very strong and have a stainless steel wire which connects the eye of the squid jig to the extra heavy guage hooks. The bottom set of hooks are larger than most other squid jigs. They have a strong fiberglass smooth body and come in some great colours. My favourite colours are green, red and white and chartreuse. They are not the cheapest squid jigs in the world but they are great. The mini prawn works better when the squid are a little bit shy.

Pioneer Power Squid
This is a fantastic and economical version of the ozzie tackle tiger prawn. It has a hard smooth plastic body. They have a moulded swivel connection and inserted hooks. This makes it not quite as strong as the tiger prawn but it is half the price. This makes it a great alternative in snaggy areas. The power squid comes in three great colours; pink, blue and lumo. They have a great reflective body and realistic eyes. They come in two sizes; 3 inch and 3.5 inch.

Mako Tackle Pro Shrimp
This is a unique cloth finish jig in eye catching colours. Weight balanced for superior swimming action. They are available in five colours and two sizes; a 3 inch and 3.5 inch. My favourite colour is red veined blue in the 3 inch size. They are priced around $9.

Pearl Bellied Squid Jig
This economical squid jig is very popular because of its price. It has a pearl essence body on top that squid and cuttlefish find irrresistable. They come in four great colours. All colours work on the right day. They are a traditional cloth prawn style squid jig. I like the small 2.5 inch size for calamari when they are touchy. They cost around $3 each which make them a great squid jig for kids.

Baited squid spikes
This is another deadly way to catch squid and cuttlefish. They are a long metal rod which you spike through your bait. The best baits are W.A pilchards, flathead. mullet and salmon. You can still fish a spike mid water to the bottom. Both of these depths are productive. No action is required when using a spike but attention to your bait is important as pickers such as small leather jackets can sometimes strip your spike.

Locations

Pier pontoon
This is one of the best locations to catch squid land based on the Tamar. There is a sea grass bed that runs down the north side of York Cove which makes it an excellent spot. This year I have seen some fantastic squid catches taken off the pontoon. I have even popped down one lunch break and caught 4 in half an hour.

Low Head breakwater
This is another great land based squid spot. Squid can be caught all over the break water but the best place seems to be right at the end and casting into the Mariner side, or after dark at the pilot boat light which attracts bait fish which in turn attracts squid. This is a great place to fish and good bags of calamari and cuttlefish can be taken here.

Habitat
Calamari can be caught anywhere but to consisitently take good bags a little knowledge of there habitats comes in very handy. Look for shallow sea grass beds in no deeper than 8 meters. Cuttlefish are normally found in the same area but are caught a little deeper. Squid spawn during the spring. The females lay their eggs in the sea grass beds. These areas are excellent spots. Masses of males and females school up around this area to protect their eggs. Reefs can also be a good spot to catch squid. When spinning with a squid jig a slow lift up and wind down is the most productive although there are many different techniques if you are fishing off shore in a boat drifting, no action is required as the movement of the boat is often enough to do the job. This way you can use a couple of rods by yourself. Anchoring can also be very productive, especially if there is a high concentration. You will often out fish an area quickly. Once this procedure is done you should re-anchor and repeat the process. When drifting and the calamari are a bit touchy it might be necessary to use a smaller squid jig such as a 2 inch or 2.5 inch. If this is the case run your squid jig on a paternoster rig with a long leader. This will get your small squid jig in the strike zone.

Tackle

A simple light 2-4 kg spinning outfit is all that is required. I like to use gelspun line when I am out drifting as it gets my light 2 inch squid jigs deeper.

It has been an unbelievable season so far on squid and most anglers have experienced great catches of squid and calamari. Try a slow drag and wind for best results.

Other places
What works in my backyard will also work in other places. Try my techniques and you will jhave a lot of fun - and get a good feed.

Damon Sherriff

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