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Great success Saturday!

After rising at 6:00 am to go for a morning fish, all I could hear was wind and rain, but that didn’t stop me from going. I left at 7:00 am and walked to the lake. There was weed on top of the lake everywhere so it was making it hard to get casts in without getting weed on the lure. I fished for 2 hours more without a hit so I decided to head home for a warm up and some breakfast. But I wasn’t going to give up, so at 1:30 pm Samuel and I went for a fish at one of our favourite spots.

Time was going by with only seeing 1 fish and no hook ups, I was starting to doubt if I was going to get any until I saw a little shadow behind my lure. Next I felt a little tap so I striked and hooked a little brown 1.5 pound and 40cm long. I was happy because it was the first trout for the season.

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When you have finished for the day, why not have a brag about the ones that didn't get away! Send Mike an article on your fishing (Click here for contact details), and we'll get it published here. Have fun fishing - tasfish.com

Best Baits - Mussels

Part one in a series, by Phil Ellerton, on the best baits to use in Tasmanian waters.

 

As anglers, we don't often utilise out natural bait resources, than can often be readily found and gathered along many of our coastal ledges and reefs.

In Tasmanian waters the Blue Mussel is one of my favourite baits. Mussels are one of those baits that are easily accessible and most importantly constantly available.

I have been given the impression that anglers simply don't use Mussels because they are messy and often don't stay on the hook. The point is that the humble mussel is great bait and will catch a wide variety of different species.

Techniques

The first step is to gather the bait therefore low tide is essential. A suggestion is to use sturdy gloves when gathering mussels of the rocks. This is because of the sharp edges, which believe me can inflict some nasty wounds. After carefully scooping out the mussel from its shell the mussel should be kept as full and natural as possible. Note that it often helps to leave a little bit of mussel on it's shell as it will stay on the hook a little better.

The Mussel shells also make for suitable berley with the crushed shells working as a fish attractor with the silver shiny shell glistening on its descent to the bottom. With the smaller Mussels gathered that are too small for bait, theses are also good for berley when crushed and thrown in the water.

Target Species

Almost any fish species will readily accept a well presented mussel working for both pelagic and bottom feeding fish. Species which I have personally has success with are: bream, whiting, flathead, cod, trevally, perch, mullet, trumpeter, mackerel and even species as rare as sea run trout.

Normally when fishing for bream I use mussels as my first choice of bait. I have found a lot of the time bream will be extremely cautious being reluctant to take any bait presented although nevertheless will accept the humble mussel.

I have found that mussels are a good bait for the sand whiting, that enter a lot of our Tasmanian bays and estuaries.

Rigging and Gear

Simple spinning gear is all that is required when targeting fish with mussels. I prefer to use as light a line as possible, fishing from 1 kg to 3 kg. I will normally use a heavier piece of leader attached to the hook, preferring 4kg line. A rod of length between 6-9ft is all that is needed. Thread line (spinning) reels are the easiest to use especially when fishing such light line with little casting weight. Often I don't use any sinker, simply floating the mussel down naturally, therefore it can be taken either on the surface, mid water or on the bottom. If I use a sinker at all I use a running ball sinker, remember to use as little weight as possible. In regards to hooks I go no smaller than a size 8 and no larger than a size 4. I use the red chemically sharpened Gamakatsu, octopus hooks.

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