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Sea runners - Early Season Excitement - Christopher Bassano

Presented from Issue 100
Considering the world class quality of our sea trout fishery, these fish are not sought after by enough anglers. Sea runners live in the salt water and run up our estuaries and rivers from the start of August to the middle of November. At this time of the year, they are here to eat the many species of fish that are either running up the rivers to spawn or are living in and around the estuary systems. Trout, both sea run and resident (Slob Trout) feed heavily on these small fish which darken in colouration as they move further into fresh water reaches.

The majority of these predatory fish are brown trout with rainbows making up a very small percentage of the catch. They can be found all around the state but it would be fair to say that the east coast is the least prolific of all the areas. They still run up such rivers as the Georges (and many others) but their numbers along with the quality of the fishing elsewhere make it difficult to recommend the area above the larger northern, southern and western rivers.

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Fishing in the city

I spotted a small fish rising to a hatch of snowflake caddis in the far side of the pool. My cast was only average but it did not take long for the fish's little eyes to light up and gobble down my caddis imitation. After a quick but lively fight I'd released my fourth trout for the evening.

Where was I? I was only ten minutes from the city of Launceston, in the middle of the Cataract Gorge, just down from the First Basin.

Launceston must be regarded as one of the most practical bases for the world class trout fishing Tasmania has to offer. Only an hour and a half away are lakes that hold some of Australia's biggest trout, and the northern rivers, which are closer than the lakes, are in a class of their own.

I am not calling a one pound fish from the Basin world class fishing, but when they are only walking distance from most people's offices they are a lot of fun. I spend hours catching these lovely little (and not so little) fish after a hard day at school during the long, calm summer evenings, (it's a good thing that none of my teachers are into fishing and will not read this because instead of fishing I should be doing homework!)

Duck Reach

The Cataract Gorge is not the only place that provides exciting and rewarding fishing so close to town. Duck Reach has literally thousands of trout that will readily take a lure or a fly. The biggest I have taken out of there is only around a pound and a half, but if you want non-stop visual trout fishing then try Duck Reach.

Techniques at Duck Reach are easy. Usually spinning with very light gear gets the best results. Lures to try are Rapalas, Celta's, and the smaller cobra like lures. Don't be afraid to change your lure if the trout are following, but not taking it.

A certain level of fitness is required as all of the fishing that is done is on rocks that can be slippery.

Fly fisherman can also have success at Duck Reach. When the fish are smutting on the tiny mayflies they can hatch out a small dry fly will bring best results.

The trout can also be caught when they are taking snails from the bottom. A fly such as a very small black beetle often initiates the snails very well.

Worming or using bait at Duck Reach is not recommended because of the large numbers of eels that inhabit the deep pools. In my opinion fly fishing or spinning is the most sporting and is an enjoyable way to spend an evening.

A word of warming when fishing Duck Reach, if the water level starts to rise then get out immediately as the whole area can flood very quickly.

10 pound sea runners

Fishing for suburban trout does not only mean little fish. The Tamar holds many double figure sea runners, that are hard to catch but well worth the effort.

The sea run trout are in the river chasing Whitebait. They can be spotted usually around the edges of the Tamar sending schools of Whitebait fleeing for their lives as the trout ambush them.

Places to try for large sea runners include Hobblers Bridge, The Trevallyn Tail Race, Kings Wharf and around Kings Bridge area.

Fly fisherman have most success in hooking sea runners. A fur fly or a whitebait pattern has the best results.

When fly fishing look for the fish chasing whitebait and put the fly on his nose.

Spinning can also be effective. The fish are not that fussy on lures; just as long as it in some way represents a small fish or a whitebait.

Lake fishing

The last trout spot that is worth mentioning is Lake Trevallyn. Fishing with a wet fly around the grassy shores at the back of the lake can often be deadly. As dark approaches, however, caddis flies will often hatch and fish will feed on these well into the night.

Spin fishers can also have success casting from the shore with one of the many cobra style lures that are available today. Bait fishing also has its rewards for the patient angler.

Leave work and catch tea

The beauty about these very close trout is that you can be out of work, changed (take your gear to the office), and fishing within ten or fifteen minutes. The spots mentioned have the potential to really turn it on, when trout will fight over the lure or race each other to the fly, but remember to only take a few and through the little ones back for the others to enjoy.

By the way the sea run trout in the Tamar taste delicious. You really should try them as they are as nice as any inland river or lake trout with beautiful red flesh.

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