During the winter months a lot of anglers pack their rods and reels up and go and do some much needed gardening and house maintenance which normally has been neglected over the summer months. But all you anglers out there, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Blue warehou can be caught throughout the winter months. They are great fighters and excellent on the table and in my opinion are the best eating fish in the estuary when eaten fresh.Read more ...
Especially, Flinders Island has not been discovered yet. It has no crowds, traffic jams or rip, rush and tear. The weather is mild by Tasmanian standards with frost free winters and more sunshine than the Gold Coast. It has spectacular natural beauty, lots of fish and friendly people. James Luddington reports on one of Tasmania's most productive fishing areas - Flinders Island.
In Tasmanian estuaries, Black bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri) are one of the mainstay of recreational fishers. These fish can be relied upon to provide excellent sport on light gear with baits such as crabs, mussels and pretty fish involving the simplest of rigs - often just a hook. Bream are great fighters and are taken regularly by spinning and fly fishing in mainland waters. So why don't we take them on artificial's in Tasmania?
"˜Knowledge is power"so the saying goes. In this article, Barry Hickman shares his knowledge of trout fishing season and what to expect, what flies are needed and when to use them.
Arguably the Macquarie River is Tasmania's best known for angling sport. Its main stem wanders through the open farmland of the Northern Midlands from Ross down to its junction with the South Esk River at Longford, covering about 80 kilometres and is fishable along most of its length.
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.
For the low budget fishing and sight seeing holiday the Far North West Coast, and West Coast of Tasmania is well worth considering. Whereas large fish are dreamt of in many areas - the West Coast often rewards anglers with fish of leviathan size - both in fresh and salt water.
Best time to fish; October to March
Getting there; 4 hours from Launceston or Hobart.
Major angling species; Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, Australian salmon, shark, flounder, striped trumpeter, morwong.
Other attractions; Strahan is the base for many tourist activities.
Warnings;Tasmania's west coast has some of the wildest seas in Australia. Each year commercial fishermen are lost to huge seas that can appear from nowhere. Take extreme care, especially when fishing the ocean.
Great fishing, variety and spectacular scenery is what await anglers venturing to Tasmania's wild west coast.
Strahan, the perfect base for the area, is located on Macquarie Harbour, Australia's second largest harbour after Port Phillip Bay and covers an area of approximately 260 square kilometres. The west coast region is a major tourist destination and the entire area is a fisherman's haven, having the waters of the harbour to fish along with the coastline and a number of readily accessible rivers within ten minutes of Strahan.
Macquarie Harbour is accessible to most types of angler, the most practical though is by boat. This allows easy movement throughout the harbour and some of its hot spots. One of the most sought after fish in the harbour are the many large rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon. These fish are a combination of escapees from the local fish farms as well as a healthy local population. Casting lures from the many headlands jutting out into the harbour using sliced and minnow style lures often results in tremendous sport.
When fish of up to 9 kilograms have been caught within sight of the Strahan township it certainly encourages the locals and visitors alike to pick up their rods. Popular methods include bait, spin and fly fishing. On the still warmer evenings fly fishing offers good sport casting from the boat toward the shore. Trout sometimes rise throughout a number of bays and it is possible to choose one of a number of fish to cast to. Sea-run trout are also common from the beach at Macquarie Heads - particularly between October and November.
During the warmer summer months, the harbour experiences an influx of green water as the harbour level drops. This influx generally attracts schools of Australian Salmon, which can be captured on the edges of this green water and the usual brown water of the harbour.
The favoured options here are trolling (the most rewarding), spin fishing or bait fishing. A popular spot for the Australian salmon is just inside the heads at Hells Gates. From this position you can cast out to the channel that leads out to a long sandbar. There is a camping ground here right near the beach.
The harbour at Strahan offers visitors with their own boats a number of launching sites that will cater for all sized trailerable boats. Within Strahan there are two concrete launching ramps, one at Mill Bay and the other at Letts Bay. Macquarie Heads also offers two gravel ramps with quick access to the fishing spots. The variety of species caught within the Harbour include; Atlantic Salmon, trout, Australian salmon, flathead, flounder, small trumpeter, trevally, couta, morwong, cod and mullet.
Ocean Beach, six kilometres due west of Strahan, offers some great beach fishing that is comparable to anywhere, (when the rugged seas permit). This beach is claimed to be Tasmania's longest with 34 kilometres of unbroken beach. The main fishing from here is Australian Salmon, sharks and skate. One excellent spot here is at the mouth of the Henty River.
Anyone wishing to drive along Ocean Beach to access its fishing spots should be very wary of the quick sand, common throughout this area. It is suggested to obtain local advice before the trip.
Outside the Heads
If you have the right boat and good weather it can be worth your while to venture just beyond the heads to Cape Sorell or Pilot Bay where fishing can be excellent. In this area trolling or bait fishing with light gear can yield good results for a number of species. The main fish caught immediately outside the heads are; trevally, couta and striped trumpeter.
Not only has Strahan got its variety of fishing on offer but makes for an excellent family holiday destination. Tours on offer include the river cruises to the Gordon River, jet boat rides up the King River, trail rides, sea plane tours to a variety of areas, helicopter joy flights and four wheel drive and fishing tours.
Travelling west from Smithton, taking the coastal road over the Duck River bridge. A 15 minute drive will bring you into the small farming community of Montagu. Old Port Road takes you to the Montagu camping area which is a good place to start fishing. The boat ramp at Montagu is excellent and is really the only spot to launch a boat. Shore fishing is quite rewarding and places to fish are the jetty (near ramp), off rocks and beaches all along the foreshore.
Montagu is a huge channel and successful fishing there can depend greatly on the tide. Some days the mix of tide and wind that rips through this channel, makes boating very interesting, and an enormous amount of care should be taken. Species that inhabit this spot are Australian salmon, pike, couta, shark, tailor and flathead. Spinning or trolling on high tide from shore, jetty or boat with wobblers, soft plastics, flies and bait will all catch fish.
A 45 minute drive west from Montagu or Smithton finds you at Marrawah. Marrawah is a prime dairy farming and world known surfing location on the west coast. A short drive down Green Point Road, will take you to a car park at Nettley Bay. From there you may fish the rock directly off the car park. A 45 minute walk along the beach, over sand dunes to the north will bring you to Sinking Rock.
Big runs of blackback (large Australian salmon) are found congregating around the rocky edges, feeding on small bait fish and krill. Successful fishing methods are either spinning or bait fishing. Good lures to use are large silver wobblers (30-60 gm) with a fly dropper. Bait fishing quite often takes the bigger specimens, using a large float or balloon with a pilchard below.
Blackback up to 2-3 kg are landed for most of the year, with the occasional yellowtail kingfish and tailor being snagged. The weather plays an important role on the fishing there, with the ruggedness of the west coast sometimes making these hot spots unfishable.
Located 20 minutes down the west coast from Marrawah, is the holiday destination of the Arthur River. This thriving fishing spot is positioned in the Arthur - Pieman Protected Area.
In recent years, holiday units, camping, boat hire, shop, cruises and guided fishing trips, have started to operate around the river. From November, Australian salmon make their way into the river mouth, staying there (depending on the freshwater flow) right through until late February.
Both boating and shore angling from rocks or beach, are equally as productive - making it a perfect recreational fishing location for the whole family. Boats do give access to much more river and trolling is popular along the entire navigable length.
Lures to try are green and gold wobblers or spinners, silver wobblers and soft plastics. Pilchards, anchovies and sand worms work very well for the patient bait angler. Fly anglers may try a green or silver streamer fly, which is most effective.
October - February in more recent times has seen more trout anglers journey to the area. Large resident and sea-run trout are landed from this water every year. From early October sea-runners can be seen near the river mouth, charging and swirling through huge schools of white bait, sending them fleeing across the surface. At this time a fly or small wobbler imitating these bait, may fool them. As the bait schools move further up, so do the trout. Trolling along the banks, is most productive. Lead lines with green, gold, red or bronze cobras, is a deadly trolling rig. Nils Masters, Rapalas, Stump Jumpers along with other bib lures, flicked around snags take a lot of trout and sometimes estuarine perch.
A 30 minute drive further south from the Arthur River, bypassing commercial Rock Lobster fishing villages, will bring you to Temma Harbour. A 4WD or off road vehicle is then essential if you wish to continue south further down the west cost, to Sandy Cape. A permit from Temma to Sandy Cape is needed, and may be collected from the Arthur River rangers station. Sandy Cape mainly consists of vast white sandy beaches, breathtaking dunes and catches of big blackback salmon. These fish which are commonly caught around the mid to end of the year period, or when access to this area can be made. The Sandy Cape Beach, which is just north of the Cape has a history of treacherous quick-sand and has seen many vehicles lost. These salmon are caught from the beaches around the cape, they can be found in the deep gutters not too far off shore. Big heavy silver wobblers and large salt water flies work best. Fish in the 4 - 6 kg range are beached frequently, therefore a strong surf rig with a 2.5-3.5 m rod and low geared reel makes fishing a lot easier. Gang hooked pilchards or anchovies fished with a heavy sinker on a deep sea rig, take their fair share of big salmon and gummy shark.
Stanley would have to be the most well known small town on Tasmania's north coast. It is steeped in history, which makes it a popular spot for visiting tourists. Stanley wharf is the most popular recreational fishing spot on the north west coast. It boasts good catches of snotty trevally (blue warehou), Australian salmon, couta, mullet, leatherjacket, squid and even the odd yellowtail kingfish and shark. The snotty trevally frequent this area from December through to April and these can be most productive times. It is not uncommon to see 80 to 100 anglers shoulder to shoulder on the wharf. The trevally run along the edge of the wharf in large schools, multiple hook ups can see 20 or 30 anglers all hooked up at once, making it very interesting when it comes to landing these fish.
A strong rod 2.5-3.5 m long with a reasonably light tip is very effective, Hi Vis monofilament line 7-9 kg must also be used, this is to be tied to small running sinker rig. Best bait for trevally is uncooked chicken on size 1 or 2 chemically sharpened hook. Fish with the drag locked up completely, because if a fish runs you will tangle with other anglers and end up in an almighty mess.
Other fishing around Stanley includes Godfrey's Beach on the northern shore, where good catches of Australian Salmon, flathead and even tailor are caught both from the beach or rocks.
Stanley sits out on a quite large headland and two bodies of water occupy each side, East and Western Inlets. These inlets are popular fishing places. Since the ban of netting in these spots fishing has improved with Australian salmon, flounder, couta, pike, gummy shark and BIG spawning flathead being the main targets. Spinning or baiting these particular species on the incoming tide is great fishing. For boat fishing, the Stanley area is very good. Drifting with either bait or plastics is effective. Trolling lures such as wobblers, large flies and bib lures can produce good catches of, Australian salmon, couta and pike.
Positioned on the edge of Duck River, Smithton offers the recreational angler with a number of fishing opportunities. All your fishing requirements and local information on the area, can be found at Smithton Sports in the main street of town, open seven days a week. Shore based anglers have the potential to catch silver trevally, large flathead, Australian salmon, tailor and more often than not sea-run trout. These fish can be found right in Smithton fishing from either the reclaimed land on the western shore or around the boat ramp on the eastern shore. Fish can be caught from around this area, by spinning, fly fishing or bait fishing.
Fishing the Duck Bay estuary a boat is essential. From October to early April Australian salmon are readily caught either by trolling or bait fishing. With the estuary being basically two large sand flats east and west of the channel, there is great opportunity for the salt water fly fisherman. Polaroiding big flathead over the sand is a fantastic sport, these fish can also be taken with larger bib lures and bait.
From the oyster leases "The Duck"continues further out through a fairly narrow mouth. Near the mouth, trolling for couta, pike, Australian salmon and tailor with wobblers, flies and surface lures, pick up quite a few fish. Good catches of gummy shark and elephant fish on bait, are taken commonly and recently King George whiting have also been caught in good numbers.
The mouth access by shore can only be made via Seven Mile Beach on the eastern side (4WD Track Only). Off the Duck River mouth lays 4 large islands all of which hold a plentiful number of fish, all year round. Boat access is necessary to these islands. Recreational diving around this area is also popular with rock lobster, green and black lipped abalone being taken during the open season.
The whitebait run up the Duck River is around the months of October - January. During their season, they are fairly heavily fished. With the whitebait, sea-run trout and Australian Salmon move further up into the tidal area. Small Lures and Flies are a good option for snagging these fish.
Detention River and Hellyer Beach
Detention River lies about a five minutes drive west from the Rocky Cape turn off. This offers the shore angler with a few species of fish that can be targeted. They include sea-run trout, Australian salmon and flathead. Spinning for sea-run trout and salmon towards the mouth is the most common form of fishing. These fish can be caught further up the estuary when the tide is full. Good lures for these fish are small bib lures, silver wobblers, cobras and smelt type flies. Bait fishing is also quite common for catching flathead and salmon. Squid, pilchards and prawns are very effective. From the mouth of the Detention River, on the western shore, starts Hellyer beach. This gives the fishermen a chance to do some surf fishing. With the right breeze, and sea, gummy shark frequent the area and can be caught when the water temperatures are warm. A particularly good time to catch shark is of a night. A deep sea rig with 6/0 hook and a big bait works best.
Situated 15 minutes west of Hellyer Beach, Black River is easily accessed through Peggs Creek camping area on the eastern side of the river. Most shore angling and boat access is done from here. A short walk puts you in prime Australian Salmon territory, from the months through October to March. Most shore anglers tend to concentrate at the mouth area, whilst boat fisherman follow the tide up. Lures that are most common on these fish are silver wobblers, bib lures, plastics. Bait fisherman use pilchards, squid and berley washing off the shore is most rewarding. Good catches of flathead, couta, pike and tailor are also caught every year, generally by the unsuspecting bait and spinner fishermen. Big sea-run trout are also frequent visitors to this area.
The fishing either side is terrific and off the end the water drops off significantly. This is mostly a boat fishing area and boats can be launched at the Wynyard Yacht Club or in the Inglis River. Athletic and rock climbing skills are an advantage if you want to fish the cape from the shore, but the rewards may be worth it..
Surf fishing off the beach is fantastic - natural bait is best. Yabbies, mussels and sandworms can be found in the area and these outfish anything else by a country mile. There is a good ramp for boat access and the boating angler will find this is one of the most productive areas on the north west coast.
Rocky Cape is situated in a National Park, with many well defined bush walks and excellent views. This is one of the premier locations for the recreational diver on Tasmania's North Coast. Unfortunately for the shore angler the Cape itself offers limited access to safe fishing areas, this is due to the steep drop offs and many spots are inaccessible to the average angler. Successful boat fishing on the other hand is a different story with Rocky Cape offering two boat ramps. Excellent fishing can be found on both sides of the cape, this is due to the large sand bottom that surrounds the point. Over this bottom many fish species can be targeted, drifting over the sand can produce good catches of flathead. Most effective in hooking these big flathead is to use either soft plastic baits or try squid or octopus bait. Australian Salmon, couta and pike are readily caught by all means of fishing. Trolling for these fish using silver wobblers, brighter coloured bib lures (reasonable size), Tassie Devil or a clear piece of plastic tube. In late Summer, large schools of blue warehou (snotties) pass by the Cape. Many of these large sport fish are caught by waiting anglers using running sinker setup with a small piece of skinless chicken.
Best shore based areas are Black and Red Rocks at Cooee Point west of Burnie. The Penguin boat ramp is a great location as is Penguin Point just to the west of the ramp. Boat Harbour is good from the beach and the point is also good from the rocks. The Bund Breakwall in front of the Burnie Yacht Club is fast becoming one of the hot spots around Burnie. A lot of salmon are taken during the day and good catches of squid are also caught. Small snapper are also taken here occasionally.
Blackmans Reef off the main Burnie wharf is a terrific hot spot when the salmon are running and if it is too rough here the water on the inside of the main breakwall will give good fishing and protected waters.
Also near Burnie, to the west, is the Cam River at Somerset. This a great place to take the family with grassy banks adjoining the river and a playground to keep them occupied. Mullet are plentiful and there is always a bream or two to be caught.
Wynyard has some fantastic fishing - from Table Cape just west of the town to the Inglis River on which it is situated. Table Cape and Fossil Bluff are especially productive. The Inglis River adjoins Wynyard and fish are caught virtually in the main street. Fishing off the wharf is always productive. At night, salmon are almost guaranteed and it's a lot of fun. Off the mouth, trolling for salmon is virtually a local custom with a sliced piece of plastic tube as the lure. There is some great bream fishing in the Inglis River.
Moving west from Port Sorell you'll find Morelands Beach, which stretches from Port Sorell to Wrights Island - around five kilometres east of the Mersey River at Devonport. Access is from opposite the mill at Wesley Vale and surf fishers often drive along the beach. This is one of the most popular beaches in the area with good gutters. Best fishing for large flathead is October/November. Salmon are caught all year.
Wrights Island is directly off the airport. A boat is needed and good pike and calamari squid are found inside the island, while outside wrasse, leatherjacket and flathead. Good pike are trolled up off the eastern side of the heads, but these are also caught off the shore.
The breakwater on the eastern shore is popular for cocky salmon, snotty trevally, flathead, mullet and couta. Half to three quarter incoming tide is the most productive.
The western breakwater is blocked off to fishing and the next popular area is the Mersey Bluff. Access is good either from the beach or the car park at the top. The best fishing is on the eastern side where salmon, shark, couta, flathead, and pike are taken over sandy broken bottom. On the western side there is reefy bottom and wrasse, leatherjacket and other reef species are found here. Luderick are also found off the bluff, although only a few Tasmanians target these.
Back Beach and Coles Beach are easily accessed between the Bluff and Don heads. A lot of fishing is done from boats around the Don heads for pike, couta and salmon. The heads are also easily accessed from both sides.
Further along is the Forth River. This is a popular areas for large Australian salmon. Local boat fishers claim trolling is only successful when undertaken in an east - west direction. No one seems to know why. Skipping plastic lures or squid imitations across the surface is most successful and trolling fast is essential. Occasionally shore fishers can reach these fish, but the size is usually smaller.
Ulverstone is a lovely town with friendly people and a small estuary that gives easy access to the sea. The area is not as productive as one would think though. The Leven River estuary contains mullet, Australian Salmon and a few trevally, and apart from some good sea-run trout in spring little else. A few couta are also caught around the mouth.
The breakwall on the eastern shore is one of the most popular fishing spots. Fish this on an incoming tide for wrasse, cod, couta and salmon. The western side is not as popular, but a silver wobbler cast into eddying water will often be worth the effort.
There is a good boat ramp and pontoon on the western shore of the Leven River. Beach fishing around Ulverstone is generally not as good as further east around Turners Beach.
All the coastal area from Ulverstone to Rocky Cape is similar in structure, accessibility and species. Most rivers are navigable only at high tide, which is often the best fishing time anyway.
Flathead are readily caught all through this area, gurnard perch are another good catch which are ugly, have poisonous spines, and some claim good eating. Couta are somewhat seasonal, while Australian salmon are caught all year round. Much of this area was, in the past, subject to some unsavoury and dirty industry, but this has all changed. Pollution is now virtually non-existent and the fishing has improved enormously. Regularly sighted off the coast are dolphins, whales, and seals.
If you have access to a boat, occasional snapper and school shark are available off shore. Inshore rock cod, leatherjacket, couta, yellowtail kingfish, squid and salmon are the reward. It is an abundant area that deserves some closer attention as the water quality improves.
West of the Tamar River is Badgers Head and Badgers beach. This area is accessed from the West Tamar Highway, about 5 kilometres before reaching Kelso. The beach has a shallow gradient and gutters are not too common. Beach catches are usually restricted to flathead, Australian salmon, or a few sharks at night. Badgers Head on the other hand has some deeper water and catches can be made up of many species, including Australian salmon, pike, couta, sweep, wrasse and flathead.
Port Sorell is one of those rare gems of waters. Situated half way between the Tamar River and Devonport it offers a protected estuary with a great variety of fish. Small flathead are common, while larger specimens to 3.5 kg are also taken within the estuary.
A north west wind will give boat fishers a good drift for whiting from The Carbuncle Island off the mouth back into the estuary.
From around November each year The Rubicon River arm on the western side is renowned for large bream to 3 kg. Prawns are usually most effective and good bream fishing can extend up river past the main road bridge on the Frankford Highway. This area can be fished from the bank as can the area around Port Sorell to Hawley Beach. The eastern side of the estuary has good access through the National Park. The best fishing is from November to March.
Bakers Beach, outside Port Sorell, is also accessed through the National Park. This beach is renowned as a large flathead haunt. Every year flathead to 5 kgs are reported. It is worth noting large flathead are territorial and catches can be few and far between.
There are good boat ramps at North East Arm (eastern shore) and Squeaking Point (western shore) The ramp at Port Sorell has been upgraded. Further information can be found here.
Best time to fish; All year
Getting there; 2 1/2 hours from Hobart, On the doorstep of Launceston.
Major angling species; Flathead, couta, silver trevally, whiting, mullet, Australian salmon, bream, kingfish and snapper.
Other attractions; Swimming, surfing, sight seeing, excellent wineries and tourist attractions.
The river from a boat
The best fishing is below Windermere and Rosevears where the river deepens somewhat. Once you get to the Batman Bridge, the fishing changes remarkably. This section of the river is narrow, deep and features very strong currents and tidal flow.
A common belief is that the deep holes in the river are where all the fish are, however, the secret to the Tamar is in the shallows.
Water less then 10 metres deep gives up the most fish. Use some berley and then drop down some baits, and you never know what you will pull up.
The most prized fish is snapper, and perhaps the least loved is the rock cod. In between these, it is possible to catch a myriad of fish species.
As you move down towards the heads, the river opens up and has some shallower flats - in some places sand bars pop their heads out of the water at low tide. Flathead fishing is almost too easy in these sandy parts of the river, but they are mostly small.
Lures are worth a try in shallow water for flathead, and they often turn up better specimens, while those willing to cast a fly will have a great time.
Yellowtail kingfish inhabit the lower parts of the river during summer and autumn months. Best method is to troll baits such as small garfish or salmon, livebait or lures.
From the shore
Fishing from the shore of the Tamar can be just as good as out of a boat - especially on the pontoons situated along the banks of the river. Fishing from these can be very good. Mullet, salmon, trevally, couta, cod and many other species can turn up - with the flathead as present as ever.
The best spots to fish from the shore are all the pontoons, particularly those below Rosevears and areas such as Deviot, Bonney Beach, Inspection Head wharf, Redbill Point Caravan park (only at low tide), Low Head and West Head.
The Inspection Head wharf is at Beauty Point - about thirty five minutes to the north of Launceston. The species you may encounter include the big four; flathead, mullet, salmon and barracouta. It is also home to Seahorse World - a seahorse aquaculture and interpretation center.
Flathead are probably the most common catch from the wharf. Mullet are also caught hard up against the pylons. Australian salmon are a common predatory fish that take advantage of the bait that lives around the wharf.
Kelso jetty is a top spot for squid, and tide turns are best if squid are the target - dawn and dusk are best. Many other species can also be caught here.
The flats around Kelso have become a popular area for saltwater fly fishers chasing salmon and flathead. Wading waist deep exploring with a Clouser Minnow or Lefty Deceiver does the job - especially at low tide when the dropoff can be reached.
Further down the river, West Head offers a great rock fishing ledge, and if variety is what you want this is the place to fish. Species include Australian salmon, flathead, jack mackerel, slimy mackerel, kingfish, sweep, luderick, wrasse, squid, cuttlefish, pike, rosy perch, gurnard, couta, leatherjacket, sharks, garfish, mullet and more. Tide turns are the best times. Southerly weather is best as there is less swell to cope with. West Head is in a National Park, therefore a National Park fee will need to be paid.
Best time to fish; All year
Getting there; 3 1/2 hours from Hobart, 1 1/2 hours from Launceston.
Major species; Rock lobster, flathead, couta, striped trumpeter, bream, Australian salmon, kingfish and snapper.
Other attractions; Swimming, surfing, sight seeing, National Parks, wineries.
Salmon, flathead and sharks are the most popular species here, however, there is a great potential for a kingfish and snapper fishery with these prized fish often caught over spring and summer.
From the shore, areas such as Cape Portland, Waterhouse Point, Tomahawk and Croppies and South Croppies Point provide some terrific fishing for salmon, couta, pike and snook. Spinning off the rocks is a popular method. Sliced lures are the most effective using a fast retrieve. Schools often travel through in tight groups and often an hour or two with no fish can turn into a fish with every cast for the next half hour.
The beaches are most productive for big flathead which can be taken all year round with bait, lures and even fly. Fishing around the turn of the tide is best. By-catches from the sand include sharks and rays, whiting, mullet and salmon. Most sharks are taken at night.
There are boat ramps at Tomahawk and Bridport which are both marginal from half tide. Waterhouse Island is the most popular spot for boaties. Trolling for big salmon, couta and snook is popular. Yellowtail kingfish and snapper are also caught.
The fishing potential is largely untapped for this area and it is waiting to be explored.
Best time to fish; All year
Getting there; 3 1/2 hours from Hobart, 1 hour from Launceston.
Major species; Rock lobster, flathead, couta and Australian Salmon, bream, snapper.
Other attractions; Shops, Swimming, surfing, sight seeing, National Parks, wineries.
Bridport is a largely undeveloped snapper fishing location. In recent years catches of snapper up to 15 kg have made the locals excited. When the reds are about, one boat can land four or five in a session - all over 7 kg. They can be taken from the land as well. The rocks and beaches around Croquet Lawn and the Caravan Park don't look very snapperish, but each November a good number of reds are caught in the ultra shallow water by fisherman.
Also from the shore, good catches of snook, pike, couta, salmon, flathead and whiting can be made, as well as some nice gummy and school sharks. The Brid River offers limited fishing, however, trout are available through out the season and the tidal estuary also holds some big flathead.
Southern Cross Reef is just over two miles off the township. At times during summer, anything can turn up in these bait rich waters - with sharks like makos and blues, kingfish and snapper a common catch.
Anderson Bay offers fairly flat and featureless bottom. Drifting for flathead is very popular as is trolling for couta and salmon.
Best time to fish; All year
Getting there; Flights from Launceston, or by ferry from Bridport.
Major species; Rock lobster, flathead, couta, striped trumpeter, snapper, Australian salmon, kingfish, striped marlin, yellowfin, albacore and more.
Other attractions; Swimming, surfing, sight seeing.
Flinders Island is an awesome fishery. Home to just a few hundred permanent residents the fishing is some of the best to be found in Tasmania. Very big flathead can be caught from almost any shore, whilst large Australian salmon are commonplace. Kingfish are often found chasing baitfish under the jetty in Whitemark. North East River and Holloway Point are renowned salmon hot spots. Only one or two charter boats operate from Flinders, but these are kept very busy. In March of 2001 several gamefishing boats ventured to Flinders in search of striped marlin. Imagine their surprise when at one stage most of the boats had multiple hookups at the same time. Flinders Island is a largely untapped fishery, and gamefishery that offers some of Tasmania's best fishing.
Best time to fish; All year
Getting there; 3 1/2 hours from Hobart, 2 hours from Launceston.
Major species; Rock lobster, flathead, couta and striped trumpeter, albacore, southern bluefin tuna, Australian salmon, bream, mako sharks and striped marlin.
Other attractions; Swimming, surfing, sight seeing, National Parks.
North of St Helens boasts Tasmania's mildest weather. It has long, white beaches and deep water next to the shore. It is quiet, uninhabited, providing some of the best camping in Tasmania.
The Bay of Fires area provides great beach fishing, like most of the East Coast. Camping around The Gardens is first class, with camping grounds scattered all up the coast.
Ansons and Great Musselroe Bays provide some top fishing. All species mentioned in the St Helens section can be taken. What makes these two bays attractive are big bream. Fish to four kilos have been taken, while two kilogram bream are regulars.
Off shore gamefishing is fantastic, however, it is Eddystone Point that can, in the summer months, provide gamefishing off the shore. The deep water runs up to the rocks and tuna often come close enough to be taken.
Land based game fishing is under-developed in Tasmania, so if you think you can do it, you will be pioneering the fishery. Yellowtail kingfish are also known in this area throughout summer.
Best time to fish; All year.
Getting there; Around two hours from Launceston, three hours+ from Hobart
Major angling species; Australian salmon, flathead, garfish, albacore, yellowfin tuna, striped marlin and mako shark.
Other attractions; The town has many craft shops, secluded beaches, a nearby National Park, swimming and surfing.
The township of St Helens is nestled on Georges Bay, a sheltered area of water situated a quarter of the way down Tasmania's East Coast. St Helens is recognised as the saltwater sportfishing capital of Tasmania and provides a large range of estuarine and offshore species all year round. Relatively mild weather is experienced even over winter due to protection from the prevailing westerly winds. Five boat ramps service the area, three in Georges Bay, the other two giving direct ocean access via Binalong Bay and Burns Bay, eliminating the need to cross the St Helens barway.
Best time: December-June.
Species available: Albacore tuna, yellowfin tuna, southern bluefin tuna, striped marlin, striped tuna, mako and blue shark.
Several factors combine to make St Helens a world-class game fishing area. These include; Good water depth (100 metres) only three miles from shore. Oxygen rich warm water from the north (eastern Auastralian current) combining with nutrient-rich cold water from the south creating upwellings and current lines. Inshore reef systems such as Merricks, Pulfers and Eddystone rise from 60 metres to within 6 metres of the surface and provide huge baitfish holding areas. Low fishing pressure and close proximity (only 13 miles) from St Helens Point to the Continental Shelf make St Helens a great gamefishing base.
From December gamefishing takes over from reef and bottom fishing. As the temperature starts to rise above 16 degrees Celsius the gamefishing action really begins. If it is mako sharks you want to chase though these are available all year.
Albacore are the first of the tunas to arrive around the end of December, but this really depends on the water temperature, which starts to rise around October from 14 degrees and peaks around 22 degrees usually in February - March. The 22 degree water can be running in a current line right next to cooler nutrient rich water and it is often here that the action excels.
School size southern bluefin tuna often feature in catches around December - January, whilst bigger bluefin and yellowfin peak in size from March until the end of April.
Yellowfin appear when temperatures rise above 17 degrees and striped marlin activity peaks when temperatures hit 19 degrees, which is often in February - March.
The importance of finding current lines, the best water temperatures, baitfish and consequently gamefish can not be overstated. Without doubt the best way to do this is with one of the several charter operators that are based in St Helens.
Estuary and bay fishing
Best time: Large sea garfish; March-July. Small garfish; all year round. Salmon; January-June. Most other species are resident all year.
Rivers and lagoons to the north and south of St Helens provide good bream fishing, however Georges Bay at the heart of St Helens is large and offers a diverse range of species. A combination of the deep channel water running quickly at half tide, exposed sand flats at low tide split by deep gutters and extensive sea-grass beds make it an ideal area for fish such as garfish, bream and flathead.
Schools of small salmon are probably the most common species targeted and fish such as silver trevally are often caught off any jetty around the bay. Other fish not often targeted, probably due to the greater difficulty in catching them are, small snapper, luderick and bastard trumpeter. The main wharf in the middle of town is one of the best places to catch a fish and it is rare to find it void of anglers.
Georges Bay lends itself ideally to those wishing to use a fly-rod on salmon, garfish and bream. A boat is needed though and berley is the best way to attract these fish and keep them in range.
There are also a few elephant fish that can be caught over the summer months. One of the best spots to try for these is around Akaroa.
Offshore reef fishing
Best time: All year round. Striped trumpeter and silver morwong are present in greater size and number from May-December.
Species available: Striped trumpeter, silver morwong, tiger flathead, cod, perch, pike, squid and latchet
The many scattered reef systems within close proximity of St Helens Point provide good quality, quantity and variety of fish. Georges Bay and its associated nutrients and baitfish enhances the quality of the fishing. The large flathead at St Helens are offshore in 30-90 metres of water, often accompanied by large arrow squid, latchet, gurnard and occasional gummy sharks.
For bottom fishing, the main advantage St Helens has is the large amount of broken reef within a five miles of Burns Bay ramp. These reefs are home to most of the species targeted.
Deep sea fishing
Best time: All year, but best November-June.
Species available: Trevalla, rays bream, hapuku, gemfish, blue grenadier, pink ling.
Deep sea fishing takes place over the edge of the Continental Shelf only when conditions are favourable and in craft that are suitably equipped to travel well offshore - such as large trailer boats and charter vessels. This is quite a different style of fishing - the calibre of which can be quite sensational. Many of the best eating fish in the sea come from these great depths. Trevalla and hapuku up to 20 kg come from these depths.
Rock and beach fishing
Best time: September-May.
Species available: Salmon, mullet, bream, flathead, gummy shark, skate and rock species.
Beaches and rocks from St Helens Point and up to 15 kilometres north are popular for this type of fishing. Australian salmon to 3 kg are the most common species. Areas such as Taylors and Swimcart Beach drop away steeply into deep water and often form sand banks 20 metres or so from the beach.
The gutters formed either side provide good hunting grounds for mullet, salmon and flathead. Rock fishing these shorelines will uncover a variety of fish including: leatherjacket, jack mackerel, pike, wrasse, luderick and bastard trumpeter. Swimcart Beach is considered as one of Tasmania's best surf fishing beaches and hosts the annual Surf Fishing Championships around April every year.
Land-based game fishing has been tried by a few keen anglers, with Grants Point and St Helens Point being two areas worth considering.
Bicheno is home to many commercial rock lobster fishers and quite a few recreational fishers also try their hand as well. Rock lobster can be taken in pots, rings or by gloved hand by divers. All methods must be licensed. Another expensive shellfish, abalone are also eagerly sought. It is a delicacy that can be taken by divers. A licence is required.
Due to Bicheno's open exposure to the Tasman Sea many recreational anglers are either rock or beach fishers. A vessel capable of coping with large, unpredictable seas is needed here. Some beach fishing occurs north of Bicheno and also south towards Coles Bay at Friendly Beaches. Australian salmon, flathead and shark are targeted in the surf, while striped trumpeter, barracouta, morwong, leatherjacket and cod are taken offshore.
Rocky shores abound around Bicheno and many areas are suitable as fishing platforms. A silver sliced lure is the most common hardware and bait fishing techniques here are less common.
There is a marine reserve around Governors Island, opposite The Gulch, which provides an excellent opportunity for diving.
The wharf at the Gulch is a popular place to visit in the evenings for salmon, mackerel and trevally to name just a few. It is also a great spot for kids.
North of Bicheno are a few accessible beaches that are worth a try if you can find some gutters. In particular the beach from the turn-off at Four Mile Beach all the way around to the bluff at the southern end of the beach can be good, but look for gutters for the best results.Scamander
Getting there; 3 hours from Hobart, 2 hours + from Launceston.
Major angling species; Rock lobster, flathead, couta and striped trumpeter, albacore, southern bluefin tuna, marlin, Australian Salmon, bream.
Other attractions; Swimming, surfing, sight seeing, diving.
Scamander River is one of Tasmania's great bream locations. Fish are not as big as in some of the other estuaries, but they are plentiful. It fishes well all year, but the best time is from November to March. Usual methods such as bait fishing and lure fishing are the way to go. Pretty fish and shrimps are some of the best baits, but it pays to have a variety. Locals comment that the fishing now is as good or better than fifty years ago. Bait is available from the shops in Scamander.
You can also expect to catch a few nice salmon, silver trevally and mullet. There are also luderick around the bridge pylons at the mouth of the river. Very few people fish for these, but they are there in good numbers for the angler with the skill and perserverance.
You can drive for quite a way up the river by heading to Upper Scamander. The meandering upper reaches are home to bream as well as trout.
Fishing is quite easy along the easily accessed banks, but a boat can open up a few more opportunities. There is also a Professional guide operating bream and inshore tours from St Helens.
The beaches around Scamander provide some first class fishing. Big Australian salmon, large flathead and sharks are the main targets. Possibly the best beach around this area is Beaumaris Beach. The northern end is the most productive, and often only a short cast is needed to put your bait into the deep water where salmon up to three kilos are caught.
Pulfers reef, directly off Scamander is highly renowned as a good striped trumpeter location as well as big flathead and morwong. In the summer months, yellowfin tuna, albacore and striped marlin come close to shore. There is no good quality, sea access, boat ramp around Scamander so it is best to drive up to St Helens and launch from there.
Best time to fish; All year
Getting there; 2 1/2 hours from Hobart, 2 hours+ from Launceston.
Major angling species; Rock lobster, flathead, couta and striped trumpeter, albacore, southern bluefin tuna, Australian Salmon, bream.
Other attractions; Swimming, surfing, sight seeing, National Parks - Douglas, Apsley and Freycinet, wineries.
The mid-east coast of Tasmania boasts some tremendous fishing with St Helens, at the northern end of the east coast and Tasman Peninsula at the southern end rated as Tasmania's premium game fishing areas.
The 15 kilometre run from Coles Bay at the northern end of Freycinet Peninsula out to open water - through Schouten Passage is probably the reason more game fishing is not undertaken here. Most game fishing is undertaken by holiday home owners in the area. Coles Bay is a superb protected bay with many holiday homes.
Flathead are the prime target in Great Oyster Bay as are seasonal squid. Large wrasse are also easily caught, but rarely kept as food. Whiting are targeted by a few anglers, but these seem to be in isolated pockets.
Shore and boat fishing is popular in the Swan River, just north of Swansea - especially for bream. One kilogram specimens are common and 2 kg fish regularly taken. There are several easily reached access points on the Swan River - mostly along the Dolphin Sands road. Crabs, prawns, pretty fish and nippers all make good bait. The Swan River also has good fishing in the lower reaches for large garfish and leatherjacket. While a boat can be useful here it is not essential for success.
On the southern side of Dolphin Sands is Great Oyster Bay. Nine Mile Beach and the many other beaches and rocky outcrops that flank the northern and western sides of Great Oyster Bay are great and popular fisheries.
While boat owners can access more water, the flat, mostly featureless sandy bottom of Great Oyster Bay yields little more than those outlined earlier. Most boat anglers drift for flathead with baits. Recently some anglers also successfully use large, bibbed lures in the more shallow areas with great results.
Anglers without a boat need not despair as fishing from many access points beside the main highway, on the western side of Great Oyster Bay, is often just as productive as from a boat in the more open waters.
The main pier at both Swansea and Coles Bay often has good congregations of squid that can be caught by anglers with jigs especially at evening. Schools of small Australian salmon and long fin pike are also common off these jetties as are mackerel.
A day on Great Oyster Bay can reward anglers with schools of dolphins, seals and whales as well as sea eagles and other extraordinary sights of nature.
A run down Great Oyster Bay takes you to Schouten Passage a deep water channel between Freycinet Peninsula and Schouten Island - a channel that is rich in food, fish and often turbulent currents. Down deep there are big flathead and wrasse with an infrequent striped trumpeter. It is often difficult to fish the bottom through the channel and large sinkers are needed.
Out through "the passage"striped trumpeter and large flathead are more common, yet certainly not prolific. A daily catch of four or five trumpeter is considered good.
Tuna can be caught close to shore. Albacore are more common here, while southern bluefin and sometime yellowfin are caught. Mako and blue shark are also taken. The southern tip and eastern shores of Schouten Island are the most productive.
A charter boat operates from Coles Bay and as well as fishing, offers sight-seeing and dive charters. This is one of the most scenic and beautiful parts of Tasmania. It would be a rare day when you couldn't catch a fish or be held spellbound by the beauty of the area.
Best Time; All year
Getting there; One hour from Hobart on the Tasman Highway.
Major Species; Flathead, Australian salmon, bream, flounder, jack mackerel, tuna, morwong, striped trumpeter, whiting, couta and squid.
Other attractions; Swimming, golf, diving, bushwalking, ferry to the National Park and Marine reserve on Maria Island.
Orford is a holiday area close to Hobart, providing access to a wide range of fishing.
The Prosser River, which runs through the town, has sea-run trout and some resident trout up stream. Flathead, mullet, Australian salmon and mackerel can be caught from the banks of the river and there are a few jetties that are great for kids. Spinners and lures give good results, or if you prefer bait, fish, pilchards, prawns, sand worms or even red meat or chicken will do the trick.
Fishing from the sheltered beach on either side of Orford will produce salmon, flathead and whiting. From the boat, drifting will nearly always produce flathead (some big "kings"at certain times) and morwong are quite common.
Both Orford and Triabunna provide access to Maria Island. Tasmania's largest marine reserve is located on the western side of the Island and extends one kilometre off shore from Cape Boullanger to Return point. No fishing is allowed in the reserve.
The eastern side of Maria (accessible by boat) is well known for the full range of game fishing particularly tuna (southern bluefin, yellowfin and albacore). Reef fish including striped trumpeter are taken in selected areas. Charter boats are available which will increase your fishing results. Take care if boating in Mercury Passage and particularly the off shore waters of Maria Island as conditions change quickly.
Click above for current issue content. The current issue of TFBN is extensive and topical. In Tackle Stores, Newsagents and by subscription.
Delivered to your door for $60 for 2 years (10 issues). To subscribe, send Mike $60 via www.paypal.com.au . (Basic instructions are here) The email is at Contact Us. Your address will be included from PayPal. Please ensure your details are correct, for Mike to organise delivery.
Here is a list of all of the Article Categories. The number in Brackets, eg (13) is the number of articles. Click on Derwent River and all articles relating to the Derwent will be displayed in the central area.