Presented from Issue 96
Look and Learn
As I passed Wrinklers lagoon I noticed for the first time this summer the lagoon had been released. The spoil piles still remained where the excavator had dug an opening to the sea, slowly being eroded by the ever widening channel as my favourite lagoon disgorged its tannin rich waters. My mind started racing with questions. How had the high water levels of winter and spring affected the fishing? Would the large bream from the year before still be there? How would the abundance of water birds affect the fishing? As the water level dropped and the flats began to appear, it became evident that the black inky mud of the year before had been overlaid by clean yellow sand and the lagoon now contained far more weed. How would this affect things? There is really only one way to find out.
Presented from Issue 94
Sea run trout are somewhat of an enigma for many Tasmanian and travelling anglers. Our population are mostly comprised of brown trout which, by definition, choose to live most of their lives at sea. These fish then come into our estuary systems twice a year in order to feed (August – November) and to spawn (April – June). The best time to chase them is during the early months of the season when site fishing is a very real possibility.
Presented from Issue 94
With the cold and wet winter days now behind us, as we move into the peak of spring, we can look forward to some truly spectacular fishing ahead.
As Matt Byrne details here, mid-late spring is the prime time to hit our popular coastal estuaries and rivers in search of our iconic sport fishing species – the southern black bream.
Thousands of Tasmanians participate in recreational line fishing each year with the majority fishing in marine waters. The most popular target species is flathead with Australian salmon also keenly sought.
Tasmania has a dedicated group of over 23,000 anglers who trout fish each year, many of whom also fish in marine waters. However, a larger proportion of recreational anglers who fish in marine waters don’t go trout fishing. If you are one of these anglers, why not give trout fishing a go this season?
Over Winter I get asked more about garfish than anything else. I know we have monster southern bluefin tuna still hanging around, but the humble little garfish can be a mainstay for anglers.
They are one of Tasmania’s most sought estuarine fish during the cooler months. They are plentiful, great fun to catch and delicious to eat. You don’t need to go zooming around the bay looking for them as they will come to you. Kids love catching them — and so do I.
The cooler months are best, and finds the bigger fish inshore and in many Tasmanian estuaries.
Sharks are the top predators in our marine ecosystems. They are highly vulnerable to overfishing because they are long lived, slow to mature and produce fewer offspring compared with other fish. Sharks play an important role in our oceans by cleaning up dead and dying marine species.
How Many Sharks are Caught?
The silver trevally or Pseudocaranx dentex has to be my most favourite and cherished light tackle species in Tasmania. They are just an awesome little fish to catch, especially if you manage to hook one over that magical fifty centimetre mark! Personally, I began targeting the species many years ago on a variety of baits and artificial lures from a small stretch of beach in Georges Bay. At the time, they were the ultimate sports fish, the very thought of hooking up to one of these fish was enough to keep me saving up for more packets of soft plastics. One of the aspects I really enjoy about targeting trevally is their simplicity to catch. Sure, they aren’t as hard to catch as a big black bream, but at the end of the day, I think everyone would be happy with a large, hard fighting silver trevally. Over the years, I have discovered many trevally holding locations scattered along our coastlines, even up around Burnie! With their awesome fighting abilities and overall beauty, I can understand why the silver trevally is one of the most popular species Tasmania has to offer.
The Christmas season is now upon us, many anglers will begin to pursue popular inshore species such as East Australian Salmon, Silver Trevally, Black Bream and Sand Flathead. Fishing from the shore has been one of my favourite methods of targeting specific species of fish for some time now and the very thought of discovering a new location is enough for me leave the boat at home. With Georges Bay and some North West hot spots being my favourite places to fish, many other destinations have either been discovered or successfully fished. Typical locations such as Red Rock on the North West coast has been producing many different species for a while now with the captures of good sized Silver Trevally, Gummy Sharks, Elephant Fish and Southern Garfish becoming more common. Some people worry and stress about not being able to access a kayak or boat in order to venture out onto the water but in reality, most anglers will have at least two great fishing spots that they can easily access from the shore.
When I began fishing from Red Rock on the North West coast with my good mate Jeremy Shaw, the possibility of encountering a Draughtboard Shark or Eagle Ray was enough to keep us coming back each weekend. Many days were spent fishing at Red Rock with colossal amounts of burley and junk food. Back then, captures of small East Australian Salmon and Sand Flathead were cherished and we never thought of leaving the rock for any reason other than the occasional trip out in the boat for a Mako Shark. During at least five years of fishing from Red Rock, we caught numerous and memorable fish including that of a rather large Seven Gilled Shark. It wasn’t until I began to seriously fish around the plentiful beaches and jetties of Georges Bay that I realized that fishing was the thing for me. Like the many hobbies that people enjoy, I got better at the sport and eventually became unstoppable. I believe that every angler needs to start off somewhere, land based fishing is a great way to begin the life long journey.
There are a number of Whiting species found throughout Australia, and many Tasmanians would be surprised to learn that recreational fishing surveys report around 10,000 Whiting are caught in Tasmanian waters every year. These would mostly be sand whiting though.
The King George Whiting is the prize. It is the largest and most well renowned species and is considered one of the best table fish around.
Normally South Australia is spruiked as the KGW capital of Australia but in recent years Tasmanian waters have started to produce some regular numbers of good quality, well sized KGW.
Tasmanian Bream are a fantastic sports fish that offer the Tasmanian angler a challenging and rewarding day on the water. Black Bream, in Tasmanian waters, have been able to grow to impressive sizes due to the limited angling pressure they receive and the healthy estuary systems they live in. Bream up to 2.5 kg are not uncommon in our waters and these very old fish are often seen and caught amongst schools of bream in the upper tidal reaches of a river during the spawning season.
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