Wednesday 5 January my family and I headed to Swansea to "hopefully" catch a feed of flathead.
Heading out from the Swansea town centre boat ramp at around 8am, hopes were high that the kid's and Janet would get onto a few. As for myself, I was "designated decky" and man o man did they keep me busy!!!
We headed out towards the Coles Bay side for about 10 minutes and pulled up to see what was about.......from the moment the rods hit the water, it never stopped.
In short, we caught our limit as well as throwing about 150 undersized ones back.
Janet and the kids also caught a couple of gummys and gurnards as by-catch... that were also returned.
As for myself, I am sipping on a well earned beer as I write this, with the smell of crumbed flathead coming from the kitchen....all is good with the world.
by Craig Macaulay
Tasmania’s east coast is recording its highest-ever winter water temperatures of more than 13ºC – up to 1.5ºC above normal – due to a strengthening of an ocean current originating north of Australia.
Satellites have given oceanographers an insight into a remarkable phenomenon – a significant extension of the Leeuwin Current curling around the southern tip of Tasmania and reaching as far north as St Helens.
The edges of Macquarie Harbour, Freycinet Peninsula and Maria Island National Park are typical habitats for one of Tasmania's most spectacular birds - the white-breasted sea eagle - a bird of prey with a wing span sometimes exceeding 2 m and a weight of up to 4.5 kg.
Luck, persistence and live bait
Arrangements were finalised with Jack to fish the Scamander River for bream. Jack is known in the region as Zane Grey, for reading Westerns and for his exceptional recreational fisherman skills.
Recently I had the chance to enjoy a days reef fishing with Rocky Carosi aboard Adosinda 11. I am a fisherman who will jump at any chance to fish with professional guides, as I am a firm believer that a days fishing with a good guide can teach you more than you can learn in ages by yourself.
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.
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