The Peninsula - an anglers delight
by Joe Thureau
The Peninsula area, often known in general terms as the Tasman Peninsula, actually comprises two separate regions - Forestier Peninsula, immediately south of the neck of land at the town of Dunalley and Tasman Peninsula, separated from the former by the narrow Eaglehawk Neck.
The whole area is an historical picture of the early days of Tasmania settlement, containing many of the old convict buildings and settlement sites. It is one of the most beautiful areas of our State and offers anglers and their families unsurpassed scenery, ample accommodation and shopping facilities and the chance to enjoy these pleasures when the weather is too rough for fishing, or the fish refuse to bite.
On Forestier Peninsula, Australian Salmon, Flathead - including Tiger Flathead - and flounder are plentiful in Blackman Bay, while the lesser Cod, Leatherjackets and Wrasse are also to be found. On the seaward side of Forestier, Lagoon Bay and North Bay contain large kelp beds which shelter many fish - Morwong, Trevally, Wrasse, Leatherjackets and Ling, white Blue Warehou, Australian Salmon and Barracouta are available in the open waters offshore, working the seas around Visscher Island and High Yellow Bluff. Access from the sea is easy, with an excellent boat ramp in Boomer Bay, close to Dunalley. Shore based anglers must seek approval from local land owners, if the wish to access either of these spots from the landward side. On the western side of this peninsula the fishing is more likely to include Flathead, Cod, Flounder and Whiting in several small bays which are found there. Dunalley Bay, King George Sound and Flinders Bay are all good spots, although 4WD tracks may be used in several spots.
At Eaglehawk Neck, where dogs once prevented escaped convicts to leave the peninsula, the environment and the fishing changes, as one enters Tasman Peninsula. Three parts of the coastline - on the east, to the south and west - are subject to continual pounding by storms from far south and westward regions. The coasts are beautifully rugged and are equally dangerous to both boating anglers and land based fishers. Care is essential in the whole area and the wise angler will consult with locals regarding wind and weather conditions.
Pirates Bay is the focal point for the Tuna fishing, a sport which dominates the peninsula for six months of the year. Charter boats and accommodation are available for visiting anglers.
Further south, Fortescue Bay is a favourite are for those who like their camping and this bay is base for many of the privately owned boats which, again, seek Tuna of the open seas. Port Arthur in the south is simular to Pirates Bay in that it offers accommodation, shopping facilities and charter boats for game fishing. The whole of the eastern seaboard, west to Cape Raoul in the south, comprises one of the popular game fishing grounds in the State and each year sees an influx of anglers seeking the Skipjack Tuna, Albacore and Southern Bluefin Tuna which invade the seas there in the autumn and early winter months. And, apart from the Tuna, the area also abounds in Trumpeter, the magnificent Striped variety being much sought, Morwong, Ling, Salmon and (sometimes) Tailor, Barracouta and many other species.
The western side of the peninsula, while it is less dangerous, is open to adverse weather from the south and south eat and can be treacherous at times.
Again, care is strongly recommended when fishing. The Wedge Bay area, here, is favoured because of the shelter it offers, the facilities which are available at Nubeena at the head of Parsons Bay, and the good fishing. In Parsons Bay, Atlantic Salmon and Rainbow Trout sometimes escape from the marine farm in the bay, added attraction for those who drift for Flathead, Whiting, Cod and Leatherjackets. And, one the reefs in the bay, Luderick - unusual in Tasmania - are to be found.
The northern shore of the peninsula front onto Norfolk and Fredrick Henry Bays, with sheltered areas and easier fishing for those with small boats. Much of these areas are shallow with sandy bottoms and are home to the ever-present Flathead, Whiting and Flounder, white Salmon, Barracouta and Trumpeter are also available in good numbers. And, there are spots where - occasionally - surprisingly large and scarce fish are caught, usually by local anglers. Large Snapper, for instance, have been taken at the northern end of Taranna Bay, near Dart Island, where the deep water and currents stir up good quantities of food and where the fishing is light.
Such, briefly, is "The Peninsula"; an area of great beauty, of danger for the unwary and the home of some of the best fishing. A visit is highly recommended.
This is where the Tuna are in numbers and are large, the size having increased over the past three or four years. This is the southern tip of Tasman Island, where the big Tuna gather and where many large Striped Trumpeter are caught.