Winter fishing around Frederick Henry Bay

By the time this edition of Tas. Fishing & Boating News goes to press winter will be upon us, however, this is not the end of the world for "fish-o-holics" as some excellent angling can still be found locally to keep enthusiastic anglers occupied.

In Southern Tasmania, Frederick Henry Bay is as good as anywhere to cast a line over the winter months with the ever present flathead and many calamari squid just itching to be caught - well - they may not be that excited about the idea, but they are there for the taking.

Frederick Henry is a great place to fish because there are so many accessible bays, jetties, beaches and rocky outcrops from which to fish. No matter what the weather is you can always find a sheltered area somewhere to cast a line.

Close to home, spots such as Seven Mile Beach, Clifton Beach and South Arm are great places to start, particularly evening times on an incoming tide when skates, rays and a few sharks thrown in can create some exhilarating fishing.

Don't forget that Frederick Henry Bay is a shark nursery area and school and gummy sharks must be released unharmed to continue on their merry way making more sharks - and hopefully returning at another time and place to test your skills and make your reel sing that wonderful song.

If you are getting a lot of nibbles but not hooking-up, try a smaller hook size, the odds are your bait is being devoured by another of the bay's delicacies, whiting.
Further afield there are some other great spots worth checking out if you are in the area - Primrose Sands, Dunalley, Murdunna, Taranna and White Beach just to name a few.

Midway Point Causeway is another easy spot to access and produces some great fishing at times, care should be taken here as traffic can be hazardous for the unwary, particularly if there are junior anglers in your group - cars also tend to test your gear to the limit and are hard to land.

Many of the jetties can produce some great squid fishing of an evening, once again an incoming tide is preferable, areas worth noting are Dunalley Canal, Lewisham and the Tiger Head jetty.
For those fishing from a boat the possibilities are also endless, particularly for those targeting flathead and calamari squid. For flathead, try any of the many bays where you can see the bottom and there are patches of weed for them to hide against. "Wiggle-tails', fished on half-ounce jig heads and used in conjunction with light spinning gear are both great fun and deadly for this type of fishing. If you haven't tried it yet, seek advice from your local tackle outlet and they will set you up and show you how to use what is really a very inexpensive and lethal lure.

Calamari like to hang around areas of patchy rock substrate that is covered in weed, spots worth a look are around Slopen Island, mouth of the Dunalley Canal and in front of Tiger Head just to name a few. A good quality squid jig, such as a razorback, used on light to medium spinning gear is all that is required for this type of fishing and can provide the family with a "mouth watering" feed.

When fishing from the shore or off one of the many jetties around Frederick Henry Bay try using a squid float in conjunction with your squid jig, this will allow you to keep the squid jig in the strike zone longer without snagging the bottom (Try to suspend the jig approximately two feet off the bottom). Not only will the float act as a strike indicator but it will also apply resistance to the jig when the squid attacks, thereby helping you to hook up.

Over the winter months the other delicacy that is abundant, particularly in the estuarine areas, is flounder. Although not commonly targeted on rod and reel, these wonderful eating fish will willingly take a bait and provide excellent sport on light tackle. Sandworms presented on smallish long shanks such as Global's "King George" hook make an excellent offering and should be fished on a running sinker rig. Although these fish are present during the day, it is night time that activity is at its best as they move into the shallower areas under the cover of darkness to feed.

Look for natural feeding areas where the bottom is covered with shell-grit, pebbles, short sea-grass or has many small mounds where crabs and sandworms have made their home, anything rather than plain hard flat sand will increase your chances of success.

Australian salmon can also create some memorable fishing and areas worth noting when the salmon are "running" would be the canals at Cremorne and Dunalley, otherwise fishing off one of the many rocky headlands where the rocks front straight into deep water can prove very productive - beware of any 'swell', getting swept off the rocks by a rogue wave can put a real damper on your day, and that's putting it mildly.

If you are unsure as to how to go about targeting a particular species or want the latest info on who's catching what, where and how, call in and ask the guys at your local tackle store, they have a wealth of knowledge, are up to date on what fish are running at any given time (most of them are mad keen fisho's themselves) and they are only too willing to help out if they can.
All in all winter fishing can be just as productive as any other time of year so, grab a jumper and pack the hamper, load the kids into the car and head for the water - there's a fish out there waiting - but then, there's always a fish somewhere!!

John Orchard