Tidal Talk

I know you'll be pleased to hear that I'm back at my desk after six weeks leave so I have forgotten half of what I knew about fishing in Tasmania.

I went to the island over the water and spent a week at Nelson Bay on Port Stephens. Did not do too much fishing but just being there rekindled memories of fishing back in the fifties with my father on the North Coast of NSW.  
I saw quite a few fish including black bream luderick and drummer. All species I used to catch with the old man.
It set me thinking - and to the eventual conclusion - that we certainly have a fine bream fishery in Tasmania which is as good or indeed better than any bream fishery I have seen interstate.
We also have luderick in Tasmania particularly in the north of the State but perhaps not in the same numbers that occur in NSW.
Also very few people target luderick in Tasmania with rod and line but fish are taken in nets.
By contrast, in NSW, there is a devoted group of fishers who target this species.  
They use an interesting method of fishing using green weed or green cabbage as bait.
A long light rod is used with 5 to 10 kg line and small hooks (about number 8s I think). A float is used with split shot attached to the line and a stopper so that different depths can be fished. They tell me fishing is best on the change of the tide.  
The burley to use is sand with green weed or cabbage mixed in.
Fishing is done from the rocks or from jetties or rock retaining walls in areas where the green seaweed grows.
Fish grow to 3 kgs in weight but most are closer to 1 kg.
It would be interesting to hear of people taking luderick in Tasmania.  Scamander River, Georges Bay, Ansons Bay are likely places and I know the fish are also found in the North West and Flinders Island.

On another front, the scalefish management plan is now in place and coming into effect on November the first.  
Bag limits are the major changes with a maximum of 30 for any species and a combined possession limit of 45 which applies on State waters and adjacent areas but not in the home.  
Details of the changes and the full set of rules for recreational sea fishing are available at Post Offices, Service Tasmania and tackle shops. The new rules will also be on the web.
New South Wales and Victoria both have catch and possession limits to help sustain their fisheries and to fairly share the catch.
Bag and possession limits are as much about fairness as they are about sustainability.
We should never lose sight of the fact that Tasmanian recreational fishers are really privileged compared with the other States in terms of how much they can catch and the fishing methods available.

I have had some complaints, which need attention.   
Access to fishing, particularly on wharves, is very important to the recreational fishers.  
People fishing on wharves are often watched by both locals and interstate visitors so it is important to do the right thing.
Beauty Point Wharf is a good example where very large numbers of visitors observe recreational fishing on their way to the sea horse farm and while they enjoy a coffee or whatever.
People managing wharves get reports about fishing behaviour.
There are a few common sense things you need to do: Always clean up before you leave, making sure that bait, kept fish and fishing line, hooks, plastic bags and other rubbish are take away items. Also please return undersized fish gently to the water.
With fish intended for take home to eat, please dispatch them as quickly as possible making sure that all fish are in the bucket or fish bag to keep them moist and to preserve quality.
Fish are valuable and we need to look after them.
Do your bit to keep fishing open on wharves and remember - fish for the future.

John Smith

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