Fishing around George Town

Damon Sherriff

George Town and Low Head are fantastic spots to do some estuary and fresh water fishing. I have spent most of my life fishing the Tamar River and its surrounds. A large majority of that has been around the George Town Low head area. It is a universal area with many fishing options.

Pier Pontoon at York Cove
This is one of my favourite pontoons on the Tamar River. There are many species to be caught off this pontoon. These include garfish, silver trevally, snotty trevally, mackerel, couta, salmon, cod, flathead, pike and the occasional gummy shark. The gummies must be released as it is a gummy shark nursery. All fishing methods will work off the pontoon that includes soft plastics, bait, lure and fly. This will depend on what species that you are fishing for.
The bigger gars are always caught during the winter and early spring. Small bait suspended below a small quill float is the most productive way to catch them. Bread dough, bread, chicken and maggots are the most affective bait for gars. Berley is also very important with garfish success. I prefer bread or bread crumbs but fish bran also works well when spread into the water in small amounts. A light outfit is ideal for garfish, around a 2000 sized reel and a light spinning rod rated at 1 to 3 kilos. Garfish are fantastic to eat and are well worth the effort.

Silver Trevally
Silvers can also be caught off the Pier pontoon during certain months. Winter and early spring seem to be the most productive. Berley is essential to silver trevally success. Chook pellets and fish oil is highly recommended for berley. The best baits are bluebait, whitebait, pilchard fillets, chicken breast and prawns. A light spinning outfit with a soft tip is recommended. A sabiki rig or bait rig is also worth a shot when targeting silver trevally. A friend of mine targets silvers in the Tamar and has caught them up to 2 kgs in weight. Silvers tend to hang around structures which include cunji beds, moorings and channel edges.

Snotty Trevally
 This is a great spot for snotties when they are about. They are quite easy to berley up. The same berley mix as used on the silver trevally is adequate for these as well. A sabiki rig baited with chicken breast and thigh is by far the most successful type of bait. Also bluebait, peeled, prawns, squid and pilchard fillets are all worth a shot. A similar outfit to the silvers is the way to go. Snotties are mainly taken during the colder months. June, July and August seem to be the pick of them. Blue warehou or snotties are fantastic sport on light tackle and are great to eat when fresh. The water depth at the pier pontoon is around 4 to 5 metres at low tide and you can easily see the bottom and is possible to sight your trevally which is great fun especially for the kids.
The Monument at George Town
This is a great spot to cast lures for Australian salmon, pike, couta and the occasional rat. (kingfish) It is a very convenient land based platform at the end of the main street. You cast out into very deep fast flowing water. The bottom is quite snaggy so bait fishing is not recommended.

Pike and couta can be caught land based from the George Town monument nearly all year round. All that is needed is a 40 to 60 gram silver slice lure to catch these fish. A fast retrieve should entice a strike when the fish are about. I recommend a slightly heavier outfit for this sort of work. A 7 to 8 foot general purpose rod matched with a 4000 size reel is a good choice for spinning with heavier lures and weights. It's a good idea to use around 6 to 8 kg mono for catching yellowtail kings and blackback salmon which occasionally turn up off this platform.

Off Ainslie House
This is one of Low Heads number one big salmon spots. Directly off Ainslie house is an inner channel which separates itself from the main stream of the main channel. It is a red hot feeding ground for black back salmon. They are regularly caught up to 2 kilos in this area. A boat is not necessary but is a big advantage.

Australian salmon
Salmon fishing in this area is best at high and the low tide change. Low tide is probably more productive. Drift spinning is the most effective method. Trolling is also popular but can put the fish down due to excess outboard noise. Saltwater fly fishing is also another popular way to catch big salmon off Ainslie. White or silver bait fish patterns work best. A fly dropper can also work well just above your lure. Big salmon can school up ion the edge of the channel in very shallow water, ambushing anchovies as they move out into the deeper water. Sometimes there will be no signs that the fish are there. Birds are not always an indicator. A few bow waves or a water disturbance may be the only indicator that big salmon are in the area.

Two Mile Reef
This is one of my favourite spots off shore during spring and early summer. This is a great spot to chase southern calamari. Just 10 minutes run east of the Low Head lighthouse, Two mile reef is a small anomaly which is semi submerged at high tide. It is covered in bull kelp and rubble reef. It is a top spot for squid.

Southern calamari
The ideal depth is around 3 and 10 metres over reefy bottom. Drifting is by far the best way to catch squid. If you can, a light southerly wind is the best breeze in this spot. The use of a sea anchor is a must if you're drifting to quick. I find 2.5 to 3.5 inch squid jig works the best. A prawn style squid jig or a baited squid jag suspended under a float works the best. A light spinning outfit is all the\at is needed. A landing net is a must. Always net your calamari mantle first. Leave the squid in the water for a few moments before lifting it aboard. This allows the squid to de-ink itself and saves a lot of mess. Don't get stuck on any one colour as they regularly change the colour that they are biting on. Calamari is my favourite eating seafood and is worth the effort. Cuttlefish are often caught while chasing calamari and equally as nice to eat.

George Town, Low Head area has some fantastic fishing in a close proximity. Fresh to saltwater it has the lot. Giant makos to brown trout, it is a very diverse area.
Damon Sherriff
Damon and Sarah Sherriff have recently taken over Good Sports in George Town's main street. Call in next time you are passing for the latest report on the lower Tamar.