by Sarah Graham
Many anglers are preparing for the opening of the new angling season on Saturday 7 August and it's shaping up to be another good one with the fishery in excellent health as a result of last year’s drought breaking rains. There are many great fishing locations around the State from which to choose for the opening weekend and early season fishing but here are a few suggestions.
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.
It's early February, and with the water temperature starting to rise, and the appearance of the small pelagic tuna off the north east coast. Wade Pelham and myself decided it would be a good time to seek out a highly regarded game fish; the Blue Pointer or more commonly known as the Mako.
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Presented from Issue 105, August 2013
Christopher Bassano fishes over 250 days a year. This interview was recorded just before he headed off to fish for Australia in the World Fly Fishing Championships in Norway 14-17 August 2013.
I live on a small stream and at the start of the season I like to go off on a bit of a discovery mission and fish the headwaters of the creeks and rivers I feel an affinity with.
These small rivers include the St Pats, Meander, Forester, Little Forester and others. The further up you go on these rivers the clearer and lower the levels. They are often less affected by the rain and runoff and you get some good opportunities. Get as close to the source as you can and you will find some good dry fly fishing. Don’t limit yourself to those I have mentioned. Most headwaters will hold trout.Read more ...