From the Archives ...

Soft Plastics on the Rocks

Steve Steer

Introduction
If you are anything like me and you enjoy getting out and catching fish for the sheer fun and excitement of it, no matter what the size or species of fish you may be catching?... then do yourself a favor and grab a selection of soft plastic lures and a light spin outfit and head down to the rocks. Fishing from the rocks with soft plastics and light tackle can provide some adrenalin packed action, which can be seriously addictive to even the keenest of anglers. Be warned though, it is not for the faint hearted, or those who are afraid of loosing a few jigheads/lures and the odd fish to the kelp and rocks as this is just part of the game!

Read more ...

When you have finished for the day, why not have a brag about the ones that didn't get away! Send Mike an article on your fishing (Click here for contact details), and we'll get it published here. Have fun fishing - tasfish.com

Please check all relevant authorities before fishing.
htttp://www.ifs.tas.gov.au and http://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/sea-fishing-aquaculture/recreational-fishing
Don't forget http://issuu.com/stevenspublishing for years of back issues !

101 bream headPresented from Issue 101

What is it about Bream?

While growing up I had the fortune of spending summer holidays at arguably one of the best bream fishing waters in Australia in Ansons Bay. Being young and eager just to feel the weight of a fish on the rod, catching bream was often derailed by chasing the abundant cocky salmon and silver trevally. While these species were on the chew, getting the buzz out of hooking and landing a fish was too much of a temptation. Often schools of bait fish would be busted up in the bay given away by the tell tail signs of seagulls and terns diving in to pick up the scraps left by the salmon as they slammed the abundant anchovies, or what the locals called “sardines”.

101 mayfly flies mechutePresented from Issue 101

That time of year has finally arrived. The rivers start to settle after a winter full of cold weather and rains. The water of the highland lakes warms. Combine this with warmer weather patterns and you little beauty it all begins to happen. What am I talking about, well I reckon you have guessed it by now, the mayflies will be starting to hatch.

The famous hatches from the slow, flat lowland rivers of Tasmania’s Northern Midlands area should be well under way and the mayfly waters of the central plateau should follow, if they haven’t already started.

100 sea run slamon head

Presented from Issue 100
Considering the world class quality of our sea trout fishery, these fish are not sought after by enough anglers. Sea runners live in the salt water and run up our estuaries and rivers from the start of August to the middle of November. At this time of the year, they are here to eat the many species of fish that are either running up the rivers to spawn or are living in and around the estuary systems. Trout, both sea run and resident (Slob Trout) feed heavily on these small fish which darken in colouration as they move further into fresh water reaches.

The majority of these predatory fish are brown trout with rainbows making up a very small percentage of the catch. They can be found all around the state but it would be fair to say that the east coast is the least prolific of all the areas. They still run up such rivers as the Georges (and many others) but their numbers along with the quality of the fishing elsewhere make it difficult to recommend the area above the larger northern, southern and western rivers.

100 lake echo 3 pounder cropPresented from Issue 100
It’s been five years since I last did an article on Lake Echo so time for an update on my still favourite water. Each year I manage several trips which due to the distance from home are usually one or two night excursions. The spring months from September through till November still rate as the best times however the month of April in ideal conditions can be brilliant. By ideal conditions I mean rough as hell, in fact during April the rougher the better. Most Tassie autumns can be quite mild and some seasons I haven’t even gone as it was just too calm.

Presented from Issue 100

As the years progress and the fishing gods pull you further under their spell (and your partner allows you) somehow you seem to gather quite a collection of gear. Fly rods are no exception to this rule and I have even had to build an outside room so I am able to keep my collection away from certain eyes, if you know what I mean!. In recent years light line fishing has become more and more popular. With the number of people now going “Twigging” increasing, so to is the availability of the lighter line weight rods in varying lengths. Twigging is commonly referred to as fishing with 3 weight rods or lighter. You can now buy rods right down to a 000 line weight, and by the time you read this I will have one in the rod rack ( thanks Nick). Until that rod arrives at Essential Fly Fisher from the US the 3wt is as light as I own. Over the past few years I have become a lot more interested in the smaller stream fishing. There is just so many of these streams all around the state that are full of hungry fish it seems crazy not to fish them. As a result of this stream and river fishing I have built a small collection of 3wt rods.

Presented from Issue 100
Most of us have learned the various basic fish cleaning techniques passed down over the years. I am always on the lookout for faster and better methods and have picked up a few that I will describe in detail in this article. Once you have practised them I,m sure you will use some of these new methods in preference to your old ways.

100 north east trout2Presented from Issue 100
Having moved to the North East of Tasmania several years ago I set out to explore my local rivers and found them to be vastly different from the Mersey where I grew up. The rivers up this way tend to be much smaller, shallow sandy-bottomed streams. One of the first rivers I fished was a tributary of the George River, the Groom. It was early October and a nice sunny day as I headed north out of St Helens. As I went I stopped on each of the river bridges to have a look. I found the George River to be a little higher than what looked to be normal and discoloured so I continued on.

A few kilometres up the road I came to the Groom River and once again parked the car and had a look downriver from the bridge. This stream was also a little higher than normal but most sections flowed over a broad flat sandy bottom ranging between 30 and 50 cm deep. Much to my surprise looking downriver from the bridge I could quite clearly see five or six small fish feeding over the sand.

100 kayak troutPresented from Issue 100
Have you ever driven over the South Esk River bridge at Perth? I am sure that most of us have. On every trip to Hobart, the idea of fishing this section of river has been in the back of my mind. As a child, I often fished the adjoining ‘Charles Berryman Picnic Reserve’ with my father. It was close to Launceston and had very good access to a small side-water that branched off the main river. Being European, we targeted species that would normally be considered as pests, such as redfin perch and tench. Sounds crazy I know, but prepared the correct way, tench were actually pretty good eating.

Most of the time we fished the old fashioned way, using worms suspended under a float. I also used small redfin-patterned Celtas on the odd occasion. The traditional red-coloured ones seemed to give the best results, with many trout caught on these metal spinners in the picnic reserve side-water. However, access to good fishing spots in the river itself was difficult, as the banks were overgrown with willows.

Presented from Issue 100

How it was

Shore based angling

Over 20 years ago I was lucky enough to be taught to fish lakes like Arthurs by the great angler Shayne Murphy. One of the great lessons that I learnt from Murf was that in many cases you should simply use your boat to get to the best shore fishing locations quickly and efficiently. In those days we would pick the eyes out of the best locations then quickly move on to fresh and similar waters.

A few years later I started my guiding career and I bought a beautiful tri hull boat. For many years, just like Murf had taught me, I used this boat for transporting my clients to the best shore fishing locations for the weather and wind conditions. I well remember many times when my wading clients were ‘catching the clappers out of them’ as other anglers and guides drifted by flogging the water for little obvious results.

Presented from Issue 100
Weather - It’s the determining factor for most anglers in working out where to fish on a given day. “Too bright for here” ,”They won’t be tailing in this wind”, “It’s Easterly today so it’s going to be tough” these saying are all too familiar and they do have implications if we want success at catching a trout.

Picking the right weather can make or break an outing, a good decision can produce a red letter day while a bad decision can make chasing a trout hard work. So often I’ve spoken to visiting anglers who have struggled to catch fish without the all important local knowledge, they made decisions to visit waters which don’t fire in the wrong weather.

100 aust salmon cPresented from Issue 100

In Tasmania, larger Australian Salmon over two pounds are often called Black Back Salmon while the smaller models are known as Cocky Salmon. These fish are a valuable and much loved light tackle sports fish that are enjoyed by both land based and boating anglers all around Tasmania. They are a common catch in our estuaries, along our beaches and rocky headlands, and around the many small islands. They are a schooling fish that are constantly on the move along our coastlines, feeding predominantly on krill and small baitfish. They can be found in an estuary or along a particular part of the coast one week and then gone the next, as they move with the changing tides that influence the food they eat. Their presence rarely goes unnoticed when they turn up, as reports of anglers success quickly filters through the local angling community who gather in large numbers to make the most of these fantastic fish.

Presented from Issue 100
For adventurous trout anglers springtime and early summer is the time to start thinking about heading out to the area officially known as the Central Plateau Conservation Area or simply to most of us as the Western Lakes.

This area boasts world class angling opportunities in rugged wilderness setting. For many fishermen their sole exposure to the western lakes region is the pocket of waters in the eastern edge of the CPCA known as the “19 Lagoons”. While these lakes and lagoons always provide reliable fishing opportunities, in this modern age it is hard to get a water or even a short section of shoreline to yourself particularly if you are restricted to weekend trips. For those of us seeking solitude and also adventure, venturing further out into the wilderness is a must.

Simon Tueon (Chewy) and I recently shared one such adventure in to this magnificent wilderness fishery. Here is our story….

Airflo Nemesis#6 ROD AND 7/8 ALLOY REEL SALT OR FRESHWATER OUTFIT
$280.00 (Was $420.00) - 33% Off. Hurry, there are only 11 item(s) left!
This is outstanding value for money. It is a great outfit for lake fishing as a longer rod gives great control.
Perfect for lake fishing, using sinking, or sink tip lines from a boat. Casting floating, sinking or sink tip lines is a breeze. You also get and better lift and hang at the boat. This is a strong #6 that will cast a line into the next postcode and will cope with a #7 line easily.

Purchase it here at the Essential Fly Fisher

Presented from Issue 99
Early season fishing can be very challenging. Too challenging for this mere mortal of a fishing guide so I don’t like to guide before October. You see, I have a problem taking money from clients for what I consider mostly to be sub-standard (read sub- surface) fishing.

My clients love sight fishing on warm balmy days. Whilst early season shallow water tailers can offer great sport on lake margins and flooded river edges the weather is anything but balmy and the sport is particularly unreliable.

If you are Johnny on the spot, you have good local knowledge of water levels and conditions and you are not scared of frosty, foggy early mornings, then by all means be my guest. You may just find some of the best fishing of the season.

Presented from Issue 99
Peter Broomhall’s tips for trout season opening day success on a few of my favourite fisheries

For Tasmanian trout anglers the first Saturday in August is the culmination of a gradual build up in anticipation that started a few weeks beforehand. During this time rods have been checked, reels oiled, lines renewed, leaders retied, hooks sharpened, waders checked for leaks and tackle and fly boxes restocked. In some extreme cases this has been repeated many times over...

99 north east streamPresented from Issue 99
For most East Coast anglers the thought of chasing a few trout usually conjures up images of an extended trip to the central highlands, hours of driving, cool temperatures and long hours on the water to make the most of the trip.

However there is some great trout fishing options a lot closer to home than many would think with more than enough variety to satisfy even the most discerning of trout anglers.

With a good mix of river, lake and dam fishing there is something for everyone.

If heading to the rivers my early season recommendations would be definitely some upstream worm fishing in the faster water and small Wattyl Grubs and worms in the slower pools for those wishing to bait fish. A big bunch of scrub worms thread onto a #6 bronze bait holder hook and lobbed unweighted upstream into the tail of runs and eddies is a dynamite technique. If there has been some seasonal rain and the river has broken its banks then its prime time for the worm fisherman, take advantage of the water rising into normally dry drains and into paddocks as the Trout follow and gorge themselves on drowned insects and worms.

99 smoke rackPresented from Issue 99
I have been smoking fish since I was a child. My European background meant that I learned these skills from an early age, from my father. Using a homemade wood-fired hot smoker, we would smoke eels predominantly, but sometimes trout too. My ‘backyard fish smoking’ apprenticeship lasted for years; however, when I was 12 years old, my father was finally happy to leave me in charge of the whole process.

To this day, I have maintained a keen interest in smoking fish. The only difference is that now, given my keen interest in fishing for them, I primarily smoke trout. Over the years, I have made several homemade fish smokers, and have smoked a variety of fish. In the early days, I stuck religiously to the traditional salt plus water brine; however, in more recent years, I have been experimenting with lots of different brine recipes.

Part of the secret to getting any smoked fish right is the brine. It is the first part of the ‘preserving’ or ‘curing’ process and is a crucial step that cannot be overlooked. Realistically, a simple mix of salt plus water is all that is required to make a basic brine solution. However, there are better recipes out there for those who want to go a step further and make something really special!

Too many to choose from!Presented from Issue 99
I have something to confess, I am a tackle junkie. When it comes to fly fishing gear I try and collect whatever I can, whenever I can. Doesn’t make me very popular at times I must admit but I’m afraid that is just the way it is. My current passion is for collecting different styles of chest/vest packs but I do have a soft spot for a nice reel. A fly reel is probably more important to our kit than a pack lets be honest, you can always throw a box of flies in your pocket if needed and go fishing. But if there is no fly reel locked on to the end of your favourite rod its going to be a tough day on the water!. Over the years I have collected and gotten rid of a fair few fly reels. Some brilliant, some pretty ordinary to tell you the truth.

bream scamanderPresented from Issue 99
The annual spawning run or should I say flood of bream to the Scamander River is well underway. Earlier in autumn small schools of adult fish accumulated around the snags in the lower channel of Georges Bay ready for the long run south. When their numbers built up they made the mad dash down the coast and at times could be seen skirting the rocks of St Helens Point as they went.

Along the way they were joined by fish from Dianas Basin and Wrinklers Lagoon when these lagoons were open to the sea. At the same time fish travelled north from Four Mile Creek and Henderson’s Lagoon massing in the surf at the mouth of the river. At the top of the incoming tide fish moved in through the mouth of the river and gathered around the best two snags the Scamander River has to offer- the bridges. Now in late winter, their destinations are the long stretches of brackish water that will provide the right environment for the food their progeny will need after they hatch.

99 peddar bPresented from Issue 99
Lake Pedder. It used to be a good fishery right? Wrong, it was an exceptional fishery. Through the late 70s and early 80s the trout from this iconic south west water averaged an astonishing 4kg. That was the average weight not the good fish but the average weight. There has never been a fishery like it and there never is likely to be ever again.

What does surprise many is it’s a great fishery now. The trout are nothing like those of years gone by but they are in great condition, fight hard and in numbers that would be astounding if it could ever be calculated. Large bags are common and the quality of fish is very good. So often when it comes up in conversation people are surprised to hear it offers some great fishing to all artificial methods. And most always add that they’ve never been but have always wanted to make the trip out.

It’s well worth it, the scenery alone is unparalleled, panoramas that extend 360 degrees when you’re out on the water. Some areas of the lake it’s breath taking at times. For someone new to the water the fishing possibilities are much the same. You can round a point and be mesmerized by the bay in front of you, flooded tea tree sloping banks into weed rich water, fish rising, sometimes clear of the water chasing damselfly on the wing, only to go around the next point and see it open up again into a better looking bay and another and so on.

99 night aPresented from Issue 99
The Western Lakes can be a tough place to catch a fish, especially if you’re limiting yourself to sight fishing only. There are many influencing factors that can contribute to seeing very few fish during the day. We see fish in the shallows because there is often some kind of food present that brings them in close to shore. So if there is no food, they really have no reason to leave the security and food rich environment of the deeper water. During low water levels and high water temperatures in late summer, trout will often shelter under rocks during the heat of the day and only venture out late in the evening and into the night to feed. These are the days when you can walk all day and only seen one or two fish.

The Australian Fly Fishing Museum is a unique single subject museum housed at the National Trust Estate at Clarendon just south of Evandale Tasmania about 30 minutes south of Launceston and is open from 10am to 4pm Thursday to Sunday.

The museum houses a collection showing the history of Fly Fishing in Australia and has a well curated display of items which not only deal with the evolution and history, but also the art of fly fishing.

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