Travelling west from Smithton, taking the coastal road over the Duck River bridge. A 15 minute drive will bring you into the small farming community of Montagu. Old Port Road takes you to the Montagu camping area which is a good place to start fishing. The boat ramp at Montagu is excellent and is really the only spot to launch a boat. Shore fishing is quite rewarding and places to fish are the jetty (near ramp), off rocks and beaches all along the foreshore.
Montagu is a huge channel and successful fishing there can depend greatly on the tide. Some days the mix of tide and wind that rips through this channel, makes boating very interesting, and an enormous amount of care should be taken. Species that inhabit this spot are Australian salmon, pike, couta, shark, tailor and flathead. Spinning or trolling on high tide from shore, jetty or boat with wobblers, soft plastics, flies and bait will all catch fish.
A 45 minute drive west from Montagu or Smithton finds you at Marrawah. Marrawah is a prime dairy farming and world known surfing location on the west coast. A short drive down Green Point Road, will take you to a car park at Nettley Bay. From there you may fish the rock directly off the car park. A 45 minute walk along the beach, over sand dunes to the north will bring you to Sinking Rock.
Big runs of blackback (large Australian salmon) are found congregating around the rocky edges, feeding on small bait fish and krill. Successful fishing methods are either spinning or bait fishing. Good lures to use are large silver wobblers (30-60 gm) with a fly dropper. Bait fishing quite often takes the bigger specimens, using a large float or balloon with a pilchard below.
Blackback up to 2-3 kg are landed for most of the year, with the occasional yellowtail kingfish and tailor being snagged. The weather plays an important role on the fishing there, with the ruggedness of the west coast sometimes making these hot spots unfishable.
Located 20 minutes down the west coast from Marrawah, is the holiday destination of the Arthur River. This thriving fishing spot is positioned in the Arthur - Pieman Protected Area.
In recent years, holiday units, camping, boat hire, shop, cruises and guided fishing trips, have started to operate around the river. From November, Australian salmon make their way into the river mouth, staying there (depending on the freshwater flow) right through until late February.
Both boating and shore angling from rocks or beach, are equally as productive - making it a perfect recreational fishing location for the whole family. Boats do give access to much more river and trolling is popular along the entire navigable length.
Lures to try are green and gold wobblers or spinners, silver wobblers and soft plastics. Pilchards, anchovies and sand worms work very well for the patient bait angler. Fly anglers may try a green or silver streamer fly, which is most effective.
October - February in more recent times has seen more trout anglers journey to the area. Large resident and sea-run trout are landed from this water every year. From early October sea-runners can be seen near the river mouth, charging and swirling through huge schools of white bait, sending them fleeing across the surface. At this time a fly or small wobbler imitating these bait, may fool them. As the bait schools move further up, so do the trout. Trolling along the banks, is most productive. Lead lines with green, gold, red or bronze cobras, is a deadly trolling rig. Nils Masters, Rapalas, Stump Jumpers along with other bib lures, flicked around snags take a lot of trout and sometimes estuarine perch.
A 30 minute drive further south from the Arthur River, bypassing commercial Rock Lobster fishing villages, will bring you to Temma Harbour. A 4WD or off road vehicle is then essential if you wish to continue south further down the west cost, to Sandy Cape. A permit from Temma to Sandy Cape is needed, and may be collected from the Arthur River rangers station. Sandy Cape mainly consists of vast white sandy beaches, breathtaking dunes and catches of big blackback salmon. These fish which are commonly caught around the mid to end of the year period, or when access to this area can be made. The Sandy Cape Beach, which is just north of the Cape has a history of treacherous quick-sand and has seen many vehicles lost. These salmon are caught from the beaches around the cape, they can be found in the deep gutters not too far off shore. Big heavy silver wobblers and large salt water flies work best. Fish in the 4 - 6 kg range are beached frequently, therefore a strong surf rig with a 2.5-3.5 m rod and low geared reel makes fishing a lot easier. Gang hooked pilchards or anchovies fished with a heavy sinker on a deep sea rig, take their fair share of big salmon and gummy shark.
Stanley would have to be the most well known small town on Tasmania's north coast. It is steeped in history, which makes it a popular spot for visiting tourists. Stanley wharf is the most popular recreational fishing spot on the north west coast. It boasts good catches of snotty trevally (blue warehou), Australian salmon, couta, mullet, leatherjacket, squid and even the odd yellowtail kingfish and shark. The snotty trevally frequent this area from December through to April and these can be most productive times. It is not uncommon to see 80 to 100 anglers shoulder to shoulder on the wharf. The trevally run along the edge of the wharf in large schools, multiple hook ups can see 20 or 30 anglers all hooked up at once, making it very interesting when it comes to landing these fish.
A strong rod 2.5-3.5 m long with a reasonably light tip is very effective, Hi Vis monofilament line 7-9 kg must also be used, this is to be tied to small running sinker rig. Best bait for trevally is uncooked chicken on size 1 or 2 chemically sharpened hook. Fish with the drag locked up completely, because if a fish runs you will tangle with other anglers and end up in an almighty mess.
Other fishing around Stanley includes Godfrey's Beach on the northern shore, where good catches of Australian Salmon, flathead and even tailor are caught both from the beach or rocks.
Stanley sits out on a quite large headland and two bodies of water occupy each side, East and Western Inlets. These inlets are popular fishing places. Since the ban of netting in these spots fishing has improved with Australian salmon, flounder, couta, pike, gummy shark and BIG spawning flathead being the main targets. Spinning or baiting these particular species on the incoming tide is great fishing. For boat fishing, the Stanley area is very good. Drifting with either bait or plastics is effective. Trolling lures such as wobblers, large flies and bib lures can produce good catches of, Australian salmon, couta and pike.
Positioned on the edge of Duck River, Smithton offers the recreational angler with a number of fishing opportunities. All your fishing requirements and local information on the area, can be found at Smithton Sports in the main street of town, open seven days a week. Shore based anglers have the potential to catch silver trevally, large flathead, Australian salmon, tailor and more often than not sea-run trout. These fish can be found right in Smithton fishing from either the reclaimed land on the western shore or around the boat ramp on the eastern shore. Fish can be caught from around this area, by spinning, fly fishing or bait fishing.
Fishing the Duck Bay estuary a boat is essential. From October to early April Australian salmon are readily caught either by trolling or bait fishing. With the estuary being basically two large sand flats east and west of the channel, there is great opportunity for the salt water fly fisherman. Polaroiding big flathead over the sand is a fantastic sport, these fish can also be taken with larger bib lures and bait.
From the oyster leases "The Duck"continues further out through a fairly narrow mouth. Near the mouth, trolling for couta, pike, Australian salmon and tailor with wobblers, flies and surface lures, pick up quite a few fish. Good catches of gummy shark and elephant fish on bait, are taken commonly and recently King George whiting have also been caught in good numbers.
The mouth access by shore can only be made via Seven Mile Beach on the eastern side (4WD Track Only). Off the Duck River mouth lays 4 large islands all of which hold a plentiful number of fish, all year round. Boat access is necessary to these islands. Recreational diving around this area is also popular with rock lobster, green and black lipped abalone being taken during the open season.
The whitebait run up the Duck River is around the months of October - January. During their season, they are fairly heavily fished. With the whitebait, sea-run trout and Australian Salmon move further up into the tidal area. Small Lures and Flies are a good option for snagging these fish.
Detention River and Hellyer Beach
Detention River lies about a five minutes drive west from the Rocky Cape turn off. This offers the shore angler with a few species of fish that can be targeted. They include sea-run trout, Australian salmon and flathead. Spinning for sea-run trout and salmon towards the mouth is the most common form of fishing. These fish can be caught further up the estuary when the tide is full. Good lures for these fish are small bib lures, silver wobblers, cobras and smelt type flies. Bait fishing is also quite common for catching flathead and salmon. Squid, pilchards and prawns are very effective. From the mouth of the Detention River, on the western shore, starts Hellyer beach. This gives the fishermen a chance to do some surf fishing. With the right breeze, and sea, gummy shark frequent the area and can be caught when the water temperatures are warm. A particularly good time to catch shark is of a night. A deep sea rig with 6/0 hook and a big bait works best.
Situated 15 minutes west of Hellyer Beach, Black River is easily accessed through Peggs Creek camping area on the eastern side of the river. Most shore angling and boat access is done from here. A short walk puts you in prime Australian Salmon territory, from the months through October to March. Most shore anglers tend to concentrate at the mouth area, whilst boat fisherman follow the tide up. Lures that are most common on these fish are silver wobblers, bib lures, plastics. Bait fisherman use pilchards, squid and berley washing off the shore is most rewarding. Good catches of flathead, couta, pike and tailor are also caught every year, generally by the unsuspecting bait and spinner fishermen. Big sea-run trout are also frequent visitors to this area.
The fishing either side is terrific and off the end the water drops off significantly. This is mostly a boat fishing area and boats can be launched at the Wynyard Yacht Club or in the Inglis River. Athletic and rock climbing skills are an advantage if you want to fish the cape from the shore, but the rewards may be worth it..
Surf fishing off the beach is fantastic - natural bait is best. Yabbies, mussels and sandworms can be found in the area and these outfish anything else by a country mile. There is a good ramp for boat access and the boating angler will find this is one of the most productive areas on the north west coast.
Rocky Cape is situated in a National Park, with many well defined bush walks and excellent views. This is one of the premier locations for the recreational diver on Tasmania's North Coast. Unfortunately for the shore angler the Cape itself offers limited access to safe fishing areas, this is due to the steep drop offs and many spots are inaccessible to the average angler. Successful boat fishing on the other hand is a different story with Rocky Cape offering two boat ramps. Excellent fishing can be found on both sides of the cape, this is due to the large sand bottom that surrounds the point. Over this bottom many fish species can be targeted, drifting over the sand can produce good catches of flathead. Most effective in hooking these big flathead is to use either soft plastic baits or try squid or octopus bait. Australian Salmon, couta and pike are readily caught by all means of fishing. Trolling for these fish using silver wobblers, brighter coloured bib lures (reasonable size), Tassie Devil or a clear piece of plastic tube. In late Summer, large schools of blue warehou (snotties) pass by the Cape. Many of these large sport fish are caught by waiting anglers using running sinker setup with a small piece of skinless chicken.
Best shore based areas are Black and Red Rocks at Cooee Point west of Burnie. The Penguin boat ramp is a great location as is Penguin Point just to the west of the ramp. Boat Harbour is good from the beach and the point is also good from the rocks. The Bund Breakwall in front of the Burnie Yacht Club is fast becoming one of the hot spots around Burnie. A lot of salmon are taken during the day and good catches of squid are also caught. Small snapper are also taken here occasionally.
Blackmans Reef off the main Burnie wharf is a terrific hot spot when the salmon are running and if it is too rough here the water on the inside of the main breakwall will give good fishing and protected waters.
Also near Burnie, to the west, is the Cam River at Somerset. This a great place to take the family with grassy banks adjoining the river and a playground to keep them occupied. Mullet are plentiful and there is always a bream or two to be caught.
Wynyard has some fantastic fishing - from Table Cape just west of the town to the Inglis River on which it is situated. Table Cape and Fossil Bluff are especially productive. The Inglis River adjoins Wynyard and fish are caught virtually in the main street. Fishing off the wharf is always productive. At night, salmon are almost guaranteed and it's a lot of fun. Off the mouth, trolling for salmon is virtually a local custom with a sliced piece of plastic tube as the lure. There is some great bream fishing in the Inglis River.
Moving west from Port Sorell you'll find Morelands Beach, which stretches from Port Sorell to Wrights Island - around five kilometres east of the Mersey River at Devonport. Access is from opposite the mill at Wesley Vale and surf fishers often drive along the beach. This is one of the most popular beaches in the area with good gutters. Best fishing for large flathead is October/November. Salmon are caught all year.
Wrights Island is directly off the airport. A boat is needed and good pike and calamari squid are found inside the island, while outside wrasse, leatherjacket and flathead. Good pike are trolled up off the eastern side of the heads, but these are also caught off the shore.
The breakwater on the eastern shore is popular for cocky salmon, snotty trevally, flathead, mullet and couta. Half to three quarter incoming tide is the most productive.
The western breakwater is blocked off to fishing and the next popular area is the Mersey Bluff. Access is good either from the beach or the car park at the top. The best fishing is on the eastern side where salmon, shark, couta, flathead, and pike are taken over sandy broken bottom. On the western side there is reefy bottom and wrasse, leatherjacket and other reef species are found here. Luderick are also found off the bluff, although only a few Tasmanians target these.
Back Beach and Coles Beach are easily accessed between the Bluff and Don heads. A lot of fishing is done from boats around the Don heads for pike, couta and salmon. The heads are also easily accessed from both sides.
Further along is the Forth River. This is a popular areas for large Australian salmon. Local boat fishers claim trolling is only successful when undertaken in an east - west direction. No one seems to know why. Skipping plastic lures or squid imitations across the surface is most successful and trolling fast is essential. Occasionally shore fishers can reach these fish, but the size is usually smaller.
Ulverstone is a lovely town with friendly people and a small estuary that gives easy access to the sea. The area is not as productive as one would think though. The Leven River estuary contains mullet, Australian Salmon and a few trevally, and apart from some good sea-run trout in spring little else. A few couta are also caught around the mouth.
The breakwall on the eastern shore is one of the most popular fishing spots. Fish this on an incoming tide for wrasse, cod, couta and salmon. The western side is not as popular, but a silver wobbler cast into eddying water will often be worth the effort.
There is a good boat ramp and pontoon on the western shore of the Leven River. Beach fishing around Ulverstone is generally not as good as further east around Turners Beach.
All the coastal area from Ulverstone to Rocky Cape is similar in structure, accessibility and species. Most rivers are navigable only at high tide, which is often the best fishing time anyway.
Flathead are readily caught all through this area, gurnard perch are another good catch which are ugly, have poisonous spines, and some claim good eating. Couta are somewhat seasonal, while Australian salmon are caught all year round. Much of this area was, in the past, subject to some unsavoury and dirty industry, but this has all changed. Pollution is now virtually non-existent and the fishing has improved enormously. Regularly sighted off the coast are dolphins, whales, and seals.
If you have access to a boat, occasional snapper and school shark are available off shore. Inshore rock cod, leatherjacket, couta, yellowtail kingfish, squid and salmon are the reward. It is an abundant area that deserves some closer attention as the water quality improves.
West of the Tamar River is Badgers Head and Badgers beach. This area is accessed from the West Tamar Highway, about 5 kilometres before reaching Kelso. The beach has a shallow gradient and gutters are not too common. Beach catches are usually restricted to flathead, Australian salmon, or a few sharks at night. Badgers Head on the other hand has some deeper water and catches can be made up of many species, including Australian salmon, pike, couta, sweep, wrasse and flathead.
Port Sorell is one of those rare gems of waters. Situated half way between the Tamar River and Devonport it offers a protected estuary with a great variety of fish. Small flathead are common, while larger specimens to 3.5 kg are also taken within the estuary.
A north west wind will give boat fishers a good drift for whiting from The Carbuncle Island off the mouth back into the estuary.
From around November each year The Rubicon River arm on the western side is renowned for large bream to 3 kg. Prawns are usually most effective and good bream fishing can extend up river past the main road bridge on the Frankford Highway. This area can be fished from the bank as can the area around Port Sorell to Hawley Beach. The eastern side of the estuary has good access through the National Park. The best fishing is from November to March.
Bakers Beach, outside Port Sorell, is also accessed through the National Park. This beach is renowned as a large flathead haunt. Every year flathead to 5 kgs are reported. It is worth noting large flathead are territorial and catches can be few and far between.
There are good boat ramps at North East Arm (eastern shore) and Squeaking Point (western shore) The ramp at Port Sorell has been upgraded. Further information can be found here.
Best time to fish; All year
Getting there; 2 1/2 hours from Hobart, On the doorstep of Launceston.
Major angling species; Flathead, couta, silver trevally, whiting, mullet, Australian salmon, bream, kingfish and snapper.
Other attractions; Swimming, surfing, sight seeing, excellent wineries and tourist attractions.
The river from a boat
The best fishing is below Windermere and Rosevears where the river deepens somewhat. Once you get to the Batman Bridge, the fishing changes remarkably. This section of the river is narrow, deep and features very strong currents and tidal flow.
A common belief is that the deep holes in the river are where all the fish are, however, the secret to the Tamar is in the shallows.
Water less then 10 metres deep gives up the most fish. Use some berley and then drop down some baits, and you never know what you will pull up.
The most prized fish is snapper, and perhaps the least loved is the rock cod. In between these, it is possible to catch a myriad of fish species.
As you move down towards the heads, the river opens up and has some shallower flats - in some places sand bars pop their heads out of the water at low tide. Flathead fishing is almost too easy in these sandy parts of the river, but they are mostly small.
Lures are worth a try in shallow water for flathead, and they often turn up better specimens, while those willing to cast a fly will have a great time.
Yellowtail kingfish inhabit the lower parts of the river during summer and autumn months. Best method is to troll baits such as small garfish or salmon, livebait or lures.
From the shore
Fishing from the shore of the Tamar can be just as good as out of a boat - especially on the pontoons situated along the banks of the river. Fishing from these can be very good. Mullet, salmon, trevally, couta, cod and many other species can turn up - with the flathead as present as ever.
The best spots to fish from the shore are all the pontoons, particularly those below Rosevears and areas such as Deviot, Bonney Beach, Inspection Head wharf, Redbill Point Caravan park (only at low tide), Low Head and West Head.
The Inspection Head wharf is at Beauty Point - about thirty five minutes to the north of Launceston. The species you may encounter include the big four; flathead, mullet, salmon and barracouta. It is also home to Seahorse World - a seahorse aquaculture and interpretation center.
Flathead are probably the most common catch from the wharf. Mullet are also caught hard up against the pylons. Australian salmon are a common predatory fish that take advantage of the bait that lives around the wharf.
Kelso jetty is a top spot for squid, and tide turns are best if squid are the target - dawn and dusk are best. Many other species can also be caught here.
The flats around Kelso have become a popular area for saltwater fly fishers chasing salmon and flathead. Wading waist deep exploring with a Clouser Minnow or Lefty Deceiver does the job - especially at low tide when the dropoff can be reached.
Further down the river, West Head offers a great rock fishing ledge, and if variety is what you want this is the place to fish. Species include Australian salmon, flathead, jack mackerel, slimy mackerel, kingfish, sweep, luderick, wrasse, squid, cuttlefish, pike, rosy perch, gurnard, couta, leatherjacket, sharks, garfish, mullet and more. Tide turns are the best times. Southerly weather is best as there is less swell to cope with. West Head is in a National Park, therefore a National Park fee will need to be paid.
Best time to fish; All year
Getting there; 3 1/2 hours from Hobart, 1 1/2 hours from Launceston.
Major species; Rock lobster, flathead, couta, striped trumpeter, bream, Australian salmon, kingfish and snapper.
Other attractions; Swimming, surfing, sight seeing, National Parks, wineries.
Salmon, flathead and sharks are the most popular species here, however, there is a great potential for a kingfish and snapper fishery with these prized fish often caught over spring and summer.
From the shore, areas such as Cape Portland, Waterhouse Point, Tomahawk and Croppies and South Croppies Point provide some terrific fishing for salmon, couta, pike and snook. Spinning off the rocks is a popular method. Sliced lures are the most effective using a fast retrieve. Schools often travel through in tight groups and often an hour or two with no fish can turn into a fish with every cast for the next half hour.
The beaches are most productive for big flathead which can be taken all year round with bait, lures and even fly. Fishing around the turn of the tide is best. By-catches from the sand include sharks and rays, whiting, mullet and salmon. Most sharks are taken at night.
There are boat ramps at Tomahawk and Bridport which are both marginal from half tide. Waterhouse Island is the most popular spot for boaties. Trolling for big salmon, couta and snook is popular. Yellowtail kingfish and snapper are also caught.
The fishing potential is largely untapped for this area and it is waiting to be explored.
Best time to fish; All year
Getting there; 3 1/2 hours from Hobart, 1 hour from Launceston.
Major species; Rock lobster, flathead, couta and Australian Salmon, bream, snapper.
Other attractions; Shops, Swimming, surfing, sight seeing, National Parks, wineries.
Bridport is a largely undeveloped snapper fishing location. In recent years catches of snapper up to 15 kg have made the locals excited. When the reds are about, one boat can land four or five in a session - all over 7 kg. They can be taken from the land as well. The rocks and beaches around Croquet Lawn and the Caravan Park don't look very snapperish, but each November a good number of reds are caught in the ultra shallow water by fisherman.
Also from the shore, good catches of snook, pike, couta, salmon, flathead and whiting can be made, as well as some nice gummy and school sharks. The Brid River offers limited fishing, however, trout are available through out the season and the tidal estuary also holds some big flathead.
Southern Cross Reef is just over two miles off the township. At times during summer, anything can turn up in these bait rich waters - with sharks like makos and blues, kingfish and snapper a common catch.
Anderson Bay offers fairly flat and featureless bottom. Drifting for flathead is very popular as is trolling for couta and salmon.
Best time to fish; All year
Getting there; Flights from Launceston, or by ferry from Bridport.
Major species; Rock lobster, flathead, couta, striped trumpeter, snapper, Australian salmon, kingfish, striped marlin, yellowfin, albacore and more.
Other attractions; Swimming, surfing, sight seeing.
Flinders Island is an awesome fishery. Home to just a few hundred permanent residents the fishing is some of the best to be found in Tasmania. Very big flathead can be caught from almost any shore, whilst large Australian salmon are commonplace. Kingfish are often found chasing baitfish under the jetty in Whitemark. North East River and Holloway Point are renowned salmon hot spots. Only one or two charter boats operate from Flinders, but these are kept very busy. In March of 2001 several gamefishing boats ventured to Flinders in search of striped marlin. Imagine their surprise when at one stage most of the boats had multiple hookups at the same time. Flinders Island is a largely untapped fishery, and gamefishery that offers some of Tasmania's best fishing.
Best time to fish; All year
Getting there; 3 1/2 hours from Hobart, 2 hours from Launceston.
Major species; Rock lobster, flathead, couta and striped trumpeter, albacore, southern bluefin tuna, Australian salmon, bream, mako sharks and striped marlin.
Other attractions; Swimming, surfing, sight seeing, National Parks.
North of St Helens boasts Tasmania's mildest weather. It has long, white beaches and deep water next to the shore. It is quiet, uninhabited, providing some of the best camping in Tasmania.
The Bay of Fires area provides great beach fishing, like most of the East Coast. Camping around The Gardens is first class, with camping grounds scattered all up the coast.
Ansons and Great Musselroe Bays provide some top fishing. All species mentioned in the St Helens section can be taken. What makes these two bays attractive are big bream. Fish to four kilos have been taken, while two kilogram bream are regulars.
Off shore gamefishing is fantastic, however, it is Eddystone Point that can, in the summer months, provide gamefishing off the shore. The deep water runs up to the rocks and tuna often come close enough to be taken.
Land based game fishing is under-developed in Tasmania, so if you think you can do it, you will be pioneering the fishery. Yellowtail kingfish are also known in this area throughout summer.
Best time to fish; All year.
Getting there; Around two hours from Launceston, three hours+ from Hobart
Major angling species; Australian salmon, flathead, garfish, albacore, yellowfin tuna, striped marlin and mako shark.
Other attractions; The town has many craft shops, secluded beaches, a nearby National Park, swimming and surfing.
The township of St Helens is nestled on Georges Bay, a sheltered area of water situated a quarter of the way down Tasmania's East Coast. St Helens is recognised as the saltwater sportfishing capital of Tasmania and provides a large range of estuarine and offshore species all year round. Relatively mild weather is experienced even over winter due to protection from the prevailing westerly winds. Five boat ramps service the area, three in Georges Bay, the other two giving direct ocean access via Binalong Bay and Burns Bay, eliminating the need to cross the St Helens barway.
Best time: December-June.
Species available: Albacore tuna, yellowfin tuna, southern bluefin tuna, striped marlin, striped tuna, mako and blue shark.
Several factors combine to make St Helens a world-class game fishing area. These include; Good water depth (100 metres) only three miles from shore. Oxygen rich warm water from the north (eastern Auastralian current) combining with nutrient-rich cold water from the south creating upwellings and current lines. Inshore reef systems such as Merricks, Pulfers and Eddystone rise from 60 metres to within 6 metres of the surface and provide huge baitfish holding areas. Low fishing pressure and close proximity (only 13 miles) from St Helens Point to the Continental Shelf make St Helens a great gamefishing base.
From December gamefishing takes over from reef and bottom fishing. As the temperature starts to rise above 16 degrees Celsius the gamefishing action really begins. If it is mako sharks you want to chase though these are available all year.
Albacore are the first of the tunas to arrive around the end of December, but this really depends on the water temperature, which starts to rise around October from 14 degrees and peaks around 22 degrees usually in February - March. The 22 degree water can be running in a current line right next to cooler nutrient rich water and it is often here that the action excels.
School size southern bluefin tuna often feature in catches around December - January, whilst bigger bluefin and yellowfin peak in size from March until the end of April.
Yellowfin appear when temperatures rise above 17 degrees and striped marlin activity peaks when temperatures hit 19 degrees, which is often in February - March.
The importance of finding current lines, the best water temperatures, baitfish and consequently gamefish can not be overstated. Without doubt the best way to do this is with one of the several charter operators that are based in St Helens.
Estuary and bay fishing
Best time: Large sea garfish; March-July. Small garfish; all year round. Salmon; January-June. Most other species are resident all year.
Rivers and lagoons to the north and south of St Helens provide good bream fishing, however Georges Bay at the heart of St Helens is large and offers a diverse range of species. A combination of the deep channel water running quickly at half tide, exposed sand flats at low tide split by deep gutters and extensive sea-grass beds make it an ideal area for fish such as garfish, bream and flathead.
Schools of small salmon are probably the most common species targeted and fish such as silver trevally are often caught off any jetty around the bay. Other fish not often targeted, probably due to the greater difficulty in catching them are, small snapper, luderick and bastard trumpeter. The main wharf in the middle of town is one of the best places to catch a fish and it is rare to find it void of anglers.
Georges Bay lends itself ideally to those wishing to use a fly-rod on salmon, garfish and bream. A boat is needed though and berley is the best way to attract these fish and keep them in range.
There are also a few elephant fish that can be caught over the summer months. One of the best spots to try for these is around Akaroa.
Offshore reef fishing
Best time: All year round. Striped trumpeter and silver morwong are present in greater size and number from May-December.
Species available: Striped trumpeter, silver morwong, tiger flathead, cod, perch, pike, squid and latchet
The many scattered reef systems within close proximity of St Helens Point provide good quality, quantity and variety of fish. Georges Bay and its associated nutrients and baitfish enhances the quality of the fishing. The large flathead at St Helens are offshore in 30-90 metres of water, often accompanied by large arrow squid, latchet, gurnard and occasional gummy sharks.
For bottom fishing, the main advantage St Helens has is the large amount of broken reef within a five miles of Burns Bay ramp. These reefs are home to most of the species targeted.
Deep sea fishing
Best time: All year, but best November-June.
Species available: Trevalla, rays bream, hapuku, gemfish, blue grenadier, pink ling.
Deep sea fishing takes place over the edge of the Continental Shelf only when conditions are favourable and in craft that are suitably equipped to travel well offshore - such as large trailer boats and charter vessels. This is quite a different style of fishing - the calibre of which can be quite sensational. Many of the best eating fish in the sea come from these great depths. Trevalla and hapuku up to 20 kg come from these depths.
Rock and beach fishing
Best time: September-May.
Species available: Salmon, mullet, bream, flathead, gummy shark, skate and rock species.
Beaches and rocks from St Helens Point and up to 15 kilometres north are popular for this type of fishing. Australian salmon to 3 kg are the most common species. Areas such as Taylors and Swimcart Beach drop away steeply into deep water and often form sand banks 20 metres or so from the beach.
The gutters formed either side provide good hunting grounds for mullet, salmon and flathead. Rock fishing these shorelines will uncover a variety of fish including: leatherjacket, jack mackerel, pike, wrasse, luderick and bastard trumpeter. Swimcart Beach is considered as one of Tasmania's best surf fishing beaches and hosts the annual Surf Fishing Championships around April every year.
Land-based game fishing has been tried by a few keen anglers, with Grants Point and St Helens Point being two areas worth considering.
Bicheno is home to many commercial rock lobster fishers and quite a few recreational fishers also try their hand as well. Rock lobster can be taken in pots, rings or by gloved hand by divers. All methods must be licensed. Another expensive shellfish, abalone are also eagerly sought. It is a delicacy that can be taken by divers. A licence is required.
Due to Bicheno's open exposure to the Tasman Sea many recreational anglers are either rock or beach fishers. A vessel capable of coping with large, unpredictable seas is needed here. Some beach fishing occurs north of Bicheno and also south towards Coles Bay at Friendly Beaches. Australian salmon, flathead and shark are targeted in the surf, while striped trumpeter, barracouta, morwong, leatherjacket and cod are taken offshore.
Rocky shores abound around Bicheno and many areas are suitable as fishing platforms. A silver sliced lure is the most common hardware and bait fishing techniques here are less common.
There is a marine reserve around Governors Island, opposite The Gulch, which provides an excellent opportunity for diving.
The wharf at the Gulch is a popular place to visit in the evenings for salmon, mackerel and trevally to name just a few. It is also a great spot for kids.
North of Bicheno are a few accessible beaches that are worth a try if you can find some gutters. In particular the beach from the turn-off at Four Mile Beach all the way around to the bluff at the southern end of the beach can be good, but look for gutters for the best results.Scamander
Getting there; 3 hours from Hobart, 2 hours + from Launceston.
Major angling species; Rock lobster, flathead, couta and striped trumpeter, albacore, southern bluefin tuna, marlin, Australian Salmon, bream.
Other attractions; Swimming, surfing, sight seeing, diving.
Scamander River is one of Tasmania's great bream locations. Fish are not as big as in some of the other estuaries, but they are plentiful. It fishes well all year, but the best time is from November to March. Usual methods such as bait fishing and lure fishing are the way to go. Pretty fish and shrimps are some of the best baits, but it pays to have a variety. Locals comment that the fishing now is as good or better than fifty years ago. Bait is available from the shops in Scamander.
You can also expect to catch a few nice salmon, silver trevally and mullet. There are also luderick around the bridge pylons at the mouth of the river. Very few people fish for these, but they are there in good numbers for the angler with the skill and perserverance.
You can drive for quite a way up the river by heading to Upper Scamander. The meandering upper reaches are home to bream as well as trout.
Fishing is quite easy along the easily accessed banks, but a boat can open up a few more opportunities. There is also a Professional guide operating bream and inshore tours from St Helens.
The beaches around Scamander provide some first class fishing. Big Australian salmon, large flathead and sharks are the main targets. Possibly the best beach around this area is Beaumaris Beach. The northern end is the most productive, and often only a short cast is needed to put your bait into the deep water where salmon up to three kilos are caught.
Pulfers reef, directly off Scamander is highly renowned as a good striped trumpeter location as well as big flathead and morwong. In the summer months, yellowfin tuna, albacore and striped marlin come close to shore. There is no good quality, sea access, boat ramp around Scamander so it is best to drive up to St Helens and launch from there.
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.
Best Time; All year
Getting there; One hour from Hobart on the Tasman Highway.
Major Species; Flathead, Australian salmon, bream, flounder, jack mackerel, tuna, morwong, striped trumpeter, whiting, couta and squid.
Other attractions; Swimming, golf, diving, bushwalking, ferry to the National Park and Marine reserve on Maria Island.
Orford is a holiday area close to Hobart, providing access to a wide range of fishing.
The Prosser River, which runs through the town, has sea-run trout and some resident trout up stream. Flathead, mullet, Australian salmon and mackerel can be caught from the banks of the river and there are a few jetties that are great for kids. Spinners and lures give good results, or if you prefer bait, fish, pilchards, prawns, sand worms or even red meat or chicken will do the trick.
Fishing from the sheltered beach on either side of Orford will produce salmon, flathead and whiting. From the boat, drifting will nearly always produce flathead (some big "kings"at certain times) and morwong are quite common.
Both Orford and Triabunna provide access to Maria Island. Tasmania's largest marine reserve is located on the western side of the Island and extends one kilometre off shore from Cape Boullanger to Return point. No fishing is allowed in the reserve.
The eastern side of Maria (accessible by boat) is well known for the full range of game fishing particularly tuna (southern bluefin, yellowfin and albacore). Reef fish including striped trumpeter are taken in selected areas. Charter boats are available which will increase your fishing results. Take care if boating in Mercury Passage and particularly the off shore waters of Maria Island as conditions change quickly.
Best time to fish; All year.
Major angling species; Flathead, whiting, flounder, Australian Salmon, barracouta, bream, trumpeter, trout, squid, leatherjacket, mullet, pike, garfish, silver trevally, shark.
Other attractions; Swimming, yachting, boating, lots of long, deserted beaches.
Perhaps the most productive fishing along this area is the beach fishing. Species that you can expect to encounter are big Australian salmon, flathead, mullet, sharks and skate.
Australian salmon are common to around one kilo, but two and three kilo fish are not rare. Salmon provide wonderful sport and are for best eating results they should be bled as soon as they are caught. Pilchards or squid on a paternoster rig works well. Some use flies and popping bugs instead of bait. These bounce around in the surf and can be very effective.
The best areas to fish are in the deep gutters that form along the many beaches. Simply watch the waves for a few minutes before fishing to determine where this deep water is.
Best time to fish is around the turn of the tides, dusk and dawn and into the night for sharks and rays.
Some of the most popular beaches are Marion Bay, any area of sand around Triabunna, Boltons Beach, Mayfield Bay and Nine Mile Beach.
Fishing from the rocks is also productive and can turn up a huge variety of fish.
Spinning results in salmon, couta, and jack mackerel. Just find a rock ledge, throw a out a slice lure and then wind it in fast. Experiment with depth for the best results.
Bait fishing is also exceptional. The most common fish are wrasse, or "kelpies"as they are called by locals. Wrasse provide good sport but few people keep them for the table, despite them being highly regarded by the Asian restaurant market. Catches also include morwong, trumpeter, cod and flathead.
Estuaries and Creeks
The estuaries and creeks between Tasman Peninsula and Swansea hold some very big bream. Light lines and natural baits are best. Spinning with small bibbed lures is not as productive but more exciting when a three kilo bream smashes the lure.
Triabunna and Swansea are the best places to launch from with a few other ramps scattered up the coast. Fishing can be excellent for all species including salmon, flathead, couta and if it is calm and you can get out further tuna and marlin can be caught offshore.
Mayfield Beach and the Little Swanport area are good places to try with Little Swanport especially good for very large bream.
Best time to fish; All year.
Getting there; 1 hour from Hobart.
Major species; Flathead, striped trumpeter, southern bluefin tuna, morwong, albacore and striped tuna.
Other attractions; Sight seeing; Port Arthur and many other attractions.
Best known as the site of Australia's most famous convict settlement, Port Arthur, or Tasman Peninsula as it is commonly known is really two peninsulas joined together - the Forestier and Tasman Peninsulas.
The continental shelf is quite close to shore here, and with a vast topographic underwater terrain the game fishing can be nothing short of sensational. Very deep water is common close to shore and a lot of game fishers troll virtually along the bottom of the many spectacular cliffs in search of game fish. Water depths of over 100 metres are common close inshore.
Southern Bluefin Tuna
For gamefishers, southern bluefin tuna are the most prized species, and it is no surprise when you consider there are around 8 world records from this area. Southern bluefin are usually caught between the months of April to late June.
You will need a decent sized boat to tackle southern bluefin tuna. Big seas with short swells and sharp chop can pound this area. When a calm day does come along, it might be pleasant, but it is not always productive as the rougher it is, the more the tuna seem to bite. The two most fished, and productive areas are the Hippolyte Rocks to the east of Fortescue Bay and Tasman Island to the south.
Bottle fish (over 100 lb) although not common are still taken, while fish to 25 kg are more common. A world record southern bluefin of 108 kg was taken on 15 kg line. The best way to target these fish is with one of the professional charter boat operators. They operate larger safe vessels and if the fish are around they offer the best chance of stretching your arms.
There is a good launching ramp at Pirates Bay, which gives access to the ocean side of the peninsula. It is the northern most ramp and is around 15 kilometres by sea from Hippolyte Rocks and 30 kilometres to Tasman Island. Closer to Hippolyte Rocks via an 11 kilometre gravel road is the Fortescue Bay ramp and although more difficult to access by bigger trailer boats it allows a shorter run of around 5 kilometres to Hippolyte Rocks which suits smaller boats.
For those that only want to fish the Tasman Island area a boat ramp south of Port Arthur at Garden Point is the best option with a run of 14 kilometres to the island. In these deeper waters to the east and south of the peninsula striped trumpeter are also targeted. Many people describe Tasmanian striped trumpeter as the finest table fish available. Good fish weigh up to 10 kg - often much bigger. Striped trumpeter is highly prized by both commercial and recreational anglers.
In the more sheltered bays and waters, especially Norfolk Bay, flathead are the major target. From the shore there is also great fishing to be had. On the seaward side of the Peninsula, the coast line is very rough, so it is simply a case of get to the water where you can.
Fishing around Fortescue Bay and Pirates Bay is fantastic. Species that can be taken include flathead, salmon, couta, mackerel and even striped trumpeter when they move into shore to breed in the cooler months of the year.
Much of the fishing from the shore around this area is untouched, but waiting to be discovered. Locals are friendly and will offer a lot of advice.
Best time to fish; October to May
Getting there; Thirty to forty five minutes from Hobart
Species available; Sand flathead, king flathead, barracouta, Australian salmon, whiting, pike, cod, flounder, wrasse, squid and leatherjacket.
Boat Ramps; South Arm, Cremorne, Lauderdale, Lewisham, Dodges Ferry, Dunalley.
The waters in and around Frederick Henry Bay offer a wide variety of fish species and fishing opportunities for both the boat and shore based angler. The most commonly targeted species is the sand flathead.
Through summer flathead provide endless hours of fun for anglers and they are highly regarded table fare. Bait fishing (squid, prawns, cut fish flesh, sand worms, etc.), jigging or casting a silver lure all produces good catches. One of the most deadly techniques includes the jigging of plastic baits - such as Mister Twisters, up and down on the bottom.
King flathead congregate mostly in the middle of the bay in the deeper water and can be caught in the same manner as the sand flathead. They are most prevalent between November and February. Also turning up with the warmer water are Australian salmon, whiting, barracouta and squid.
Shore based anglers can try Clifton Beach, which can be quite productive at times with flathead, salmon and mullet. Standing on top of the sand dunes enables you to see the darker patches of water and partially unbroken waves, which indicates the gutters, which should be productive.
The rocky headlands at North Clifton and Goats Bluff also offer good sport with large numbers of salmon, barracouta and pike taken using silver lures, flies and bait. Access to North Clifton and Goats Bluff is via well marked tracks off the South Arm road (B33).
Cremorne is also a good option for shore based anglers, with good numbers of salmon moving in and out of the bay with the tide - as well as flathead, flounder, leatherjacket, whiting and rays. The channel running out of the bay is the most popular spot and fishing an hour either side of a tide turn should bring results.
Other good spots for the shore based angler includes;
Seven Mile Beach: Good beach access for flathead, salmon and whiting.
Midway Point Causeway: Easy access and best fished early morning and evenings for salmon, trevally and the occasional elephant fish.
Lewisham Jetty: Flathead, cod and salmon.
Dodges Ferry: The first point west of the boat ramp is a popular place. There is a rocky drop-off onto a sandy bottom. Flathead, cod, whiting can be expected.
Primrose Point to Connellys Marsh: Rocky drop-offs and weed beds bring squid in close and these are targeted from the shore. Also expect to catch flathead, cod and salmon.
Best time to fish; All year.
Getting there; Right on the doorstep of Hobart.
Major angling species; Flathead, whiting, flounder, Australian salmon, barracouta, bream, bastard trumpeter, trout, squid, leatherjacket, mullet, long-finned pike, garfish, silver trevally, jack mackerel and blue grenadier.
Other attractions; Swimming, yachting, boating, river cruises.
The Derwent is a magnificent fishery that dissects Tasmania's capital city of Hobart. Fishing for saltwater species is the most popular pursuit, but there is a strong core of anglers that pursue sea-run trout over the winter-spring period. Species that can be found include Australian salmon, flathead, cod, garfish, mullet, whiting, bream, morwong and mackerel, while couta (barracouta), gemfish, blue grenadier, trumpeter, warehou and others appear from time to time.
An Inland Fishing Licence is required above a certain point in the estuary.
The estuary is very popular being so close to the city, and the many jetties, enclosed bays and productive reefs are constantly in use. For two to three weeks most years there is a run of good sized trevally that enter the river, but they are unpredictable in their arrival.
Access is good to excellent in most areas and the locals are very helpful. Boating anglers have access to most of the estuary and it is dotted with many quality boat ramps. No matter what the weather conditions there is always a protected bay or corner.
Derwent Hot Spots
Piersons Point - Iron Pot
These points mark the lower limit of the Derwent Estuary and the transition to Storm Bay and the Tasman Sea. A good boat ramp at Tinderbox on South Arm services this area and you should be aware of a Marine Reserve here that runs between Tinderbox and Bruny Island. Outside this there is excellent fishing for sand and tiger flathead, Australian salmon, couta (barracouta), plus longfin pike and occasionally good runs of squid. Warehou usually appear in the summer - autumn period and are known locally as snotties, or snotty trevally. The western shore from Piersons Point back to Taroona is fished from the shore for most of the mentioned species plus whiting and trevally.
Ralphs Bay is a large enclosed bay on the eastern side of the estuary noted for large flathead. Whiting, flounder, mullet and Australian salmon are also caught. Atlantic salmon are sometimes caught near the mouth.
Tranmere - Tasman Bridge
Punchs Reef - just off Tranmere is a popular spot for cod, morwong, trevally, garfish and Australian Salmon. Large trevally are targeted from the shore and boat in this area. Try Kangaroo Bluff at Bellerive and also the Howrah area.
Easily fished from both shore and boat, Sandy Bay can be very productive. The target is generally flathead but catches of garfish, morwong, mullet and Australian salmon are common.
Tasman Bridge - Bowen Bridge
Not a lot of action here although some good bream come from the Lindisfarne Bay area. Just north of the Tasman Bridge cod, flathead, Australian salmon and trevally are also caught as are sea run trout from August through to October. Barracouta are often targeted beneath both sides of the bridge - as are Australian salmon and sea trout.
Bowen Bridge - Bridgewater
Otago Bay is upstream of the Bowen Bridge on the eastern shore. Many species are caught in this vicinity including a few 'stud"bream every year to 3 kg. Smaller specimens are quite common. Small bib lures are popular as is bait and fly. Anglers chase both sea-run and resident trout in this area all year round - often with great results and trout to 5 kg are sometimes caught. All methods can be used to take these trout from trolling to bait, lure or fly fishing - both from boat or shore. Many other species are also taken in this area including flathead, pike, cod, mackerel, Australian salmon and the occasional escaped Atlantic salmon.
Mostly a trout fishery. After Christmas the bream fishing heats up in this section. Anywhere that there is access to the water, bream can be caught. The shore based angler enjoys the best fishing and there are plenty of access points. Prawns, pretty fish and sand worms are the best bait.
Bruny Island is around 50 kilometres long and is separated from Tasmania's mainland by D'Entrecasteaux Channel. It is only accessible by boat, with a regular ferry service operating from Kettering - approximately 40 minutes south of Hobart. The ferry crosses 10 times per day to Roberts Point. Departure times can be checked by phoning 03 6273 6725. Pedestrians travel free.
Major angling species; Flathead, leatherjacket, flounder, morwong (perch), gurnard, wrasse, cod, squid, mackerel, pike, Australian salmon, barracouta, silver trevally, striped trumpeter, skate, school and gummy shark.
Other attractions; Bushwalking, boating, diving, surfing, swimming & penguin watching.
Bruny Island is rich in both marine and wildlife. Bruny is separated into a north and south island - joined by a thin neck. There are many beautiful, pristine beaches scattered around the island and each year these produce good numbers of large Australian salmon. There is always a sheltered shore - regardless of weather conditions. Around the island you will find numerous small, often unused jetties, which produce reliable numbers of wrasse and leatherjacket.
Another fishing highlight is the arrival of large schools of calamari and arrow squid from around October each year. These will be found all around the island. The bigger squid usually arrive first and the run lasts well into the new year.
Bruny Island Hot Spots
Adventure Bay and Neck Beach
This area is one of Bruny's highlights. Neck Beach offers some of the state's best surf fishing with reliable catches of good size sand flathead, large rays and strong fighting school and gummy shark. Large Australian salmon appear in schools and the action is fast and furious. The best access to the beach is in front of The Neck camping ground.
Allonah has it all with a hotel, beer garden, shop and wharf. Flathead, squid, wrasse and leatherjacket are all readily taken in this area. The best spots are the wharf or large breakwater in front of the pub.
Cloudy Bay Lagoon
This is well worth the effort to get to. Large leatherjacket and flathead are virtually always available. Spinning around the mouth is a prime spot for Australian salmon. Further up from the mouth is where a large population of bream call home. These are not easy to catch though.
This is where the old ferry used to dock. It is a very protected area that can be a saviour when weather conditions are unkind. Species such as morwong, flathead, mackerel, mullet, cod and an occasional Atlantic salmon are caught in this area. Fishing around the old wharf with mussels and anchovies will often bring good results. This area is rich in oysters and offers a safe mooring.
This is one of Bruny's busiest locations. The jetty is a great place to fish for squid, especially after dark. Flathead and couta are also targeted and it is one of the best places to catch a feed. Dennes Point is serviced by shops and it is a prime place to gather local fishing information.
Getting there; South of Hobart.
Major angling species; Flathead, cod, morwong (perch) Australian salmon, Atlantic salmon, trout, barracouta, bream, mullet, squid, pike.
Special restrictions; Recreational fishing only.
Other attractions; The D'Entrecasteaux Channel is a large area and has many attractions. It is a popular area for boats, yachting, bushwalking, vineyards and historic monuments plus there is the Woodbridge Marine Centre, Hastings Caves, thermal pools and some beautiful picnic areas.
The D'Entrecasteaux Channel consists of an area between Bruny Island and Tasmania's mainland. The main channel itself is a haven for a range of bottom dwelling fish, such as flathead, perch, cod, and the occasional gummy shark. As a "recreational only"fishery it receive little fishing pressure and reliable catches can almost be assured all year round.
A number of pelagics visit the Channel during the year. These include Australian salmon, barracouta, mackerel, warehou and squid.
Atlantic Salmon - Sea cage cultivation of Atlantic salmon occurs along the south-east coast and escapees are often taken by recreational anglers. Break-outs are common, being the result of damage by seals, storms and human error. The fish commonly weigh 3-4 kg. Atlantic Salmon are superb eating and fight well.
The hot spots are in the open water adjacent to the sea pens in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel and in sheltered areas such as Port Esperance (where there is scope for fishing from the bank). The best results come in the first fortnight or so after a major escape. Often the fish can be seen breaking the water and sometimes they can be polaroided.
Some Professional guides run charters in this area chasing Atlantic salmon.
Access to the Channel is good with many areas accessible from the shore. Plenty of small boat ramps are scattered along its length.
D'Entrecasteaux Hot Spots
Port Esperance is probably the best location in the Channel - primarily due to its diversity. The angler can either go out in the bay or fish around the islands for fast action on flathead, salmon and barracouta. The real feature of the area is the Esperance River though which contains Atlantic salmon, sea-run trout and bream.
Atlantic Salmon congregate in schools when they escape from the farms. Further up-river bream and sea-run trout reign supreme. The whitebait run can get the sea-runners quite excited and they can be seen in the shallows charging at schools of whitebait.
The two best places are the Dover jetty and in front of the Esperance Camp on the river.
The large jetty at Southport provides a good structure to catch barracouta, squid, flathead, mackerel and leatherjacket. The surrounding rock platforms contain reliable numbers of food sized wrasse.
A popular area is the Lune River. The Lune is similar in many ways to the Esperance River although the Lune produces many more large trout - sometimes up to 7 kg. The Lune is also home to flathead, small Australian salmon and a good population of very hard to catch bream.
Gordon, Woodbridge and Kettering
All these areas are similar and offer huge scope - especially for the land based angler - due to their good structure. Gordon has good squid runs when they enter the Channel and it also supports a good population of the common species.
Woodbridge jetty is similar again and is worth a visit just to see the Woodbridge Marine Centre. Kettering is the location from where the Bruny Island ferry departs and although it is a busy bay it still fishes well.
Tasmania holds its head high in regard to quite a few saltwater fisheries. For many years Tasmania has had recreational bag limits for all game fish and in 2001 introduced bag limits for all saltwater species. Whilst some recreational netting is still allowed it is banned in almost all bays, rivers and estuaries - as is commercial netting.
Tasmania holds several world records for southern bluefin tuna including a fish of 108 kilograms on 15 kilogram line. Although good numbers of fish had not been caught for several years, 2001 saw the return of some great gamefishing return off Tasman Peninsula. Whilst St Helens is largely regarded as the game fishing capital of Tasmania, Tasman Peninsula rules the roost for bluefin.
Large yellowfin tuna, striped marlin, albacore, striped tuna and mako sharks are also available on the east coast from Flinders Island to Tasman Peninsula. In recent times professional charter operators have developed this fishery with most operating from St Helens. Striped marlin are perhaps the most sought after prize and in recent years the numbers caught every year are increasing.
The best way for visitors to go game fishing is to hire a charter operator. Their knowledge, boats and equipment are all first class. These are professionals who are on the water almost every day and can maximize your chances. Charter operators operate under a strict code of practice which was initiated by the Sea Charter Boat Owners and Operators of Tasmania.
Southern black bream are another fish eagerly sought in Tasmania. These are mostly an east and northern coast fish that grow to well over three kilograms. Nowhere else in Australia is the average size as big and a genuine four pound fish is well within the reach of keen anglers. Little Swanport and Ansons Bay are hot spots for big bream.
Of course there are many other species eagerly sought, these are just two examples of Tasmania's unique saltwater fishery.
Tackle outlets - whether bigger city shops or small general stores are all very helpful. Ask any angler on a beach or wharf and mostly they will be only too helpful.
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