Rocky Carosi gives his tips on catching stripy trumpeter.
Renowned by many as Tasmaniaâ€™s finest eating fish, Tasmanian trumpeter is a fish eagerly sought by anglers all around Tasmania. In the main these are mainly fished for off the east coast and with a little knowledge and perseverance it is possible to target these and end the day with some superb table fish. Whilst they can be caught occasionally, from the shore around the Tasman Peninsula a boat in generally required. They are also available on the west coast, but most know the fishing is very weather dependant here.
Tasmanian or stripy trumpeter are caught commercially in Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria. In general they are caught on droplines. Stripeys are distributed from Sydney to Kangeroo Island in South Australia. They are also found in New Zealand and South America. Stripeys spawn during late winter to early spring and grow to at least 1.2 meters in length and 25 kilograms. A fish of 12 kilograms is considered a very good recreational catch.
When to fish
Calm winter and spring days are perfect with prime fishing lasting from June till October. This is when bigger fish are found on inshore reefs.
Where to fish Inshore reefs are premium locations at this time of year. Off St Helens you only have to look at Merricks Reef, further south Pulfers Reef off Scamander is a great location, whilst north there are some excellent reefy spots in deeper water between 90-130 meters off Eddystone Point. These are prima and relatively easy spots to find. Pulfers and Merricks are both around 35-50 meters deep, but other hard bottom reefÂ from anywhere between 20-200 meters are also worthy of your effort. Deep water is some what more difficult to fish though and good preparation is the key here.
Tides and moon
Iâ€™ve not really come to any ground breaking conclusions here, however around the tide changes have proved to be when the chances of success are greater. It seems to be more opportunistic fishing rather than fish the tides and the moon. We tend to get out when we can and fish when we can. Often logistics means you can only fish during certain times of the day - the fish may say itâ€™s not the best time, but perseverance will often reward you with success.
Drift or anchor
As mentioned above we donâ€™t tend to work the tides or moon. These certainly have a great influence on current and fishing in strong current is one of the more testing ways to spend the day. Of course the speed of current has a great influence. Anchoring on a reef is often an effective way to fish, however when conditions are good we drift. In deeper water over hard bottom with a current running drifting may be the only way to go. If you get the breeze pushing you in one direction and the current the other it can be very difficult. Effective interpretation of the GPS and fish finder can not be understated. It is very important to choose the right sinker weights under varying conditions to ensure you bait gets to the bottom.
Rigs and bait
A Paternoster rig is ideal. I like mine tied with 50lb mono and I tie up a new rig for every trip. A 50lb provides us with a balance between being strong enough to handle a solid stripey without being too thick to scare the fish off. I do this for several reasons. Firstly, if big fish are encountered I donâ€™t want the line to be bitten through. They have quite an abrasive mouth and old rigs are often quite weak after catching a few fish. Secondly, the rough reefy areas we fish can also weaken the rig and any little nick in the line will reduce the strength considerably. Thirdly, rigs are the cheapest part about fishing, and the peace of mind I get by tying up a new rig, or rigs, for every trip is worth the effort. Have a look at the attached diagram for details on rigs.
Hook size can be from 4/0 to 7/0. A rig I particularly like is the Black Magic Sabiki, or Flasher rigs. The Tarakihi Terror and Snapper Snatcher are very effective. These are tied on KL style recurve hooks with a lumo bead above the hook. Add a small piece of bait to these and youâ€™ll have the most effective rig ever for catching stripey trumpeter. For sinkers medium snapper leads are required. Deeper water, or areas with a lot of current need more weight to get to the bottom. I use anything from four ounces and upwards. I also like to use braided line, but Iâ€™ll mention that later on. For bait there is nothing better than stripped tuna. Pilchards, squid and mackerel strips are all ok, but not as good as stripped tuna.
I use two different outfits. The first is a Shimano TSS4 threadline reel on a Steve Starling SFS Thunnus rod. This is loaded with 50 pound braided line. I love the braided line because it is very thin for the breaking strain, very strong and low stretch. This means the current has less influence due to the thin diameter, low stretch means fast hook-ups and instant response. The low stretch is also great as you can feel every nibble as well as being instantly aware as soon as your rig hits the bottom. Another outfit I love is a Shimano Calcutta 700 overhead reel on a Steve Starling SFS Trindad rod. This reel is also loaded with braid. This is a premium outfit that is great in deeper water. Being an overhead reel means free spooling your baits to the bottom is fast and of course there is no chance of line twist.