Tasmanian Family Fishing Festival

After a very successful first year the annual Tasmanian Family Fishing Festival will be on again on Saturday the 8th of June. The waters of Georges Bay, St Helens will be host to this great family event and what follows is a quick overview of the fish species to target this year as well as a few tips and hints on where and how to catch them.
The flyer for the Festival is available here and more information is available in the Tasmanian Fishing and Boating News April/May edition.

Tips on catching the target species

Shore based species

Leatherjacket, yellow eyed mullet and silver trevally.

These species can be caught all throughout Georges Bay from both the jetties and sections of shoreline.

Georges Bay has a good variety of shore fishing options from sandy flats to rocky shores as well as the many small jetties around the bay and these offer a great place to start. To ensure a successful outing on a wharf or jetty the use of berley is paramount, this will attract fish from a wide area to your fishing position and keep them there for your session.

Boat based species

For the boat based anglers this year the species being targeted are black bream, Australian Salmon, flathead and garfish.

One of the most important factors to successful garfishing is the use of berley to attract the fish and keep them in the immediate vicinity of your boat.

By far the most effective and lethal berley I have come across is a premixed berley that is in a fine particle form that resembles breadcrumbs but has some added attractants mixed in for good measure.

I mix about 2 handfuls of the berley mix and half a cupful of tuna oil to a berley pot and lower into the water over the side of the boat; this creates a cloud of fine particles in the water as well as an oil slick on the surface.

As there are no large food items for the garfish to feed on they tend to swim around getting a good whiff of the berley and oil and become quite agitated and enter into a feeding frenzy.

Provided you keep a continuous stream of this berley mixture in the water the fish will stay attracted to the area for long enough to catch your feed. A small size10-12 long shank hook under a small quill or ball float with a small piece of squid.

Australian salmon respond well to a number of different baits such as bluebait, whitebait, squid, pippies and prawns but “matching the hatch” is always your best option and if the fish are chasing bait schools then the smaller fish bait is the best option.

While the salmon are focused on the bait schools it is prime time to target the fish with artificial means such as metal lures and soft plastics.

The salmon tend to roam the bay following the bait but likely spots to start are the main channel leading out to the barway and the Moulting Bay area, all the while keeping a lookout for hovering birds and pelicans on the move.

With the many sand flat and mud flat areas around Georges Bay it is of no surprise that good numbers of flathead can be caught.

As the tide rises the fish will move up onto the flats feeding on all manner of items such as small crabs and crustaceans, prawns, shrimps, sandworms, nippers and small baitfish all being dispersed as the water floods the new ground.

As the tide recedes the flathead will sit on the drop offs and gutters on the outer edges of the flats waiting in ambush of any tasty morsel moving past them.

The flathead are also a prime species for targeting with soft plastics and from my experience this technique results in much larger than average fish most of the time.

Bream move around all over the bay, hanging around wharfs, jetty’s, moored boats, oyster racks feeding and all over the expanses of sand and mudflats exposed at low tide. They feed heavily on the rich barnacles, mussels and small crustaceans that abound in these areas and grow fat and powerful. Once again effective use of berley will attract schools of fish to your area, baits such as peeled prawn flesh and S.A. pippies work well as do freshly pumped nippers and small black crabs.

A standard running ball sinker rig is ideal combined with an octopus style hook in sizes #6 through to #2 to match the bait being used.

Also unweighted baits drifted down the berley trail will not be refused by a hungry little bream.

One of my favourite areas for bream is the extensive sand flats and mudflats throughout the bay, some of the biggest schools and largest bream come from up on the shallow sand and mudflats in less than 1 metre of water.

Hopefully the information above helps you land a few good fish on the day and we hope to see you there with rod in hand ready for a great day’s family fun on the water.

The full article can be seen in April/May edition of Tasmanian Fishing and Boating News.

Jamie Henderson

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