Holidays at Burnie's Red Rock

Daniel Paull

Hi my name is Daniel, I am 15 and  I love fishing.. From my first fish to my most recent, fishing is a major part of my life.
When I'm not out in the boat with dad hunting shark or tuna, casting for bream or trout, there is only one place I would want to be, Red Rock.
Red Rock is situated on the North West coast of Tasmania in Burnie. Next to the Bass Highway near the suburb of Cooee it is a great spot for all ages to fish. Techniques play an important role in fishing from Red Rock. My dad, Mason, has taught me everything he knows about rock fishing, I have also picked up a few techniques myself from fishing from Red Rock.

The day out
School's out and I want to go fishing, so I call a few buddies and organize a trip to Red Rock.
The night before my friends and I head down to the rock, we get everything ready so when the clock strikes 6:00 am, we are ready to go. We are driven down by my mum, Denise, most of the time because of all the gear we take! We get to the rock and quickly set up a 10 kilo outfit that we will use to catch eagle rays and draughtboard sharks. We will then load the burley bucket up with our home made burley and toss it in. It doesn't take long before the burley trail is loaded with mullet and cocky salmon. We put out another line with a Jig-em rig. Now our two main lines are out, we can focus on the small fish in the burley trail. We catch about 30 mullet throughout the day and keep two or three for fresh bait. Throughout the day we catch mullet, cocky salmon and garfish and when the sun goes down we pull in the light rods and try our luck with a gummy shark. At about 10 or 11:30 p.m. we pack up and head home and share photos and stories about the long day, and then we start to plan another trip.

What to catch
There are many species of fish you can catch from Red Rock, depending on the techniques you are using. Here is a list of fish you can catch.

  • Silver trevally
  • Sweep
  • Wrasse
  • Barracouta
  • Draughtboard shark
  • Gummy shark
  • Eagle ray
  • Southern stingray
  • Mullet
  • Garfish
  • Rough nosed skate
  • Leatherjacket
  • Blackback salmon
  • Cocky salmon
  • Calamari

How to catch
For silver trevally, mullet and sweep I use a tiny long shank hook with a small clip on sinker with a supplement of bread, pealed prawns, dough and small cutlets of squid, two kilo line is recommended.
For wrasse and leatherjacket a strong six kilo monofilament trace with a small bean sinker and small long shank hook will work as long as you keep the fish away from snags, two kilo line is recommended.
Barracouta and blackback salmon are easily captured with a metal jigs or lures and a sturdy 10 kilo outfit or for the thrill seeker a two kilo outfit.
Calamari are easy to catch from Red Rock, simply use a 6 kilo outfit with a pink or red squid jig and cast into the rocky structures to the left of the rock.
Using a small clip on float rig with a small clip on sinker just above the hook and bait of bread or dough garfish can be caught easily, I recommend a tiny long shank hook and a two kilo outfit.
For Skate, Eagle Rays and draughtboard sharks I use a one metre long running sinker rig with 24 kilo line and a 10 kilo outfit using a strip of fresh mullet for bait.
Gummy sharks can be caught on a 10 or 6 kilo outfit with a crystal tip and typical surf fishing rig and a mullet fillet for bait, these fish are best caught at a 9:00 high tide.
There are some fish that cannot be tackled from Red Rock using 2-15 kilo line. The southern stingray will fill in four to five hours on one fish if you are fishing at Red Rock.
Southern stingrays at Red Rock can be as small as 20 kilos or as large as 80 kilos, so if you really want to tackle one, I would use a 24 kilo outfit with a 37 kilo monofilament trace with a large long shank hook and whole mullet for bait. Catching these fish are fun unless the fish buries itself, in which case simply back the drag off and eventually the fish will move off again.
Try having a flick around with some Gulp Sandworms or Lime Tiger in Fry as these can produce some great fish.

Night fishing
Safety comes first when it comes to night fishing on the rocks, especially when there's big fish around. Always take a torch and glow sticks and make sure the area you are fishing is not wet or slippery. Use two 15 kilo outfits when night fishing as you never know what's out there. Attach a glow stick to the tips of your rods to save your torches battery power. Tying knots and rigs in the dark is a pain so use a head light. You may be required to move about the rock whilst angling a large fish at night so always have someone to guide you around with a torch.

Landing your fish
Red Rock has a great range of places your can land your fish. Fish like mullet or garfish can be lifted out of the water with ease. Larger fish like shark and rays can be guided around into a small inlet and can be landed on its smooth rock surface. Be careful whilst doing this as it can get slippery. You can also use a long landing net if the fish is on light line. When you get the occasional "huge" fish it is a good idea to guide it around to a gravel beach on the right hand side of the rock.

My friends and I were at Red Rock one day catching large mullet, my friend decided to get a closer shot and slipped and fell into the drink. He climbed out with ease but remember always to take at least 10 metres of safety rope.
Red Rock is a reasonably safe place to fish, it has a vertical drop off around the left of the rock and quiet steep on the right, never the less an easy spot to fish from. Sturdy shoes with a good grip are most recommended. Before fishing from any rocky structure always search your surroundings before fishing. There is rarely any swell at Red Rock because of its depth but always be aware.

Getting there
Red Rock is easy to locate. Travel west through Burnie past West Park Oval. You will approach a set of traffics lights in Cooee and Red Rock is on your right hand side just before lights. On the left hand side of the road opposite the rock is Bursons Auto Parts, and Coventry fasteners. Easy to find and a good deep water access.

Daniel Paull

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