Six Lower Tamar Hotspots

Damon Sherriff

Wow what a winter. So much rain but we really needed it. I have never seen the rivers running like they are now. The Tamar is just starting to clear up now. October and November are my favourite times of the year. Everything starts to move as the water temperature in the Tamar starts to rise. It normally rises about a degree every 2 weeks at this time of the year.
In this article I am going to recommend six hotspots around the Tamar that a worth fishing this time of year.

1. Kelso Pontoon
Kelso is a quiet little town nestled on the West Tamar towards the mouth of the estuary. A wide variety of fish can be caught off this popular pontoon. The main species you might catch this time of year are Australian salmon, flathead, pike, couta and southern calamari. There are other species as well but these are the main ones that are targeted by anglers. Australian salmon are mainly taken on slice lures or soft plastics but frozen bait can also be productive. My favourite frozen bait is Tassie Bait which is a Tasmanian owned company. They only use locally caught bait such as redbait, mini mackerel, fish fillets, fish strips, squid, mussels and a bulk pack. All the bait is cryovaced shortly after capture which ensures freshness is at a premium.
For Australian salmon I prefer the squid or mini macks cut into small pieces. I suggest fishing them under a float or on a double dropper rig on the bottom.
For couta and pike a slice lure normally does the trick, but for bait anglers Tassie Bait - red bait or mini macks rigged on a set of ganged hooks suspended below a float or unweighted would do the trick.
For calamari a squid jig such as a Pioneer power squid in the lumo colour or the Neptune tackle smoothie squid jig in fluro yellow or lime green is always a great tempter. A squid spike baited with a pilchard or mini mack also works well.
Flathead are also a popular catch at Kelso and many other pontoons and piers down the Tamar. A soft plastic lure is a deadly way to catch them. Yep Tassie tackle make a wide range of styles and colours. The plastic they use is a bit tougher than most other soft plastics and are great for not only flatties but many other species. Bait also works well on flathead. Squid would have to be my favourite but flatties will normally have a go at anything that you put in the water. Tide is not really important at Kelso but my favourite tide would be the run-in especially late afternoon.

2. Clarence Point Pontoon
Clarence Point would have to be one of my favourite pontoons on the river. It is in a good spot for many species. It drops off to about 6 metres at high tide. The main species that you would catch would be calamari, couta, silver trevally, Australian salmon, yellow eye mullet but there is always the chance of many different species as well.
Silver trevally is a great sport fish and is ok to eat if fresh. Silvers will take a wide range of lures and baits. They also love soft plastics and small salt water flies. Silvers respond extremely well to berley. A mix of chooks pellets and tuna oil work great. A berley pot is also recommended at Clarence because of the strong tide that runs through the nearby shipping channel. Tie the pot to the bollards and give it a shake every few minutes. The only tip would be don't over fill the pot because chook pellets expand when they are in the water and it will choke up the holes. Bait works really well on the silvers. Tassie Baits mussels or pretty fish would be a prime choice. A double dropper rig with smaller size #4 hooks would work perfectly.
Mullet are prolific at this time of the year and are one of the main species taken at Clarence. Berley is a necessity to attract big schools. A sure catch sabiki rig #12 works really well. Mullet have very small mouths are a quite a bit harder to hook if your hook is too large. Best baits are mussels, pretty fish pieces, whitebait, chicken breast and bread dough. My favourite tide would be on the top or bottom of the tide. Time of day doesn't seem to make a difference.

3. Beauty Point Wharf
This is another fantastic fishing location. Many species are taken from this deep water platform. It has a water depth of around 18 metres right at the end of the wharf. The great thing about the wharf is you can fish out of your car in the rough wet weather. The main species taken at the wharf are Australian salmon, mullet, silver trevally, cod, mackerel, eels, gummy sharks, seven gill sharks and many different types of rays. You must remember that if you do catch a ray or shark of any kind that it is a designated "shark refuge area" and they must be released. gummy sharks are great fun to catch and they fight quite hard. In the Tamar they can grow in excess of 20 kg.
Gummies can be found in the deep water during the day which makes Inspection Head a great spot to find them. Best baits for gummies would be squid. A running sinker rig similar to trout or bream is ideal but the use of a 60 lb mono trace and a 7/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hook is necessary. A heavier rod and reel than a standard bream outfit is also a must. A surf or snapper rod would be a great choice.
When targeting the seven gillers a game outfit is a must as they can grow any where up to 150 kg. A 2 metre, 200 lb stainless steel trace with a 10/0 hook baited with squid or fish fillets does the trick.

4. George Town Pontoon
This is a great land based hotspot! As the weather warms up many species can be targeted off these small pontoons. The only downfall being that it gets a bit congested through the school holidays and weekends.
Garfish, couta, snotty trevally, wrasse, zebra fish and luderick are just a small taste of the many different fish caught here.
Zebra fish are taken off the pontoon all year around. The water temperature doesn't seem to matter that much. They are great little sport fish and not bad eating either as long as they are eaten fresh. A small Gamakatsu long shank hook under a float or free drifting with a small piece of prawn, bread or sea cabbage is very productive. This also works well on the luderick.

5. Low Head Breakwater
This is at the top end of the Tamar. It is a great spot for land based fisherman. The range of fish that caught be caught here includes whiting, mullet, Australian salmon, wrasse, couta, pike, sweep calamari, sharks and rays.
Whiting are one of the surprise catches you may make at the breakwater. They are also great table fare. Whiting are really quite easy to target when you have the right rig. I use a double dropper rig with 2 x Gamakatsu O'shannesy hooks #4. They will succumb to many baits, but my favourite is the Tassie Baits squid. Berley works well for the whiting as a good trail will increase your catch rate. A mix of cat food, chook pellets and tuna oil is a good way too start.
Sweep are another fish you may catch here especially at the of the breakwater water wall in the swifter current. They can also be taken on the same rig and bait as the whiting.


6. Curries River Dam
Curries River Dam, a few kilometres east of Bell Bay along the Bridport Road is also a great spot to wet a line this time of year. Many anglers have a great result through October and November on browns and rainbow trout. Curries was stocked this year by Inland Fisheries with some really nice fish. Curries has many deep shores which are ideal for bait fishing and lure casting. Fly anglers normally fish the southern and south eastern corners for it is shallower and has more weed growth. Curries is quite accessible and in some spots fishing from your car will keep you out of the weather if it is rough.
Some of my favourite lures at Curries would be Tassie Devil #80, #44 and #43. Tillins King Cobra #44 and Kilwell Turbo in the Xmas tree colour. Pegron Minnows in fluro pink and black and Rapala CD5 and 7 in the colour brown trout are great and work really well. Soft plastics that come highly recommended by many anglers are Berkley three inch Gulp Minnow in Emerald shiner, Smelt and Rainbow. YepTassie Tackle in the colour Pumpkinseed and DOA stick baits in the colour gold rush.
For the bait angler worms and wattle grubs are hard to beat. When the weather warms up a little more a mudeye under a bubble is also a deadly method.  
Fly anglers still mainly fish with the wet flies through Oct/ Nov due to the massive amount of galaxia which live in the impoundment. Patterns which resemble galaxia are the most productive.
October and November have plenty to offer for the serious fisherman of for the fishing family. Good luck and let's hope that the rain stops soon so we can really get out there and have a go!

Damon Sherriff

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