Presented from Issue 105, August 2013
Christopher Bassano fishes over 250 days a year. This interview was recorded just before he headed off to fish for Australia in the World Fly Fishing Championships in Norway 14-17 August 2013.
I live on a small stream and at the start of the season I like to go off on a bit of a discovery mission and fish the headwaters of the creeks and rivers I feel an affinity with.
These small rivers include the St Pats, Meander, Forester, Little Forester and others. The further up you go on these rivers the clearer and lower the levels. They are often less affected by the rain and runoff and you get some good opportunities. Get as close to the source as you can and you will find some good dry fly fishing. Don’t limit yourself to those I have mentioned. Most headwaters will hold trout.Read more ...
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.
It's early February, and with the water temperature starting to rise, and the appearance of the small pelagic tuna off the north east coast. Wade Pelham and myself decided it would be a good time to seek out a highly regarded game fish; the Blue Pointer or more commonly known as the Mako.
Fish can often be very frustrating. Many people find themselves going fishing for an afternoon of relaxation, and end up getting all uptight because of some little, annoying thing that could have been avoided.
There are many simple, innovative ideas that can make the wonderful world of fishing a whole lot easier. Some of these ideas are available at your local tackle shop, others can be put into practice around the house.
In this, the first article of a series, listed are some useful tips, techniques and accessories that make a huge difference.
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Hello everyone, I thought it would be a good time to introduce myself.
My name is Stephen Smith and I have been managing the website tasfish.com since May 2009.
It has been an epic journey of learning and discovery and I am indebted to Mike Stevens for his help, support and patience.
I am developing a new venture Rubicon Web and Technology Training ( www.rwtt.com.au ). The focus is two part, to develop websites for individuals and small business and to train people to effectively use technology in their everyday lives.
Please contact me via www.rwtt.com.au/contact-me/ for further information - Stephen Smith.
The first Atlantic salmon eggs used to begin Tasmania's Atlantic salmon aquaculture industry were introduced into Tasmania in 1984. From these humble beginnings a valuable Tasmanian industry has evolved with a worldwide reputation for having a premium disease free product. This industry provides a spin off to all anglers in the form of regular escapes of salmon from the farms.