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devonport fisheries forumAll welcome at North West forum - 16 April

Everyone is invited to our public forum in Devonport to discuss local recreational fishing issues and hear presentations from IMAS researchers and DPIPWE fishery managers.


  • Bluespot and rock flathead, King George whiting, short fin pike, garfish and estuary perch - a snapshot of key recreational fish biology.
  • New fish, new fishing opportunities? A case study of Tasmanian kingfish.
  • Calamari - what's the catch? What we know about growth and spawning closures.
  • Rock lobster - what's happening in the far north west plus East Coast rebuilding.
  • Forum discussion - your questions answered.

DATE: Monday, 16 April, 6.30 - 8.00pm

VENUE: Mersey Yacht Club, 6 Anchor Drive, East Devonport

More information


(from left Greg Croak Pirtek Newcastle; Chris Rossetti winner; Michael Guest Challenge Director; and Mark Devitt Executive General Manager Marketing Pirtek)

The tenth annual PIRTEK Fishing Challenge, which attracted almost 9000 participants, has been recognised as the world’s biggest competition for anglers.

With entrants from every Australian state and territory, the event also raised funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and the Peter Duncan Neurosciences Research Unit.

Australia’s unique landscape was subject to an equally varied range of weather conditions for this year’s Challenge, which produced an endless list of ‘tales’ and interesting images loaded to the event’s official website.

There were some mighty fish caught including a 112cm barramundi in Queensland; Murray Cod over the magic metre mark and some big “Top End” trevally. The southern States produced great results with flathead over 90cm, cracking snapper and a 77cm brown trout from Tasmania.There were 157 individual prize winners across Australia all sharing in the $210,000 prize pool - see below for links to winners.PIRTEK provides $90,000 cash which is divided between 25 mystery length target fish, providing all entrants with the opportunity to win big without necessarily catching the biggest fish.One of the highlights of the challenge is the On The Water prize draw and this year’s major winner was Chris Rossetti from Charlestown, NSW who won the $29,000 boat/motor/trailer package thanks to Stacer and Evinrude.

2018 03 28 Tannin waters brown 6012After having some decent rainfall over the past couple of days I thought I would try one on the small tannin waters above Weegena. I was hoping it had enough flow in it to be good enough to fish, once there I found it was flowing quite nice and it was good enough to have a spin session in it. I was using the gold Aglia today as it always works well in most of the tannin waters I fish. It was a little on the quite side over the first fifty meters or so before I had a small brown take the lure only to see it toss it once it leapt from the river.

114 yellow tail king cPresented from Issue 114, February 2015
Jamie Harris, like many anglers from the north west coast, is a fishing nut. And also like many Burnie and NW coasters he has spent many hours driving too and from the east coast chasing game fish. Whilst the nearby west coast has some great fishing it is often wild and unfishable. Bass Strait has some good mako and gummy fishing and Australian salmon and flathead as well. But recently another fish has arrived on the scene that is as good a game fish as there is, great to eat, tough to catch and now it seems readily available – yellowtail kingfish.

Jamie chased these as long ago as ten years, like many anglers, around Elephant Rock off St Helens. Elephant Rock was one of the first areas where kingfish were regularly caught. Clarke Island, below Cape Barren and Flinders Island was also a hot spot, but a lot of boat was needed to get there. So it was a bit elusive but that only hardens the resolve of keen anglers.

114 summer river troutPresented from Issue 114, February 2015
Well now with the Summer weather well and truly here it’s time to change a few tactics fishing the rivers during these warmer months. Lower water levels and warmer water temperatures is something that the trout don’t like all that much. I have found the best water temperature for trout is between 11 deg C and 18 deg C above and below these temperatures and the fishing can become quite tough and even more so in Summer if the water temp reaches above 20 deg then the trout tend to shut down.

Spin fishing with lures for trout during the warmer weather can be quite frustrating, you have to keep persisting to catch a few fish. There are so many insect hatches all over the rivers and lakes that makes it very tough fishing for the spin fisher. Great conditions for the fly fisher though. The fly fisher will always do better than the spin fisher during the Summer months. You’ll see trout rising, sipping insects from the surface in most sections of long slow flowing runs. Then you will come across trout leaping from the river trying to snap up a caddis moth, dun or black spinner that is hovering above the water. I have seen some massive hatches of insects during my trout fishing days on rivers during the Summer. It’s these days on the river when you know you’re going to do it tough.

That’s when the fast water runs come into play as these will still be holding both browns and rainbow trout. It will be your best chance of catching a trout with a lure. Fishing fast water is not easy, it is rocky, slippery and very hard going in most sections of the river. Tough it out and you will be rewarded with some fine trout.

114 Preparation tuna2Presented from Issue 115, April 2015
A previous trailer boat trip to the Maatsuyker Island group in late February resulted in the capture of two 45kg southern bluefin tuna (SBT). This was primarily a work trip with some fishing thrown in, but immediately opened my eyes to the potentially amazing fishing this place had to offer.

Once back at home in Launceston I immediately began preparations for a return trip. I contacted a couple of like-minded fishing mates that lived in Hobart and told them of my previous discovery, and as expected they didn’t hesitate to join me on my next adventure. For the next month I concentrated heavily on making sure my boat and fishing gear was ready to go at a moment’s notice, all the time watching the weather closely. Exactly one month later we had our opening.

Weather down south had been mild all week and Sunday looked perfect. A 5-10 knot northerly for the best part of the day, followed by a stronger sea breeze later that afternoon. I was well organised and only had to hook up the boat to begin the long tow to Hobart. I arrived in Hobart Saturday afternoon and immediately began final preparations for an early start Sunday. Unfortunately later that night our third crew member pulled out and we were left short an extra set of hands (as well as someone to split the fuel bill with!). This brought its own set of complications. We were about to undertake a long-range trailer boat mission to one of Tassie’s wildest and most isolated locations, with just a team of two. This was going to be interesting.

2018 03 18 Mersey River closeupAfter two days of gale force winds the weather turned around for the better today, it was around 11:30 am when the wind eased off to a SSE at 16 kph which was enough to have me heading off to the upper reaches of the Mersey for a spin session. I had lunch first before I left and arrived at the river at 1:10 PM, I had a fairly decent walk to where I was going to start the spin session. It was 1:55 PM when I was finally in the river and started flicking the little Mepps #00 gold Aglia around amongst the fast water that flowed between the rocks. It was 2:01 PM when I had my first brown in the net, that was followed with another two browns caught and released in quick time too.

The second brown was caught and in the net at 2:04 PM and the third one was in the net at 2:13 PM, how I know that is by the time that's set by the camera when a photo is taken. So with three trout caught and released in twelve minutes I couldn't have had a better start to the session.

114 kayak kayakPresented from Issue 114, February 2015 and 115 April 2015
Have you been exercising your grey matter, thinking about getting into a kayak for some fishing fun? There’s a lot to think about, and the thinking doesn’t stop once you’ve carefully chosen your vessel. You’ll also need to put a lot of thought into setting it up for action, as Jo Starling explains.

Being a relative newcomer to the world of ‘yak fishing, I still climb the sport’s steep learning curve each and every time I go out. That’s one of the many great things about fishing… it’s just like a braided river; regardless of how well you think you know it, there’s always another ‘stream’ to explore!

You might assume that stepping into a kayak for a fish will not be a big stretch from your everyday fishing activities, but give it a go and you will soon realise how very different it is. Of course, the fishing nitty-gritty won’t change.

114 tuna oliverPresented from Issue 114, February 2015

Tuna season is well upon us and as Matt Byrne writes, with some preparation, a Tuna out of your tinnie is a real option proving that you do not need all the top end gear to get amongst the action.

Every single angler has a new goal or something they aspire to, whether it be catching a wild 10lb Trout, a Tasmanian Snapper or more recently perhaps even hooking a Broadbill swordfish. Yes, with the right amount of money you could indeed hire the top guide or the big boat with the gun crew and probably shortcut a lot of time and effort in achieving your dream fish, but would it be truly as satisfying I ask as having done it in your own boat, in your own backyard and with your own tackle?

For me, there is something incredibly satisfying about doing all the hard work in researching your target species, knowing its habits, preparing your gear, learning from your mistakes and of course in the end experiencing the thrill of landing that target fish. Small boat tuna fishing has all of that and much, much more and in this article I will detail everything I have learned about what is arguably one of the most adrenaline filled forms of fishing, targeting high speed Tuna out of your tinnie.

114 built boat a launchingPresented from Issue 114, February 2015

Crafting something with your own hands can be incredibly fulfilling. I have a trade background as a fitter, machinist and toolmaker and have made many things from metal, timber and other things over many years.

Some time ago I thought I would build a small drift boat and searched the internet for some plans. There are hundreds of plans online from free to a few hundred dollars. Like most things in life it is wise to spend enough to get what you need.

Drift boats are most common in the USA and used there mostly for floating downstream on rivers. The design is characterized by a wide, flat bottom, flared sides, a narrow, flat bow, and a pointed stern. A rocker is designed into the bottom along an arc from bow to stern of the boat. They are sort of back to front and can be rowed either way depending on the situation and speed of water. Drift boats have a very shallow draft and are very easily manoeuvred, spun around and held in fast water.

Drift boats have become more popular in recent times in Tasmania and we have many waters for which this style of boat is ideal. At least a three guides now use them and a few locals have either built or imported different styles.

Many pictures are at the end of the article.

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