by Carl Hyland
Located right on the doorstep of the Spirit of Tasmania’s arrival and departure point is the Rubicon River, which starts at Port Sorell and runs for 38km’s through tidal saltwater flats and pristine farming land to Elizabeth Town, a small roadside country town in Northern Tasmania. What this means for bream enthusiasts is that this river is close enough to satisfy the bread and butter fisherman or the avid trophy angler and at the same time, allow the solitude of being in a remote location yet close to major metropolitan centres.
The jetty at Port Sorell
Google map showing the tidal zone of the Rubicon
Flanked on the Western shore by Port Sorell, a sleepy little holiday village that turns into a bustling, busy holiday destination during winter months and the Eastern shore is bordered by the remote Narawntapu National Park. The river mouth opens to Bass Strait which means that all sorts of sea creatures venture up along its length but the one that most seek is the elusive Southern Black Bream.
Bream fishing is not an art nor as specialised as is it made out to be. Sure there are the ‘purists’ who chase no other fish, and that’s fine but for the angler seeking a bit of sport and perhaps a feed for the table then this river has it all.
A black bream from the lower reaches of the Rubicon
From the bridge which crosses the Rubicon River on the Highway which runs between Exeter and Devonport, access can be gained to the river for shore based angling. One must be aware that the mud that lines the banks of the Rubicon is very deep and treacherous, so caution must be taken, especially when fishing at low tide. I would recommend the wearing of stout waders and possible a good rope to pull yourself out if you do get stuck. With that in mind, it is also a fantastic spot for many species in particular black bream, and some huge fish at that. Judging by some of the photos that I have received and taken myself, there aren't too many small fish in this estuary.
A fine lure caught bream.
Bait fishing is exceptional in the Rubicon and it can be gathered locally if you are in a mind to do so. Sand worms, pippis and small bait fish can all be gathered or if you wish, baits may be purchased in Devonport. Small pieces of fish flesh floated under a stemmed float on an incoming tide are top notch bait and will bring some outstanding results. Be prepared for long, drawn out tussles with big fish! Baiting can also get you amongst other species, in particular small yellow eyed mullet and small cocky salmon which are ever present in Tassie’s tidal estuarine system. Small toad fish are a blessed nuisance.
Lure fishing for bream here is an art, but it needn't be as bream will take most bibbed lures and also take some lures that are not intended for use in waters such as this. I’m talking about old Wonder wobblers or the old Silver Duchess lures, once the mainstay of older anglers.
Included in the lure range are soft plastics and many favourites that are used all over Australia will also work here? Gary Glitters, pumpkinseeds, blue pearls are all good fish takers. Some choose to release their catch from this system and that’s fine also but with a good clean flow of fresh water in the top of the river plus good flushes from seaward, you can also consume your catch if you choose to. Please bear in mind the fisheries regulations when fishing here.
Tyson with a bait caught bream.