by Carl Hyland
Renowned for its trout fishing, Tasmania also has on offer, some of the best game fishing in the world. The Southern Bluefin fishery is recognised as being amongst one of the most sustainable tuna fisheries anywhere and at this time every year, recreational and visiting anglers are breaking records on world class fish.
Lockie Nichols with a great 'fin
Southern Tasmania has had record runs of Bluefin this year and whilst seals continue to be a problem amongst recreational captures, anglers prepared to put up with the bad weather and conditions are getting amongst the big fish. Daily, I am getting reports of fish over that 100kg mark.
Jonah Yick with his potential state record
Jonah Yick managed a huge fin which he tackled for an hour and a half on 15kg gear near the Hippolytes recently; Jonah was eligible for a state record but had forgotten to renew his membership with a local fishing club, which meant he couldn’t claim his title. Hard luck.
Guru, Mark Watson with a 127.8kg fin
Some advice here from Jack, who was out fishing for tuna last week; he says; Now lures sizes is probably one of the major differences between chasing bill fish in the tropics to chasing bluefin in the south. We don't need to run 14' lures, In fact 8' is about as big as I run. 4.5-8' is the right range. The next major difference is setting the spread of lures, they set the boat speed then set the lures on the faces of waves, and usually set lures one wave back from one another. Here, it's always rough, smaller boats and currents mean we don't have clear defined waves, so I set them purely on distance, although I watch the lures and if they constantly end up on the back of a wave - I adjust it, visibility of the lure, and action is poor and the leader becomes more visible, which are all bad so watch that and keep your skirts on the face of waves as much as you can. I usually run 3 hard body divers and 3 skirts. There's are thousands of brands and styles, personally I like Meridian, they are Australian made and amazing quality, pakula also make great lures. Halco make brilliant lures and are a hot favourite with most. Other good brands are zuka, black magic, hollow point. I run quite bright colors, and try to cover a lot of bases with size and color. A halco king brown is pretty much a guaranteed starter for most people. Meridian super donga is also very popular and effective. I also like an aggressive purple lure, and a white/lumo green. Lumo greens and bright pinks don't represent bait but seem to get a strike when logical colors don't work. I think they hit odd ball colors out of curiosity. But purple, brown, pink, lumo green, gold, green all work. I position 5 lures quite close to the boat with one running just past the end of the prop wash or at the end of the prop wash, running lures past the end of the propwash is not great, rookie mistake and will usually catch you nothing. Keep them around prop wash. My closest short corner lure is about 25 feet from the transom, and run them about 8-12 feet back from that each time, roughly. My long corner and short rigger lures are at almost the same distance back but one is held out wide from the boat one runs in the side wash. Everyone does it different, and every boat is different. The obvious things also are, get a gimal, at least 2 gaffs and decent ones, a tail rope is handy, and gloves for handling leaders. But read up knowledge is power and it will yield results. Keep your lures short, fish good conditions when you can ( 10-15 knots SW, cloud and rain!!) and have fun.
If you are contemplating visiting the Island state, don’t limit your fishing activity to just tuna or game fishing. Every stream you drive over usually holds a good head of fish, either bream or trout and bear in mind; you do need a freshwater license to fish most fresh water rivers at this time of the year.
The trout season has just closed but some dedicated waters such as Lake Barrington or Meadowbank Dam and Craigbourne Dam(just to name a few) do remain open throughout the year.
To obtain a freshwater license before arriving in Tasmania, you can do it here online.
Elsewhere, snotty trevally, blue warehou as they are commonly known, is easily caught at locations such as the Stanley Jetty or Inspection Head wharf in the Tamar. Armed with a sabaki rig and pieces of chicken, you should do okay, especially if you add a berley mix. Trevally are a soft fleshed fish, and do not keep well once frozen , so a few kept for the table are more than ideal and you could let the rest go.
Blue Warehou are a popular catch in Tassie at this time.