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  |  First Published: December 2010

It’s December already – where has the last 12 month gone!

Besides the hustle and bustle of Christmas this time of year hopefully means for you a well deserved break and some time on the water!

The water temperature should well and truly be warm enough for the usual estuarine species, with December a great month to chase big bream on soft plastic and fly.

I am confident the first of the southern game fish to be caught off the Tasman Peninsula is not to far away with the tasty albacore usually the first to turn up around Christmas.

For the land-based angler the Australian salmon are now be available in large numbers with the Derwent estuary and Bruny Island being recognised hot spots. These fantastic sport fish can be targeted with soft plastics, bait and the humble silver slice.


This small south coastal town has plenty to offer the serious angler with both the estuary and blue water angler catered for.

Southport has two different distinct fisheries; an outside fishery where anglers can target calamari squid, flathead, cod, wrasse, striped trumpeter, gurnard and morwong perch and an inside sheltered fishery offering typical estuary species.

The reef fishing, although a little more patchy than Port Arthur and Eagle Hawk Neck is popular, particularly during the summer months when shack owners hit up there favourite hot spots.

With many good table fish on offer the boat ramp at the mouth of the Lune River is generally very popular.

The most popular technique is traditional bait fishing (bottom bouncing) with a paternoster rig and squid or pilchards as bait being the preferred method.

For those feeling a little more active drift spinning the shoreline from a boat is also highly recommended where anglers will encounter a large array of sportfish including Australian salmon, wrasse, pike and barracouta. The odd crayfish and abalone is also available.

For those preferring the more sheltered waters the Lune River located on the inside of the headland offers typical estuary fishing with good numbers of bream, sea run and resident trout, flathead, Australian salmon and the odd Atlantic salmon all available.

Heading up river for the afternoon the estuary holds a good head of large bream and trout, both of which can be taken on soft plastics or a running sinker rigged with bait. Accomplished saltwater fly anglers will also have success.

Pirates Bay

This hub of the Tasman Peninsula has all kinds of species to keep the fussiest of anglers content. Over the next three months this area will be very popular for its game fishing, but that should not discourage land-based anglers simply after a close in feed.

Albacore, yellowfin tuna and mako sharks are the most likely contenders for the first couple of months with the chance of a striped marlin also making an appearance during January and February.

Anglers usually use Pirates Bay as their base camp, heading straight out of the bay and south to the famous Hypolyte Rocks – it is here where all the action happens!

Trolling traditional Yo-Zuri style squid skirts and Mack baits is effective as is a large pusher. For those equipped and ready for adventure and often frustration the saltwater fly-fishing cam also be rewarding.

The remainder of the time although (when it’s blowing 30 knots south east/west) there is plenty to keep the more sheltered water angler happy with the bay proper holding wrasse, barracouta, calamari squid and the odd flathead.

Recent reports have indicated that squid fishing in particular has been very productive off the popular Pirates Bay jetty.

Red and white Yo-Zuri jigs are popular as are the same models in green and yellow. It often pays to carry two different sizes with a 3.5 being the standard weight.

For those that do not own or have access to a suitable boat the area also offers charters to suit most budgets, for more information enquire at a local Tasmanian tackle store.

Crayfish are a popular south east Tasmanian delicacy – now is the time to buy a licence and set a pot for a Christmas cray.

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