It’s January and summer is here!
The water temperature should well and truly be warm enough for the usual estuarine species, gamefish of the southeast coast and even the odd rare pelagic sportfish such as the sought after yellowtail kingfish.
The freshwater angler will also have success around the many tributaries of the Huon River with the small creeks and streams nearby Judbury offering superb sport.
Lure fishing with Celtas is popular as is flyfishing with dry flies.
The Channel holds a very health population of sand flathead and although they are often small in size they most certainly make up for this in numbers. Anglers are reminded to measure all fish and ensure they are of legal size prior to keeping them for the table.
Soft plastics and saltwater fly are the two preferred methods chosen by the sporting angler. Recommended soft plastics are Berkley minnows and the Squidgy Fish and Wriggler patterns. In deeper water it is hard to go past the humble paternoster rig and bait – preferred baits are squid and pilchards.
The majority of areas hold fish with the land-based angler best to concentrate on jetties/wharves located at Margate, Woodbridge, Kettering, Bruny Island and Gordon.
Boat anglers should concentrate on fishing around the abundant fish farms as this is often where some of the larger fish hold. Although, please remember to stay outside the perimeter markers.
Dover, located south of Huonville, is also a renowned fishing port and is easily accessible for both land-based and boat anglers. The area offers a variety of pelagic sportfish, for example anglers can fish off the wharf located in the bay targeting species such as yellowtail mackerel, yellow eye mullet, Australian salmon, barracouta and the occasional warehou. I am also quietly confident this area would hold the odd yellow tail kingfish.
The nearby Esperance River is also a great sheltered location that can be a saviour in rough weather.
The small south coastal town of Southport also has plenty to offer the serious angler with Lune River a personal favourite hot spot.
The Lune River located on the inside of the headland offers typical estuary fishing with good numbers of bream, searun and resident trout, flathead, Australian salmon and odd Atlantic salmon all available.
Heading up river for the afternoon the estuary is especially good, as it 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. Recommended patterns are the BMS in grey and olive and the Tasman Whitebait.
Calamari squid are one of the more sought after table species during the month of January and the channel is as good a spot as any to target them.
Anglers will do best to carry an array of squid jigs with yellow/white and red/white popular colours.
The fishing around the outside of Bruny Island around Dennes Point is productive as is the fishing inside the channel around Dru Point, Margate, Woodridge and Gordon.
Keep in mind that fishing in close will often produce just as well if not better than the deeper edges. Anglers can expect calamari up to 2kg.
January is a very important month on the game anglers’ calendar, as it’s usually the month that good numbers of albacore tuna become available.
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 late 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.
When the weather is not as favourable, some anglers choose to launch from Fortescue Bay which is further down the coast.
Trolling traditional Yo-Zuri style squid skirts and Mack baits is effective as is a large pusher.
Although I am confident live baiting would be effective, however the resident barracouta population often make this difficult.
Over recent years yellowtail kingfish have been caught in encouraging numbers in the above mentioned Fortescue Bay with lure anglers having the most success.Reads: 1976