Some excellent catches of flathead from the deeper channels throughout Storm Bay and up along the South East Coast toward Maria Island have been a highlight for holiday anglers.
Jigging the deeper channels with multi dropper style soft plastic rigs is by far the most popular form of angling for the king/bay flathead these days. Braided line of 20-50lb coupled with a tear-drop style snapper lead is a very efficient method of delivering these rigs to flathead holding on the bottom in both the 4-10m and 30-40m zones.
Try Silstar Jig-Em squid rigs in 9cm or 13cm models for good results in both the deep water and shallower bay areas. While pink and white are both popular colours with these and similar multi-rigged plastics others do well with the darker purple, yellow or black tones. Adding spray scents to these rigs is also a very popular improvement to this proven method of gathering flatties. Give the Fish League Egi (sardine flavour) and Stimulate Glow sprays a try.
Big Australian Salmon around 2kg are still appearing regularly in our region and have provided some fine light line sport for those armed with the right medium spin tackle. Norfolk Bay, Dunalley and South Arm have all been frequented by some hefty specimens of 2-3kg of late. Soft plastic baitfish and small to medium weight metals slice lures have accounted for most fish but poppers or surface slider type lures can be a lot of fun if you come across actively feeding salmon.
Reports of albacore tuna activity have been few a far between in January but that not surprising seeing as everything fishing seems to be about a month or more late this season. While some have caught the odd tuna, others that have headed into the same areas hoping for better result have not hooked a single fish. But with pockets of warmer water hitting the east coast, better numbers of these popular light game fish will surely be here in February.
Another species that is still very quiet in comparison to last year is the yellowtail kingfish. Reports of massive numbers of these fish off the North East River on Finders Island is very encouraging news for those expecting good numbers of these tough fighting fish.
February may herald the start of some better action for the kingie fans. Presenting unweighted live baits and even fresh squid baits can be worthwhile form of nailing a marauding kingfish if you do manage to spot them.
Arrow squid and calamari are still a good option for inshore saltwater anglers looking for a little light line sport and or a tasty end to the days fishing. Above average-sized calamari are still being regularly caught throughout the south east.
Lower Derwent and Huon river fishers have been surprised by the amount of Atlantic salmon being caught by lure anglers over the last couple of months. Store Point and Cadbury Point are two locations worth trying on the Derwent.
The Huon freshwater confluence zone near the first rapids or near the smaller inflow zones are probably more worthy areas if you’re looking for a salmon or two. Salmon can usually be seen jumping or swirling when in decent numbers at any location, so keep an eye out.
While these fish can be down right frustrating to target at times, the tide change often brings on a reliable bite phase for lure anglers. Baitfish pattern plastics in 3-4” models are a dependable lure for these chunky salmonoids.
Closer to Hobart, the sustained spring like January weather has offered very little consistency for river trout fishers looking for dependable action and calmer pocket water.
The impending lowland hopper feast has been somewhat thwarted lately by higher than normal water levels on most Derwent Valley streams. Heavy rainfall along the north, east coasts and to a lesser degree in the Hobart area around mid January had the river levels again pulsing.
Everything should be back to normal by early February and the hot action experienced by lure and fly anglers over the New Year should return. February might even bring us some extended periods of warm weather that will in turn deliver the conditions we all hope for when planning a trouting excursion. Hopper patterns such as the Wee Creek Hopper should be a perfect dry fly for the streams this month.
And finally onto the bream scene….Well what a weird season it has been! This years spawning was a really mixed affair and hence the bream have never really schooled up in any one area. All the inflow zones seemed to have their own patch of spawners this year, the result being a wide spread of bream last month.
Although there are bream holding on several reef zones throughout the Old Beach to Lindisfarne area at the moment, I’ve found aggressively feeding bream along many shallow rocky banks.
Lately, a combination hardbodied lure approach has worked best for me. I firstly work the deeper margins of shallow rocky shores or flats with 2-3m divers (EcogearCX40HS). I then move in to work shallow minnows in and around edge structure such as boulders, eddies or shallow ledges. Some popular choices for shallow water bream on the Derwent are Ecogear MX48F, Ecogear MW62F, Rapala X-Rap 4cm/6cm and Jackall Colt Minnow 65.
Catching Derwent bait-chasing bream is well worth the effort this month. Try fishing a 2/3 incoming tide and the first half of the run-out as these are usually some of the best times when fishing edges.
Remember to fish light and work plenty of pauses into your retrieve.Reads: 2599