Although it can’t be said that we’ve experienced anywhere near the tuna season that many would have liked, there have still been enough good bluefin taken recently to encourage boats onto the water along the south east coast.
Bigger bluefin in the 70-110kg class have been caught in small numbers over the beginning of last month. Recently catch rates have turned the corner and the tuna fans have smiles on their faces again.
Even the early slow rate of action around Eaglehawk Neck finally improved with some good catches during May after a very patchy first half of the season. Regular blows of westerly to southwesterly winds are now helping to encourage some more active tuna.
Meridian skirted top water lures have been the flavour of the month, as is the norm when the big blues show up. Models in the 4-6” range have all been popular, as opposed to the early part of the tuna season when lighter squid like colours prevail.
Right now darker outer skirt colours such as purple, brown and black with brighter internal layers have been more favoured. Larger Mac Baits, Halco 190/160DD and the new Berkley Monster series lures have all been very popular for a sub-surface. A few good sized albacore in the 7-20kg range are still showing up amongst the blues.
The calm evenings have created plenty of nights for flounder fishers to get out onto the water. Given the amount of lights I have been selling of late there must be plenty of these tasty table fish about.
I managed to get out recently and was able to scrape together a dozen or so decent flounder in marginal conditions. I actually had a lot of fun chasing these flat fish. With good warm clothing, a decent headlight and appropriate safety gear, it’s actually not that bad out on the water on a winter night.
Elsewhere on the saltwater scene, there have been some big Australian salmon about Frederick Henry and Storm bays, including some real thumpers. On calm days these great light tackle sportfish are a good option for bay anglers looking to find some nearby action.
Winter trout fishing fans will be glad to hear that 256 Atlantic salmon averaging 3kg have been liberated into Craigbourne Dam last month. These bigger salmon tend to patrol the shallows and edges making them more obvious to anglers walking the shores of the dam.
The last release of smaller salmon into this reservoir resulted in some patchy catch rates as salmon of this size often tend to head out deeper, holding in the 4-6m level that is not easily accessed by anglers. Hence, baits and spoons trolled on lead lines account for some of the better bags of these salmon.
With some bigger salmon now cruising the dam, anglers should do well prospecting the edges with diving minnows or lightly rigged plastics. Be aware if you are heading to Craigbourne that anglers are restricted to keeping only two fish over 600mm in length.
Soft plastics in pumpkinseed and pink have accounted for their fair share of these fish, as have diving minnows such as Ecogear MW62f and Yo-Zuri Pins Minnows 70F.
The Derwent bream action has been sensational right through May, especially for land-based anglers. Plenty of well-conditioned bream have been working the rocky shallows hard as they attempt to beef up for winter.
Standard minnow type lures have as usual been the best option for bream working in around 1m of water. Ecogear MW, Presso 6f and X Rap 06 are all good lures to use on the Derwent.
Although I’ve been stupidly busy month, I’ve been able to get out for a few quick but fruitful sessions. On one occasion I managed to land four good bream in a 30-minute stroll around Rose Bay. Not bad fishing for right in the middle of Hobart.
There should still be some action to be had on the bream front this month although changing over to a slower soft plastic presentation might be a wise move.
Deeper water around structure either constructed or natural is often a good place to start looking for groupings of bream.
Prince of Wales Bay or similar type locations are always good spots after a wet season like the one we’ve just had. If you’re in luck and get onto a few, the bream do tend to be schooled up at this time of the year.
Worm and curl tail grub patterns excel for deep water plastic fishing and are best fished on a light action rod. Remember to slow your lure movements right down when fishing the cooler water for best results.
If the Derwent slows too much later this month, it can often be worth heading up the east coast a little as the Swan River often fishes very well during winter. I’ll be heading that way in the first week of June as I do most winters.
Hopefully the big rains will spare the Swan system and the lower river will produce the great fishing it is renowned for. Systems that have plenty of shallow weedy sections like the Swan can sustain actively feeding bream as the warmer water delivered on each tide keeps the temperature high enough to promote feeding.
Systems such as the Swan, Little Swanport and even the more southerly Lune River are all worth a visit during the winter as they all have warmer shallow sections allowing angler use a variety of lures.
Even surface lures will work in the colder months at these places and are at times the best tools for job when weed gets hung up on just about every other type of lure.Reads: 1602