Quality fish greet warm water
  |  First Published: December 2011

January is a month full of high expectations for anglers on the north west coast of Tasmania.

It’s the month with plenty of superb weather, holidays, and the time where everyone wants to test out the new fishing presents they received at Christmas. More importantly however, January is the month with some of the best fishing the year has to offer.

With water temperatures beginning to peak, less-common species like snapper and yellowtail kingfish gives anglers a challenge not usually encountered.

The most successful ways to catch snapper in Tasmanian waters is to fish structure such as a breakwater with a deep drop-off or strong currents in shallow, warmer water. Paternoster rigs with a cocktail of fresh squid and a fillet of an oily fish such as mackerel work wonders for the big fish.

As for kingfish, the most successful way is to fish underneath boiling bait with large heavy weighted soft plastics. This time last year most kingies were caught by sinking big soft plastics underneath the busting up salmon and then ripping them up with a fast, aggressive action. Live baits and trolling big deep diving hardbodies around reefs will also bring them undone.

On the offshore side of things, the north west has some of its best shark fishing this time of year. The large increase in arrow squid and ‘couta populations attract plenty of shortfin makos, blue sharks and great whites. Obviously great whites are protected but you can still have a close encounter and an awesome experience when they approach your boat.

The best tips for catching makos is to find deep water (around 50m), use lots of berley, fresh baits (whole squid and whole salmon work well) and lots of patience! To help pass the time drop a bait-rig down while you drift. You would be amazed at the quality gummies and flathead you can catch in the strait this time of year!

Don’t forget Tasmania’s basics though. This really is the most diverse month for fishing. Pretty much all our species are active this time of year.

Squid can be targeted land-based or by boat simply by working bright coloured squid jigs. Salmon will be found state-wide in shallow inlets or deep reefs and won’t be able to resist artificials. Garfish and mullet are great fun for the kids off the rocks and are easily berleyed up with bread and tuna oil and there is some fantastic night fishing to be had off the beaches for gummy sharks and elephant fish.

Don’t ignore the freshwater side of things though. Often our fresh waters become great plan B’s when the weather turns bad on the salt. January is usually the time when everyone pulls out the fly rods and enjoys some of the best dry fly trout fishing in the country. The options are truly endless. The best advice is to get out there and go fishing! This time of year you really can’t go wrong.

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