Get on the summer train
  |  First Published: December 2011

Ideally the blustery spring conditions are now behind us as we relish the longer days, warmer water and increased fishing activity.

At the time of writing the southern estuaries are well and truly firing and it is predicted this will continue with an abundance of bait ensuring plenty of marauding predators.

Bream are moving freely in the estuaries with January and February a great time to be hitting the Lune, Esperance, Huon, Browns and Derwent rivers.

Little Swanport, Swan and Scamander rivers on the east coast are also productive.

As long as the water temperature cooperates the game fishing should now be up and running too with striped tuna, albacore and mako sharks all on the cards.

D’Entrecasteaux Channel

The Huon River is the place to be for the freshwater angler with sea runners and resident trout the recognised target species.

Sea run trout and the occasional Atlantic salmon can be caught throughout, although the upper reaches (above the road bridge) produce most fish on a regular basis.

Soft plastic anglers will do best to drift and spin from a boat. Trolling with cobras is also effective as is bait fishing with pretty fish and sandies (freshwater pike).

For those after a saltwater fix Bruny Island is usually productive this time of year. The sheltered water bay fishing on the inside of Bruny will give up large numbers of sand flathead.

The land-based angler will do well fishing off the main jetties in the area such as Safcol wharf and Woodbridge where armed with berley you are bound to attract a school of mackerel or mullet within minutes.

For those that are after a feed, a longer cast with a paternoster rig will usually mean sand flathead or a small cocky salmon. Bluebait or fish strips are the best baits.

If the angler is happy to fish after dark the local mackerel population will not disappoint nor will the massive calamari that hunt over the inshore wed beds and around the jetty pylons.

Boat anglers will do best to venture wide and look for reefs where they will find morwong perch, gurnard, cod, gummy sharks and the prized king (tiger) flathead.

A paternoster rig is preferred with squid, bluebait and fish pieces the preferred baits.

Soft plastics are also effective and these can be either fished with a heavy jig head or dropped to the bottom on a paternoster rig.

Further south anglers will find the Esperance River a productive fishery the river mouth itself is flanked with Atlantic salmon farms which give up the occasional fish.

Further up the estuary around Chale Bay sea run trout, bream, smaller Australian salmon and the occasional flathead can be found.

As access is often difficult, the boat angler is at a greater advantage.

Besides bait fishing drifting over the many dips and flats with soft plastics and fly will give up an array of species.

Tasman Peninsula

December and January offer some of the most reliable mako shark fishing with this highly sought after sporting species a very popular target.

Not for the faint hearted, anglers need to be experienced to chase these monsters of the deep. Armed with a big enough boat, plenty of berley and a 24-37kg game outfit some great sport can be had.

On a smaller scale the bait fishing for species such as striped trumpeter, king and sand flathead, perch and gurnard is also productive. Again a boat is required.

For those who would rather fish the shoreline around Pirates Bay and Fortescue there are plenty of calamari squid, wrasse, leatherjackets and flathead available.

As with most shore based fishing, berley is recommended.

For those chasing tuna traditional trolling techniques will work on early run albacore.

The lime green and yellow black magic jetsetter is a personal favourite.


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