March is one of my favourites on the north west coast. Water temperatures are still high enough to enjoy the most of the salt water and you can still get some cracker days.
Unlike January and February, which seems to be the windier months, the wind calms down, giving you more opportunities to get out there and give it a real red hot crack!
With the water temperature still up and the wind going down, anglers still have the mako bug on their minds: and so they should! Last year at this time we had our most successful shark trips. It wasn’t uncommon to berley up to five different makos up in one trip. We also managed to bring up a great white shark that hung around the boat for 7 hours, which was a once in a life time experience.
Although we have had a slow start to the Australian salmon this year, they are starting to make their appearance by becoming a common by-catch to surf anglers targeting gummy sharks. There are also reports of successful trips out Wivenhoe Beach in front of the Emu River mouth using soft plastics but as the bait is beginning to show up again, hotspots like the reefs off Cooee, Blackmans Reef (left of the Burnie Breakwall), The Cam River mouth and West Park should be checked out.
Anglers struggling to find the salmon should note that schools have been in shallow water and they haven’t been busting up, nor have any birds been onto them so methods other than sight should be used to track them. Trolling seems to be the most successful method although I can vouch for drifting in a hotspot and casting with soft plastics, even just for 5 minutes just to see if they are there.
In the far north west, anglers are still making the most of the southern blue spot flathead in Duck Bay and Robins Passage. Paddle tailed soft plastics like Squidgy Shads, Gulp Shaky Shads or Yep Flappers in bright colours and fished slow in the shallows will put you at chance of landing that 80cm fish of a lifetime.
On the nearby offshore waters gummy sharks, school sharks, flathead and the occasional seven-gilled shark have been caught. Although prized by most anglers, the locals continue to ‘sieve’ through this frustrating by-catch to get to the real prize of a big red Tasmanian snapper.
The one thing I have learnt about Tasmania is that the weather can change at any time, especially the wind. When the wind picks up, don’t be afraid to hit the rivers for some shelter as well as quality brown trout.
Remember the season is ending in a couple of months so get into it! I learnt to fly fish this time last year in the Emu River and still found plenty of fish eating dries.
Fishing small lures and light rods is also an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon on the Emu River.Reads: 1452