Marlin, marlin, marlin. No wait! Kingfish, kingfish, kingfish!
This has been the hot topic for the last month on the east coast of Tasmania. In the last month there has been more striped marlin hook ups and fish landed than anyone has seen for many, many years. Fish between 79-119kg have been landed barely a mile or two offshore from St Helens Point on both lures and live baits, although trolling lures have accounted for the lions share.
Lures such as Pakula Phantom and Zippers a well as Black Magic SBT lures are standouts. Many anglers are also reporting having marlin in their lure spread slashing at lures but not hooking up and quite a few small striped tuna being caught are coming to the boat very beat up after being smashed by marlin under the boat.
March saw the yellowfin arrive as we’d expect, with plenty of yellowfin tuna being weighed in. In early March most of these were all caught off St Helens inside the 100m mark and weighed between 60-80kg.
The action is certainly firing off the East Coast at the moment.
The yellowtail kingfish have also been the hot topic and the focus of East Coast anglers during the last month and rightly so being a great fighting fish and excellent eating as well.
Whilst there are some schools of yellowtail kingfish in the Bay with a handful of anglers catching quite a few fish up to 2.5kg, the bulk of the fish have been caught around Elephant Rock and have provided some great sport fishing with most fish between 2-5kg and one angler reporting a monster for Tasmanian waters of 9kg.
Various methods have proven to be successful and for those anglers serious about targeting this species a combination of those methods are often needed to bring the fish to the boat.
High speed trolling using lures such as Rapala X-Raps trolled at speeds of between 10-15knots or using knife jig Lures of between 80-150g to jig the fish up have both worked well once the schools of kingfish have been located with a sounder.
Once the fish are brought up to the boat and are visible in schools near the surface large soft plastic lures such as Squidgy Pro Range Flick Baits in 110mm and 145mm in Pearl, Evil Minnow and Slimey colours have proven to be unbeatable.
The last month has also been an absolute cracker for quality bream; many of the East Coast systems have been producing excellent numbers and sizes of black bream and at this time of year the flats fishing with hardbodied lures is just superb.
A pleasant surprise, up until it takes your $20 hardbodied lure that is, are the big silver trevally mixed in with the bream up in shallow water on the flats. These are great fighting fish on the light bream gear and not often found in the very shallow water.
Lures popular on these fish have been the 100mm Squidgy Wrigglers in Wasabi colour and the Shimano Lure Project Medium Minnows in Baitfish Blue.
The prawn season is also in full swing up and down the coast with plenty of prawners out on the calmer night rounding up a feed or two. The presence of the prawns has also brought the calamari around and some fine specimens have been taken from Georges Bay and St Helens Point of late.
With Easter around the corner the waterways around St Helens will be busy with the garfish coming on hot and for the next few months we should see some top gar action with fish averaging 45-50cm in length.
Can it get any better than this?
For any more advice on where to go and what to catch just drop in and see me, Jamie, at St Helens Bait & Tackle, the East Coast Specialists.Reads: 2407