Sea run trout dominate the agenda
  |  First Published: September 2012

September couldn’t have come fast enough if you ask me! This is the month where things start to kick off!

September is the month where Tassie’s famous sea run brown trout action starts to heat up. I like to think of September as the top of the hill. Most of us have just crawled to the top after struggling to get through the cold winters peak and the closed freshwater season, and now it’s smooth sailing downhill! Things only get better in both the salt and fresh!

It’s funny. We have some of the most beautiful, fishy looking estuaries here on the north west coast of Tasmania but for long periods of the year they really don’t fish as well as you would hope. Often, I hear mainlanders saying “we’d pull mad fish out of water like this back home”.

For example you could fish the Cam River everyday straight from April through to the end of August and the best fish you may encounter might be a 30cm mullet! Don’t get me wrong, there are some good estuaries around here that produce all year but let’s face it; things like big sportfish aren’t the most dominant species in these parts (unfortunately).

However, this is the time of year when these rivers finally come to life! During the white bait migrations, your 30cm mullet can turn into a 5kg sea runner!

For a long period of time I thought the best way to catch these fish was to use exact imitations of whitebait. This meant cutting back 3” plastics to 1.5” and using resin heads or using the smallest hardbodied lures in my arsenal. Now although these techniques worked well on small fish, after a while I realised that the larger sea runners weren’t just eating the whitebait, but they were eating the other fish that were eating the whitebait!

From experience I have found that big sea runners (mostly) can’t be bothered chasing out small individual whitebait because it’s a waste of energy. Rather, they charge through whitebait schools and grab mouthfuls. Or, they seek out larger fish like small flathead, salmon, mullet and even other trout!

So from experience, I have found a good baseline lure size of around 3-4”. This will be appealing to larger sea runners while still enticing smaller fish to have a go too! I recommend the Berkley Powerbait, 3-4” power minnow range (pearl watermelon, pearl olive, pearl blue or walleye) matched with a jigheads from 1/16th to 1/8th depending on conditions. For hardbodied lures I prefer slimmer styled minnows like Daiwa Presso, Ecogear MX 48’s, Ecogear MW’s, Cultiva minnows and Stiffies!

My most favourite rivers to target sea runners are the Cam River (from the bridge up to the first set of rapids), the Emu River (from the mouth to the spillway), the Blythe River (from the bridge to the weir) as well as the Leven, Mersey and Forth rivers.

The best tide to target runners is by far the last 2-hours of the run out when the water is freshest and the tide is strongest!

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