Bream action awesome and tuna fishing is sublime
  |  First Published: May 2012

While for many areas of Tasmania the fishing action slows a tad, the Derwent and the offshore waters are still at their autumn prime.

Eagle Hawk Neck

The game fishing scene has been on a hot streak since late summer with the arrival of yellowfin tuna, good-sized albacore and the big prize, striped marlin. In recent weeks the southern bluefin tuna have turned up in good numbers with plenty of schoolies to 30kg taken from most of the favourite haunts with the odd jumbo included.

The Pillar, as expected, was one of the hot spots with catches in tight on regular passes. Hippolyte Rock always attracts a crowd and the area north of here extending to wide of the Sisters has been a favoured trolling circuit. A couple of big jumbos have been reported with one 100kg plus model on a charter boat in early April.

Steve Gilbert on Moonshine was spooled just prior to Easter with a run on 15kg for 900m of line. Several good captures reported over Easter with some big numbers fishing out of Pirates Bay; it’s always a test for the trailer parking despite the upgrades over the past few years.

Martyn Evans on Big Girls landed a 80kg plus yellowfin in March but the arrival of the school blues usually signals the end of the run and the marlin have been very quiet since early March with no reported sightings for some time. Let’s hope they return again next year as just like the St Helens fishery, it’s just the injection the fishery needs at times.

One thing is for sure the bluefin haven’t been too fussy since their arrival with all manner of skirts and lures accounting for fish. Dark colours were working well, black and silver or purple combinations were taking good numbers. Small Mack baits were going well and skirts in smaller sizes favoured over larger models.

Many catches in mid-April were reporting small silver baitfish present in the diet with fish still in their mouths as they were boated. With bait like this around it might be the perfect opportunity to target a blue with the fly or cast and retrieve lure or plastic: it’s something I’ve always wanted to do but never managed to find the time to target. A small schoolie would be loads of fun on a solid outfit.


The Derwent is the home of the biggest bream in Australia. It’s been said a million times but another reminder won’t hurt.

At this time of the year black bream are spread out through the system. Good fish are in the shallows, on the rocky shores and on the man-made structures right through the system. The recent ABT qualifier returned an 11.56kg two day bag to Mark Mangold, once again showing that the near enough to 6kg per day is what is required to win on the Derwent.

There are several tactics that will land you a good Derwent Bream as we move toward the cooler months. Don’t overlook the shallow bays of the Derwent, Mark Mangold fished a favourite bay of mine during the ABT and found some good fish.

I’ve picked them up in less than 60cm of water over recent weeks and they should stay here in the coming month or so at least until the first good rains discolour and freshen up the system.

Small shallow running lures like the Ecogear MX48, Panish 55, Daiwa Presso, Jackson Athletes and Jackall Colts all work well. The bream at present really like the long pause. If you’re new at the game it can be very hard to just sit that lure there in the water with a big bream staring at it a foot away. Your first instinct is to wind because that’s all you’ve been told to do but if you spot something tracking your lure just sit it there and you’ll likely get the response you’re after.

The mid to deep rocky banks are probably the Derwent’s mainstay and regular bream grounds. Here you’ll need to throw lures like the Double Clutch, Cherry Bloods, Cranka Crank Deeps or Cranka Vibes. Cast in hard and that means hitting the rocks a few times. A couple of quick rips and pause, then start to work it out from the edge, twitching and pausing all the way.

Plastics also work well; I favour Gulp but must admit I’m no plastic fanatic myself but find it comes down more to the zone you fish and the retrieve. Get it in their face and you’re half a chance.

Hitting up the structure is all about vibes and plastics. Scent is popular with some anglers, but again get the cast in tight, sink it down the edge of the pylons, jetties, boats, reefs or whatever it may be.

Hold on as there are some big bream in these places. Loading up the line to 6-8lb can help land a few more fish and keep the tackle bill to a minimum.

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