Bluefin and bream keep anglers happy
  |  First Published: June 2012

As we move in to the closed season for brown trout in Tasmania, the Derwent remains a very viable option for those chasing a trout fix.

The Derwent remains open from the Bridgewater Bridge downstream year round and as provided consistent sport since the boundary was changed last year.

Normally we would see the trout taper off from late October in to November but the 2011-12 season has seen plenty of resident trout and the odd searunner still present right through the system.

In mid-April there were quite a few trout being taken by anglers targeting bream both socially and in the tournament run on the Derwent. Browns both resident and searun ranging from 500g-2kg have been taking lures quite regularly, mostly cast to shore or on the edge of channels adjacent to weed flats.

While you’re always a chance to land a trout at any time in the Derwent River I find the best way to increase your chances is hitting up any of the rocky points around the shores of the river. Contrary to popular belief I’m an avid fan of the outgoing tide. I’d catch 70% of my trout on the dropping tide. Sure the run-in is essential in some areas of the river but in general the best fishing is in those ripping tides which produce the best results.

The Derwent fishery is largely based on baitfish and shrimp feeders. These feature highly in the diet of the Derwent trout and will hold up in slack water behind these points as the tide runs out. Favoured lures for drift spinning anglers are Nories Laydowns, Diawa 6F Pressos, Ecogear MX48’s and MW62’s. Trolling is always popular on the Derwent and Tassie Devils in #92, 75 and 107 are good catching colours. Flyfishing the old Fur Fly is hard to pass up along with a grey BMS and most natural bait imitations.

Also turning up through the past weeks and will no doubt stay about the lower reaches for some time are Atlantic salmon up to 2kg also. These escapees are from a reported spill around Bruny Island and the fish have quickly made their way to at least as far upstream as Cadburys Point.

The Tasmanian Bream Classic recently concluded with the third and final round on the Derwent River. A record two-day 10 fish bag was weighed in further proving we have the country’s premier bream fishery on our cities doorstep. Bream are at the time of writing still spread right through the system. They should remain this way until we receive the first decent autumn/winter rains which add a flush of fresh and drop the water temperature considerably.

The bream then appear to disperse and are found in the lower reaches are the Tasman Bridge and further afield to Browns River at Kingston.

Bream are still on the no consumption list and should not be kept as table fish while this is in place. Also on the list are the Derwent flathead which is disappointing as there have been some very healthy looking specimens coming from throughout the river. We have boated several 40cm plus fish and one over 50cm in April. The Derwent flathead are usually small and plentiful but currently some great fish are around.

Fishing the lower reaches around Battery Point and Sandy Bay in April we sighted several schools of yellowtail kingfish. These were only rats at around 1kg in size and were not the slightest bit interested in the bream lures we were using. Nor were they overly concerned with the boat as they cruised under and passed and through the deeper water under long jetties.

The tuna scene slowed out of EHN during late autumn. After a very busy start to the month the highly anticipated Tom Jenkins Memorial saw 70 plus boats enter the field. Most boats failed to produce line class fish with mostly school bluefin boated. From here the action remained slow. Charter boats on one particular day reported nothing at all until 2:30pm when the blues came on the bite for some fast and furious action.

Early May saw some big blues caught in Munroes with one at 118kg. Let’s hope they continue through to winter.

Albacore were again reported for one boat taking five to 30kg which is an impressive fish and plenty of table fare to go around.

Dart Banks has been popping up in conversations and fishing forums of late and will no doubt be popular as it travels the grapevine. Several boats also reporting continued action in close between Betsy and Wedge Islands. It’s been popular with smaller trailer boats where the circuit offers some protected water in northerlies which have been a feature over April.

The jumbos reported in early April have thinned but they are sure to feature again and May is often the time to land your big fish.

Smaller lures and skirts remain popular and darker colours continue to be the preferred choice.

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