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A mainlanders guide to Tasmania
  |  First Published: July 2013



Since my first bream fishing trip to Tasmania in February 2004 with my great mate Steve Steer, the aura and sheer uniqueness of Tassie’s bream fishing has had a big influence on my fishing.

The awakening and discovery of this great bream fishery somewhat conveniently coincided with the availability and development of specific lures and tackle, and also the expansion of the ABT tournament series.

The end result today is a raw and untouched fishery that is truly unique and amazing. I’m a firm believer that we have equally great bream fishing in East Gippsland, but just like the trout fishing in Tasmania, there is still something very special about catching bream on the Apple Isle. And, I’m positive that Tassie still has many new surprises in store for the local and travelling breamers who are willing to look further afield.

Getting there

You can either fly down to Tassie and borrow or hire a boat, or fish with mates, which is a great option. There are also a few full time guides operating in the state as well who are well worth a call. My preference is to take my own car and boat on the Spirit of Tasmania Ferry. Although this option is more costly, it provides the most flexibility and scope for maximising your bream fishing time and opportunities during the trip. Often, you will need to change your plans in accordance with conditions, and in particular the Tassie weather can be brutal at times. Having your own stuff makes this a little easier.

The following four locations are my favourite Tassie bream fishing spots, and all offer something different and unique for travelling anglers.

Port Sorrell

Lying at the junction of the Franklin and Rubicon rivers, this estuary is a true trophy bream fishery. I wont lie to you, this is not the most ideal spot for inexperienced anglers, but offers experienced anglers the chance to land big bream in clear water. Beware of the very strong tidal flow, and rocky oyster structure amongst the flats.

The majority of the bream fishing in Port Sorrell is sight fishing over the vast sand flats to predominantly pelagic bream. The upper reaches of the rivers hold good resident populations as well, but the true attraction is the big bream on the flats. There is an excellent dual lane ramp in the main town, which also has accommodation and basic facilities.

Ansons Bay

Anson’s Bay is about a 60 minute drive north from St Helens and is a very diverse fishery. It has vast sand flats and weed edges along the shores of the bay itself, and these give way to the rocky and snag-ridden banks of the majestic river upstream. Bream sizes are more varied in this waterway, and respond to deep and shallow presentations. Although I have encountered my largest bream in the bay itself, my favourite is the snag fishing upstream where the feature is white-knuckle battles with beautiful bronze bream amongst the timber and rocks.

The journey from St Helens is always the most painful with rough, corrugated and unsealed surface for most of the way being very unkind to any unmaintained trailers! This probably does a lot to protect the fishery though. Ansons has a great concrete ramp, and also basic camping facilities.

Derwent River

Easily the most well known bream fishery in Tasmania, the Derwent is a big and impressive river that offers a wide variety of structure. The real feature is the shallow water lure fishing along the many shores and bays littered right along the river. It also offers excellent scope for land-based bream fishing as well. Regular by-catch of both sea-run and resident brown trout don’t do any harm to the fishing either.

As a bream lure fishing tragic, the appeal of the Derwent’s bream is in the way that they eat your lure on the pause. Sometimes it takes five or even ten seconds or more, but when they commit the take is totally addictive. Consequently lures that imitate the local bait and forage fish populations are most effective

I’ve never counted them, but there are heaps of different boat ramps right along the both sides of the river, and the best part about that is, you can choose your location to launch based on the prevailing weather.

Southport

Southport estuary lies at the outflow of the Lune River and is a truly remote location. This amazing place was unknown to me until a couple of years ago and is an awesome fishery. Although in more recent times I have found the bream a little harder to fool, it’s worth the drive down there just so you can have dinner at the pub! The meals are awesome.

I’m no expert on this location, or any of the others mentioned previously for that matter, but the most rewarding feature is the flats fishing throughout the system. Southport bream are suckers for a paused lure on the flats and are pretty partial to a well-presented surface lure as well. They also fight very hard in the strong current and seem to come out of nowhere to eat your lure at times.

The estuary has a ripper two lane ramp that services the local professional fishing fleet, and some of the best flats in the system are only a cast away from the ramp. There is both camping and motel accommodation available behind the pub.

Here’s hoping that my experience can help you on your trip to tangle with Tasmania’s fantastic black bream. While the basics and characteristics remain largely the same, there’s a special ingredient added to the bream fishing in Tassie, and it’s completely addictive! And don’t forget to make sure you catch a few trout on your trip as well.

Steve Steer holds another 46.5 fork length cracker taken on a shallow Cranka minnow

Some don't even fit on the fish ruler!!

These 2 were one of 9 fish pulled from the same rock bar on a recent trip!!

Be sure to rug up in the highlands, even during the summer months!

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