SBT jumbo hunt continues into July
  |  First Published: July 2013

Tasmania’s Bluewater fishing season continues to surprise.

Not only did we have massive SBT arrive and make the two Hippolyte Rocks home for some months, the schoolies turned up finally. Anglers that travelled out to the shelf last month were pleasantly rewarded with late season albacore and school-sized blues. The reports led to more people trying their hand out on the shelf when traditionally it was seen as a waste of time.

This leads me to my next point.

Those anglers that are keen and have a good supply of thermal underwear can do very well in July; it’s just a matter of being out there and exploring. Yes it can be bitterly cold in the morning, and a great excuse to own some fingerless gloves, but if you pick the weather it can be glorious.

In July you can be excused for a little bit later start. Wait for the sun to crest the horizon, pop the boat in and bathe in it while you troll to your favourite bottom fishing spot. If you do not see any feeding birds or other promising activity and weather permits, have a bottom fish.

If the fishing is a bit slow I like to have a bit of a play with the sounder. These days the power of the units we have on our boats are amazing. Most of us tend to underutilise them to a fair degree. Take the manual out with you, have a read and get into a button-pressing frenzy. My advice is to turn the button beeps off first or you may have some of the crew winging. Once you have a sound knowledge of how the unit works you can be finding awesome marks and not having to rely on other peoples.

Listening to the footy and having a bottom fish is a glorious way to spend a winter day, but if the weather cracks a touch it may be time to drag a few lures. Look for any signs of surface feeding fish, but if there are none about make a plan. When we are on the search we like to put a course down that has us cover a bit of ground. Head in one direction and stick a course for a good while.

Skipper is in charge of everything from his ears and forward. First mate is in charge of spotting anything behind the skipper’s head and the deckie is responsible for the lure spread and clearing weed and so on. Once you have made a run in that direction turn 90 and do a short run then 90 again and back up the way you came. This allows covering a good area with keen eyes and hopefully finding some fish. If things are a bit slow rotate through the roles to keep the interest up.

The jumbo fishing this season has been spectacular. Locals and mainlanders alike have all enjoyed an impressive number of 80kg plus fish. They have been tricky to catch even as they teasingly bust out of the water everywhere. There have been a number of anglers scratching their heads and throwing their hands in the air.

Try not to get trapped with the old adage of ‘big lures, big fish’ in this instance. Unless you are trying to mimic squid, keep the lures close to 15cm in length with pushers. The jumbos are smashing the same bait the schoolies feed on and at the minute those bait are between 10-15cm long. Trying to run skirts and deep divers at the same time will not do your deep divers justice. Sure they will take the speed but their action and depth capabilities suffer at skirt speed.

Have a think about leader size as it can be beneficial to down-size if possible.

Don’t think Tasmanian game fishing has shut down in July. Explore new ground, educate yourself on the systems you have to find fish and get tight on some fish!

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