Cold offshore, but hope springs eternal
  |  First Published: August 2013

We have broken this winter’s back, battled through June with its short daylight hours and persevered through the cold of July.

August, while not quite spring, gives us hope that there is still a sun. What can we do in Tasmania in our boats, in August?

Tasmania has at its seaward boundaries some of the best eating fish species known to the planet.

Striped trumpeter, blue eye trevalla, rays bream, pink ling, hapuka and dory. They are all very good on the chew, and once you get a feel for where they lurk, not too difficult to target.

Electric reels are gaining a lot of popularity and there are a great number on the market. We have two from Miya Epoch once the depth gets a bit much to handle on conventional reels. That depth seems to shrink the older we get. Now days, if we are over 100m the grizzles start and boom, outcome the electrics.

Like all bottom fishing it’s all about finding good bottom for species and holding that bottom. Good electronics play a massive part in a successful day’s bottom fishing. If you do not have the luxury of some generous person’s proven marks, then you will have to find your own. If you are looking to fish deep a 600w transducer will have you seeing a good bottom echo around 400-450m. Over that and you will start to loose bottom and the echo will not be strong enough to pick up detail.

Once you want to start searching the bottom over 450m a 1KW transducer will quickly find favour on your Christmas list. Marry these transducers to a good head unit and you will have the tools at hand to find great bottom and fish holding on that bottom. We have a Lowrance unit and find it easy to use and trouble free.


The first species on the menu should be striped trumpeter. Striped trumpeter are a big, yellowish-green fish with long stripes along the upper half of their body. Big ones can get out past 800mm and are reported to grow to 1.2m. Fish of that size would be about 25kg and have lived for around 30 years.

These delicious fish can be found anywhere between 50-200m. Some of the best stripy grounds we visit are around 100m. Earlier this year on a calm day off Pedra Branca we were lucky enough to find some good specimens in 45m.

Beyond 200m is where you should be looking for blue eye trevalla and the good news is while trying to find them you will encounter all the other species. Rays bream and pink ling will be found in those depths. Blue eye can grow to 1.4m in length and over 50kg in weight. Smaller fish form schools over hard bottom at depths of around 350-450m, moving to deeper waters as they grow. This is where a drop line is of good use if you do not have access to electric fishing reels. On a good day out off the shelf a drop line allows you to fish the depths while trolling around looking for a late season tuna.

Rays bream will be found in mid-water as well as off the bottom. Often on a deep cliff if you spot a cloud on your sounder well off the bottom it will be Rays bream. These are a strange looking fish, as they all are from the deep. They look a little like a big piranha; silver and purple when alive and out of the water: gain fabulous eating.


Once again in any of our fishing exploits the weather plays a big factor in success. If not favourable, wind and current will be the biggest hurdle to overcome when bottom fishing.

Wind can get up and there will be a need to deploy the sea anchor to maintain position over the bottom. If conditions worsen you can negate their effects by carefully backing down in the opposite direction of your drift. This keeps you holding bottom and keeping lines more up and down. This can be a bit of a knack and will become easy after a while. Crew can work together with skipper providing feedback as you do this.

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