A little ray of sunshine
  |  First Published: November 2013

The weather has started to play the game in Tasmania. The daylight hours are stretching out to around 14, and when the sun is out, the temperature is peaking to an average of 19ºC. Okay, so it’s not quite Florida, but given the weather we have had it’s a start!

So here it comes, game fishing season 2014 is marching ever closer. It is still way too early to target a big mako or tuna of any species, but there are some things to keep in mind.

Striped trumpeter season is back open and the crayfish season starts in November. These are fine reasons to knock the cobwebs off the ‘pride and joy’ and put her in the water. Most boats will have had a fairly idle time over the winter, so a gentle sneak about for a stripey, or soak a pot to catch a few crayfish is a great idea. This can allow any issues that might arise from an out of the blue electrical problem or mechanical gremlin to be found, sorted and fixed before the season proper.

If you have not been out for a while you will be super keen and rushing to get out amongst them. Much better to take your time and make sure you have everything and, if you have some new crew members, work through the checklist.

On the water at last

Getting out and searching for a spot to smash some fresh baits in close is the first port of call. Jig for some squid, as with any reef dwelling species squid are the first go-to fresh bait. Once you have a few squid for bait, and some for a feed, motor out to your desired spot.

The desired spot will be around 70-100m and have a reefy bottom. This will be a good start, but you can fish right out to 300m when searching for bigger units. The key is not to get too fussy when looking for suitable reef. Without the luxury of some proven sounder marks it will be a case of drop and explore. If your bait is fresh and looking good you should have an enquiry in 10 minutes or so. If not, haul up and look for another spot.

While idling about scouring the sounder look for depth transition of any kind: edges, holes, drop-off or pinnacles. Like any other reef species these are the formations where they lie in wait or are resting out of the currents. Get a nicely presented squid tentacle or triangle hood near these and you should be good to go.

If you would like to stay away from those nasty red spikey mongrels, the dreaded gurnard, wind up a couple of turns when you get a sense your sinker has hit the bottom. As you know getting spiked by one of these bug-eyed monsters is not,going to be some of your best work.

If you have a good pair of gloves and get stuck for fresh bait, fillets of gurnard are a reasonable option. But my advice would be to stay well clear.

Found em!

You will know if you have found a patch of striped trumpeter because they are not shy at gulping down your wonderfully presented bait and heading for home. They put up a good tussle and if you are using multiple hook rigs, three fish at a time is not uncommon.

If on a search mission, a large soft plastic like Berkleys Gulp 6.5 Nemesis on the top hook banging away can work to good effect. These are an Australian design and have a big ribbon tail that attracts a lot of attention.

The wind will more often pick up as the day wears on and this is the signal to head back inshore with your bag of striped trumpeter, and check the cray pots you left to soak while you were out bottom bashing. With that stiff breeze, and a bit of luck, you may find a couple of good size red legs and have the makings of a seafood banquet.

The very best thing you can possibly do as the season rolls closer is get into your local tackle store and make a connection. The owners and staff are very well informed and love making sure you are on the right track with some relevant and area specific information.

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