It’s a tough gig to write about saltwater fishing in Tasmania during July, as it the most unproductive month in our waters – however the fishing is still good for those prepared to put the effort in.
July is a cold, wet and often windy month and with cool water temperatures and with an influx of freshwater, the saltwater fishing can be less than inspirational. However the Channel fortunately is a 12 month fishery: besides the sometimes poor water clarity due to snow melt and rain, the fishing is productive overall. Bait anglers will have the most success with fish mostly inactive except those on the bottom. A berley trail consisting of mussels, fish pieces, tuna oil and bread anglers will attract flathead, juvenile Australian salmon, cod, mullet, mackerel and the occasional blue warehou (snotty trevally).
Shore-based anglers will do best to fish from local jetties scattered throughout the channel including Margate wharf, Gordon and Woodbridge. Boat anglers will do best to use a depth sounder concentrating on drop-offs and structures with the area containing numerous reefs.
The cool still nights offer some very productive spear fishing after dark (wading or from a small boat). This traditional Tasmanian method gives up larger than average garfish, flathead and of course the main target species – flounder. For those preferring to use more sporting tactics, Atlantic salmon and sea run trout are the two most worthwhile target species at this time. Saltwater fly, spoon style lures, soft plastics and slow spinning local bait called pretty fish (hardiheads) are the most productive methods. The sea run trout are natural recruiting fish that can be caught on baitfish patterns such as galaxids and whitebait.
Through human error and natural events, numerous Atlantic salmon escape throughout the channel. During winter when the water temperature is cooler it is rumoured the prime conditioned fish don’t venture too far from the cages which they escaped from, with anglers best to concentrate on area such as Waterloo, Esperance River and the numerous bays of Bruny Island. Sea trout enthusiasts will do best to target fish around Castle Forbes Bay and Wattle grove at the mouth of the Huon River.
Between the cold blustery days of July is the occasional cold and calm day. If you can manage to pick this weather pattern with a day with minimal tidal movement and you will have the perfect deep sea bottom bouncing conditions. Tasmania’s coastline especially the southeast offers some of the best cool water fishing in Australia with the well renowned striped trumpeter topping the list as the trophy species. Other bottom sought after, dwelling species are morwong perch, flathead, gurnard and wrasse. All the above-mentioned species are best targeted with over sized paternoster rigs fished on braid. Recommended baits are squid, striped tuna and pilchards.
For those that enjoy some light tackle sport the large barracouta that frequent the Tasman Peninsula offer superb sport on light weight fly rods or 4-6lb spinning gear. For those prepared to venture wide off the coast Pedra Branca also offers southern bluefin tuna to 110kg. The same area also being home to a large number of striped trumpeter.
Anglers chasing tuna of this size and class need specialised gear with 24kg and 37kg outfits the norm. Fish will take traditional trolled skirts and in calm weather deep divers including the popular Mack Baits.Reads: 988