May brings many species
  |  First Published: April 2010

Tuna season has come on strong of late as quality schools of southern bluefin tuna visit most of the popular spots about the southeast.

Game anglers are landing plenty of SBTs in the 30-40kg range as well as the odd large fish around the magic 100kg mark. Boat traffic has been very busy at some locations when the fish are about. This can discourage tuna from taking surface style lures and anglers running diving lures like Rapala X-Rap Mag 20s and 30s or Macs Baits have done well when boat traffic is busiest.

Standard presentations of 6” jet head or pusher head skirts with brown, pink, chartreuse and black base colours are always good choices in a spread of lures. This month should see the bluefin scene providing the world class action it’s famous for. Given the solid numbers of fish around throughout April, May should see some big catches when the weather allows.

Striped Tuna

Striped tuna have also been in the local fishing news. Schools have recently popped up very close to shore around South Arm, Taroona and the North West Bay area. Land-based anglers and small craft enthusiasts have both had a ball tangling with these hard fighting little speedsters on light gear.

Simple silver slice metal lures and even baitfish like soft plastics have accounted for many fish. While not a great table fish, striped tuna fillets make great bait when salted down and cured to be cut into strip baits.

Yellowtail Kingfish

Many anglers continue to pursue the schools about the Tasman Peninsula. Kingies in the 1-4kg range are the average run of fish. Trolled jig rigged plastics have been the gun method of late. Berkley 5-7” jerkbaits rigged on 3/0, 4/0 or 6/0 jigs are doing the damage as these lures work well as search baits when trolled. Careful use of a sounder to locate the kingfish has also been the key to getting amongst of few hard fighting rats.

Good catches of between 10 to 20 fish per session have been the norm for those that are targeting these fish with gear suited to the lures they prefer. Medium weight 7’graphite spin sticks loaded with 20lb braid and a similar leader are ideal for both trolling and casting bigger soft and hard lures to kingfish.

Once the kingies are trolled up and a fish is being fought, other anglers can cast lures such as knife jigs in the 100g range and large minnow lures into the fray. Fingers crossed that the schools hang around for this month as the kingies have been a highlight of the year for many local anglers.

Australian salmon

Larger than average Australian salmon have turned up in sizeable schools around the lower Derwent headlands. Rosny Point and Bellerive Bluff are both a good chance of some torrid salmon sessions on incoming tides. A very strong baitfish presence around the lower estuary has encouraged the big salmon to move in for an easy feed.

Salmon, barracouta, bream and sea trout are all very fixated on the baitfish at the moment. This is particularly good news for shore-based Hobart anglers that can expect some good mixed bags during May.

Jig rigged plastics, minnows style hardbodies and metal spoons will all do well when targeting these fish feeders.

May Trout

With the regular trout season on hold right now, local trouters have the options of fishing Craigbourne Dam, Meadowbank Lake and also the lower Derwent. There is always a resurgence of sea trout action at this time of year, as pre spawn groupings inhabit the estuary in growing numbers.

Incoming tides in the early morning are a great time to look for a few marauding sea or resident trout. Once a few fish have been sighted, they can be targeted over the following days, as they seem to hang around good patches of bait and feed on them regularly.

Good minnow lures for trout are Ecogear MW 62 and 72f, Rapala X-Rap 6cm and Lucky Craft Flash Minnow 65. Late in the run-out tide can also be a good time to pick of a few sea trout that tend to fall back onto drop-offs and ledges once the water recedes. Spoons and soft plastics are both suited to fishing these deeper lies during the run-out.


April has been superb for our local bream. Last season May was a corker month and given the lateness of our summer this year, we can expect continued quality angling for the big Derwent blue noses.

I’ve found the shore angling to be particularly good of late. Bream are feeding hard up in the edges for baitfish like most other species in the lower river. Wading the shallow headlands or points and looking for bait schools is a sure fire way to locate aggressively feeding bream right now.

Casting beyond the huddled bait and working your lure into the spraying mass definitely gets the interest of the hunting bream. Then a couple of flicks followed by a long pause is usually enough to elicit a strike if there’s a bream about.

Soft plastics also tend to work well as the water temperatures start to fall. Slower and more timid bites will be more common during May. A 1/8oz 1/0 jig tends to be the more useful of jigs for most soft bait work about the Derwent. Stickbait and worm pattern plastics are both successful patterns for the river. Slow lift and pause retrieves over depth changes, reefs and near bridge pylons always go well.

I recently tried out the new Ecogear Aqua biodegradable softbaits. The blend of amino acids and attractants used in making the new baits seem to work very well. My first cast using the Ecogear Aqua was smashed by a fat 38cm bridge dwelling bream. I can’t wait for the new patterns available later in the year.

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