Hooch’s Complete Guide To Fishing Tasmania Over Summer – Part 2

Summer days mean more boats on the water and more people looking to find something of interest. More eyes scouring the water surface for a bird feed or dolphins with some bait bailed up. These things will give January a real good chance of being the month the Albacore turn up. Generally a little bit later than usual, but with and Amberjack. With amberjack turning up and being caught on the East Coast at Anson’s Bay in November Tasmania can offer some stunning fishing over summer as Hooch explains here.

I am going to stick my neck out and make a big call. The added interest in game fishing currently and with all the exciting captures of last year I am going to call game fishing season 2016 as an absolute belter. The Broadbill Swords will be right on people’s minds and with some holiday leave and a bit of time on the water expect to see some captures late December. Mako sharks will be what it’s all about of shore right now. hooch5  


You have seen a lot written about mako shark fishing and I have shared some details before on these pages. The new season is coming and I thought I might pair it down and make it simple for all to understand. Tasmania is very lucky to have a great mako shark fishery and to keep it we must only take what we can eat and look at tagging or just simply release after a few photos. This will be a simple over view but buy following will hold you in good stead to come across something to dance with within a few trips.

It’s a must. It’s a cornerstone of attracting a shark to your boat. You will have a heap of people that say they have some good marks for mako. Not crucial. What is crucial is the amount of burley and the quality of it. hooch 1   Put simply if you had enough burley and the time you could get a shark up to the tail race in the Tamar… Maybe. 
You can purchase burley from tackle stores or you can make your own. Some people get right into it and build all sorts of wang fangled burley making machines. The other option is to have some whole fish like salmon and striped tuna kept from previous trips and frozen in the freezer. Take them out the night before and have them soft enough to break down by hand on the bait board and cut up into the finest cubes. You will find that the resultant goop and cubes you have made will be a great start. hooch 2


This is hard work and is probably reason why the processed stuff you can buy is a popular choice. Any combination of these can be used as you will need a lot burley to put together a decent trail. Do not also forget the tried and true method of the manual burley pot on the back of the transom.

The amount of burley you will need will depend on where you decide to try your luck. I say luck , as with any fishing there is a fair degree involved in mako fishing. Sure you could be lucky enough to pull up on one’s head and see one at the back of the boat but this is uncommon. It is usually quite exciting when this happens though. You normally have the head down readying burley pots and getting some oil and cubes in the water. Tying off ropes and sorting rods, look up and bugger me !
This is when you need to have a neat and tidy boat as I will explain later.


In Bass Straight it can be a longer wait time than the East coast or down the South East. 6 hours’ worth of burly is a rough guide for the Straight and 4 hours on the shelf. If it is a good drift and the conditions are favourable my bottom lip will start to drag after 3 hours in the straight and if we haven’t seen something in the trail on the shelf in 2 hours I am having a sook.
Get your burley over the side and start the process. Your chosen burly option should be going out nice and steady and on occasion drop a few cubes over. Fish oil is often used and is a good option and has the added bonus of showing how your trail is going. Soaking fish pieces and a bucket off chook pellets make a great medium for pulling the oil down through the water column as they sink. Now you can ready the gear and be set should a mako turn up. hooch 4  


How many baits should you put out you ask? Well this can be nearly as big a discussion as what dual cab to buy !!! Some will say 3 baits out, some will say one on a balloon and others will want to wait to see the shark at the back of the boat and then decide what to throw at it. All very valid options given the personal circumstances. Let’s just say I am talking about a 3 people (I will explain why 3 soon) who have not caught a mako before and are very keen to harvest one for food. In this case put out two baits. Put a whole squid or a big fillet out the back on a trace and where you have attached the trace to your main line tie a balloon. Feed this out the back of your boat about 40 m and set up another. This bait can be the same only attach a 4oz snapper sinker via rubber band and drop down 30m. To get that sorted sit the rod in a rod holder with the tension off the reel and pull line from the rod tip and out across your body at arm’s length 30 times.

A Tidy Boat For Safe Fishing

That will be close enough. Should a mako be super aggressive and swim straight up to the stern of the boat, clear the deep set line first. Leave the balloon out the back as he may circle back and pick that one up as you are clearing the other. 

Now we are at the stage where I can stress having a tidy and well laid out boat. Shark fishing is exciting and when it all starts to happen it happens in a hurry. By having all the gear you are going to need close at hand yet stored neatly you are going to avoid bust offs and also possible injury. You are going to have burley bucket and nets coming back over the side, rods being stowed and gaffs being ready. No one wants to be treading on ropes and tripping over stuff while trying to set the hooks in a mako to find a gaff slapped up the side of the head. Sorta not cool.

Hooch’s Tassie Special Will Continue On Kaydo Next Week!

  hooch 6  
Kelly Hunt

About Kelly Hunt

Kelly “Hooch” Hunt grew up on the North West coast of Tasmania, right on the river FORTH. Spending many hours on its banks chasing trout, at the estuary chasing salmon or knee deep at night floundering. It’s just what you did, nothing special. What is special and why Kelly has fished all his life is the friendships and adventures fishing has delivered. The life skills and amazing moments along with gut splitting belly laughs can all be attributed to his fishing exploits. The adventures now days are often offshore chasing mako shark, marlin and tuna as a member of Team PENN. Game fishing has been a massive part of what Hooch has been involved in recently and he puts this down to a trip as a teenager to Hervey Bay. The Hervey Bay pier was his playground for 2 weeks and the trout fishing took a serious back step. The lad’s eye’s where opened to a world of hard charging salty critters and he was hooked deep. Hooch is passionate and enthusiastic about his home state of Tasmania and the life skills that the outdoors and fishing have bestowed him. Family and community engagement is very close to his heart and with four kids of his own has his own little community. Developing fishing events that deliver benefit to regional coastal towns is a something he loves to do. Never is he ever likely to profess to be an expert or know everything about any one thing, however his general knowledge on boating and fishing is generous. So too is his willingness to share that knowledge. Recognising his down to earth approach and nothing’s a problem attitude Navico Australia and PENN reels Australia put Hooch to work as a national brand Ambassador. He also enjoys generous support from BRP Australia and Surtees Boats New Zealand. Kelly writes for several print magazines and contributes to a number of national blog pages, holds down a spot on radio’s Geelong Fishing Show and speaks at tackle nights when ever asked. Sharing stories, successes and failures with the same outgoing and extroverted manner that generally keeps all amused. He was also part of the crew that fought a fish for 20 hours only to have it break the line. If we ask and the scars have healed he may share that epic tale as well.


Previous Land Based Game Fishing: The Catwalk, 1770
Next Land Based Sports Fishing

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