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Tasmanian Sharks

by Carl Hyland 30 Dec 2017 18:56 UTC
Lochie Miller with a Tasman Peninsula Mako © Carl Hyland

Being an Island state and surrounded by cool water, one would be forgiven for thinking Tasmania would be too close to Antarctica to play host too many species of sharks, but if the truth be known, Tassie has one of the most prolific populations of sharks anywhere in the world.

What this means is that humans are in close contact with species such as Great Whites and Makos almost as an everyday occurrence. What it also means is that the fishing for sharks is often nothing short of spectacular. As an angler who targets minor species such as gummy shark and school sharks, I am often surprised at the quantity and size of the fish taken from our shorelines. Tasmanian sharks are known estuary visitors, in fact many estuaries such as the two major rivers, The Derwent and The Tamar are designated shark nurseries, but it wasn't always that way.

Hobart Town was built on the back of a very vibrant whaling industry as Southern Right Whales were regular visitors to our shores. Many whales were bought into estuaries by harpooners in the late 1800's and flensing and trying works attracted many species of sharks, not only Great Whites but also the minor species such as seven gillers and blue sharks. This in turn led to many shark attacks in those estuaries and also around the many areas of the state not only where whaling took place but in latter years, abalone diving and other recreational activities.

Whilst there are many books published on the subject of shark attacks in and around Tasmania (one such excellent publications is White Pointer South by Chris Black) Wellington Bridge Press Hobart, more reports and information is forthcoming all the time. Personally speaking, I have had great success as not only a land based angler but also from my 5.3 metre Monark using not only rod and line but also set lines of 30 hooks which are permitted under license here in Tasmania.

As I've mentioned in previous writings, Mako shark fishing is a popular game fishing activity in the state in the warmer southern months and as I write this, Mako shark fishing methods are under review by the government department responsible and any outcomes will be announce. I'll certainly let you know of any developments. Currently, bag limits for mako are 2 fish per angler per day which many consider to be too high.

Land based shark fishing whether it is from rocks or beach is a popular activity also and big sloppy baits or live baits are the go. Of a dark night, traces are essential plus good footwear and a sturdy light source. There is nothing worse than having a large shark at your feet in a surf zone and the light goes out. Our group have tremendous success off the beach with rod and line and in many case, we swim our fish to catch again. I am in the process of putting together a beach video on shark fishing (Tasmania) so look out for that in the months to come.

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