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Fishing Tasmania with Fishcakes

by Carl Hyland 19 Oct 22:06 UTC
Jason Hales with Fishcake caught brown trout. © Carl Hyland

I've touched on the use of Fishcakes before and whilst many think that these are something you purchase from a fish and chip shop, they are an awesome bit of tackle that can be used to help you get amongst some big fish.

Originally manufactured in the United States, Fishcakes are now being made in Tasmania and I'm one of the guys who have been producing these for over 33 years. Mine are made from Huon Pine and have two propellers whereas most are only single handmade metal props. A plug of wood with a metal propeller that imitates a mouse or a frog when retrieved you would think would hardly be a productive weapon, but let me assure you, the Fishcake has accounted for many big fish. As a trout lure, it is second to none for the big trout, which hardly move unless the morsel is tempting, attack the lure with great gusto. The best method to use a fishcake is to pick as dark a night as possible and don't use a torch, as refracted light can scare off any big fish that may be lurking.

A headlamp is also a necessary tool. Spin the lure alongside bulrushes, or under willows and I know this is hard as you are working by estimation only. Let the lure sit once it hits the water and think like a mouse. You have just fallen in and you will want to get out of there quick smart as you are in the danger zone. Twitch the lure, and then begin a slow retrieve with intermittent sharp surges. You need to get that propeller turning, so that is a sound imitating a mouse of a frog swimming and listen for that 'plop-plop' sound. Most attacks are like the great white shark attacks you see on television, they come from underneath usually and sometimes the fish will miss, so let the lure sit, and then begin your retrieve again.

As the lure nears your feet, you will sometimes have a massive strike, for the fish will follow the lure right to the bank, then decide the prey is getting away and hit it hard, so explosive takes can occur bankside. Fishcake fishing is not for the faint hearted as it takes skill to launch a lure into the pitch black and usually in skinny water also, but the results are so worth it, with often double figure fish being landed. I can recommend the black lure with red dots, as this seems to be the most popular amongst fish and anglers alike. Plastic fishcakes are okay, but you can't get that necessary noise and action like you can with a wooden plug and metal propeller. Most deep, dark waters are suitable for Fish caking, however don't discount small, skinny streams as some of these hold huge fish and as I indicated earlier, these fish don't get big by being stupid. They only move for morsels that are worthwhile expending energy of, such as mice, lizards, baby birds etc. For some excellent video viewing I can recommend a video called Once in a Blue Moon which is produced in New Zealand but highlights the fact that big, wily trout only move for big baits.

For more information on Fishcake caught fish can be found at or on the Fishtas forum

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