Tournament Angler And Tackle Industry Identity
Steve is well known and respected on the bream tournament scene with plenty of good results and podium appearances under his belt. He’s also the founder of Australian tackle company Cranka Lures, which produces excellent lures for many Australian species, but is particularly well known for bringing some deadly bream lures to the Aussie marketplace. Of course, when he’s not targeting bream, Steve takes advantage of the exceptional trout fishing opportunities on his doorstep.
Steve’s Top Trout Fishing Tips
- The Meander and the Mersey are the two predominant river systems in Northern Tasmania, although the Tamar estuary and its feeder rivers the North and South Esk are all good trout fisheries. In fact, the myriad of small feeder streams creeks all hold fish too, so there’s no shortage river fishing around.
- In spring the rivers can be hard to fish due to high water levels and fast flow, but as the season progresses, they get easier to fish.
- The lakes tend to be more challenging to consistently catch trout in than the rivers but in spring the weed growth starts and the fish tend to follow the weed growth – so fishing around the weed margins with hard bodies or soft plastics.
- During spring as the weather warms the lowland lakes like the Huntsman and Brushy Lagoon start to fish well (the highland lakes can fish well too but are very crisp and cold).
- The trout fishing is best when you have 10-15 knots of wind. If it’s too blowy the lakes can become dangerous, but if it’s too still the fish become skittish and it can be hard to tempt them.
- Even in lakes, trout love flow. They will position themselves based on the wind, so check what the wind has been doing for the past few days as it will tell you where the trout are most likely to be. Casting into the wind means you bring the lure from in front, while casting with the wind brings the lures up behind the fish and often spooks them.
- Look for points, weedbeds or structure that extend into the lake and the fish will be sitting either on the front side where the wind is striking it, or just behind structure in the lee of the wind.
- When land-based, look for places where you can cast across the wind and work lures along the edges of weedbeds or other structure. Likewise, when boat based, try to create a situation where the boat drifts along the bank and you’re able to shoot casts out across the wind to likely pieces of structure. This keeps the lure in front of the fish, not behind it.
- If the fishing is tough, try the opposite and the extremes. Either try a very fast, ripping style retrieve with lots of action to create a reaction strike. Or go super slow, super smooth with long hang times and slowly worked lures.
Steve’s Trout Fishing Tackle
- A sensitive 1-3 or 2-4kg rod with 4lb Fireline or similar braided Dyneema style line and a rod’s length of 5lb fluorocarbon leader (downgrade this to 3lb for crystal clear water).
Steve’s Trout Fishing Lures For N Tasmania
- A 50-100 mm hard bodied suspending crankbait is an important style lure for Tassie trout fishermen for imitating galaxias minnows. Cranka Lures has a 59mm lure that works well for this and Steve prefers a gold coloured lure with black markings, a red gill plate and an orange underbelly with UV pigment. This lure is deadly under most conditions when lake fishing for trout, cast tight to shore, rocks, timber or other structures and fished with a draw, pause, draw action as soon as the lure hits the water.
- A damselfly/mudeye nymph style soft plastic is deadly in the right conditions, Stever prefers the Lunker City Hellgies in 1.5” and 3”, especially the 3”, which he trims down just above the point where there are 3 legs on each side. He rigs this lure on a size 4 jig head with a 1/24 or 1/16” weight, the lightest he can get away with on the day. With the jig head painted in nail polish to match the colour of the lure, this is a great option when it’s very still and the fishing is tough as it can be worked aggressively over the weed, keeping the rod tip low on a constant retrieve, with quick jabs of the rod tip. Keep the lure just above the weed and expect that fish will smash this lure hard. A second lure can be added off a short dropper off the front lure for extra chances.
- A 3” Berkley Powerbait Bass Minnow soft plastic in pearl watermelon, pearl emerald, pearl shiner colours or a 3” black and gold T-Tail on a 1/16oz size 1 or size 2 jig head is a good choice for weedbeds or deep weed edges, especially at the start of the season while the water is still warming. Cats as far as possible, let the lure sink to the bottom and fish it parallel to the weed with a long sweeps and drops, keeping in touch with the lure as it drops. Quite often the trout will injure the baitfish before coming back to eat them, and it you strike at the first sign of a line twitch you’ll miss them. When there’s the slightest ‘tick’ on the line immediately stop retrieving, let the lure drop to the bottom, wait a few seconds and then lift. Usually fish will hit it on the lift.
Steve’s Cranka Lures business is iconic in the tackle industry and stems from his lure making and tackle tinkering obsession that started at age 12. Cranka now produce a wide range of lures for a wide range of Aussie species, with many models recognised as essential items in the bream fishers kit.