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EAGLEHAWK NECK

South Eastern TAS

While best known in Australian and international angling circles for the superlative calibre of its trout fishing, the island state of Tasmania also offers some truly exceptional offshore, deep sea and game fishing opportunities. Eaglehawk Neck, in the State’s south east corner, boasts Tasmania’s longest and richest bluewater fishing tradition, and no doubt deserves the oft-quoted title of the Apple Isle’s game and sport fishing capital.

Wayne Turale with a southern bluefin tuna caught south of Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania.

“For those with less lofty piscatorial ambitions, the very same (and often very rough!) southern waters are also thick with striped trumpeter, morwong, flathead, gurnard perch and big calamari ”

Starlo with a typical school-sized southern bluefin tuna taken close to the rugged rocks of Tasman Island.
Trolling for tuna near Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania. © Fishotopia
A school-size bluefin tuna comes to the gaff off Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania.
Coastline near Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania.
Wayne Turale battles a southern bluefin tuna off Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania.
A narrow bridge of land on the spectacular and ruggedly beautiful Tasman Peninsula south east of Hobart, Eaglehawk Neck is an absolute Mecca for anglers, with a rich history of big southern bluefin tuna and shark captures, as well as the odd striped marlin and plenty of albacore. These days, the highly-prized broadbill swordfish can also be added to that prestigious target list, with daytime “deep-dropping” of squid and fish baits producing an excellent strike rate on these sought-after gladiators of the abyss.

For those with less lofty piscatorial ambitions, the very same (and often very rough!) southern waters are also thick with striped trumpeter, morwong, flathead, gurnard perch and big calamari squid. As a bonus, the dramatic, wave-pounded coastal seascapes that frame these waters are some of the most striking you’re likely to experience anywhere on earth. I’d go so far as to say that visiting the Apple Isle and skipping the amazing Tasman Peninsula is like going to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower! Seriously, put it on your bucket list right now.

As already mentioned, while it has long known as the home of big (and seasonally abundant) southern bluefin tuna, albacore and mako sharks — as well as surprising numbers of striped marlin in some years — this gob-smacking south eastern corner of the Apple Isle can now also proudly list itself as one of the globe’s most consistently reliable destinations for the highest-rated of all billfish: the mighty broadbill swordfish.

Daytime “deep dropping” with big baits out beyond the edge of the continental shelf (which is relatively narrow here) has revolutionized sword-fishing all over the world, but in few other locations has this technique proven to be quite so revolutionary as on the east coast of Tasmania. Over the course of just a handful of seasons, swordfish have gone from being an almost mythical dream catch in Tassie (or anywhere else in Australia, for that matter) to a regular and achievable target, especially for more committed blue water anglers. Hundreds of these gladiators of the deep have now been hooked and scores landed (with a good number tagged and released), including a few leviathans up around and even in excess of the magic 300 kg mark. Along the way, the record books have been completely re-written. In fact, it seems only a matter of time before some lucky angler cracks a genuine broad-sworded “grander” (1,000-pound fish) in Tasmania’s cool, southern seas. Make no mistake: such giants are definitely out there, swimming in the gloomy depths!

Regardless of your personal piscatorial goals, Eaglehawk Neck is one of those places you’ll find hard to visit just once. It has a way of getting under your skin and calling you back… again and again!

Force 10 Fishing Charters, Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania.Whether your ambitions run to locking horns with one of the leviathans swimming here, or you’re happy to simply catch a few “schoolie” sized bluefin tuna and albacore while trolling between trumpeter spots, Eaglehawk Neck is a must-visit destination. You can tow your own trailer boat and launch it at the excellent, multi-lane boat ramp in Pirates Bay, or avail yourself of the services of one of the areas professional charter outfits. I highly recommend Force 10 Charters, who can be reached by calling 0407 012 000.
There are plenty of great places to stay in and around Eaglehawk Neck (which is only a little over an hour’s drive from the outskirts of Hobart), but the seaside Lufra Hotel and Apartments are justifiably popular with visiting anglers. You can contact the Lufra by calling (03) 6250 3262.
The launching ramp at Pirates Bay, Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania.
Late afternoon on Pirates Bay, Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania.
Coastline near Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania.

GETTING THERE

The thin strip of land known simply as “The Neck” or Eaglehawk Neck connects the rugged Tasman Peninsula to the Forestier Peninsula. This isthmus of land is about 400 metres long and less than 30 metres wide at its narrowest point. Pirates Bay and Eaglehawk Neck lie just over an hour’s drive from Hobart via the town of Dunalley, along highways C334, A9 and C338. Be sure to stop at the well-marked lookout a few kilometres before The Neck to take in the magnificent vista, and also at the sign-posted Tessellated Pavement feature to view the unique coastal rock formations. The infamous historical site of Port Arthur lies further south on Tasman Peninsula. During port Arthur’s convict period, The Neck was heavilly guarded by soldiers and dogs, acting as an effective barrier to escape by land.

EAGLEHAWK NECK

Eaglehawk Neck

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