Commonly referred to as Herring!
The Australian herring would have to be one of the most popular angling species in southern Australia drawing anglers of all ages and sizes to our cooler coastlines every year. They are spirited little fighters when hooked on light tackle and are also considered to be reasonably good eating and full of healthy omega three oils. The humble Australian herring would have to be the most targeted species of fish along our entire southern coastline!
Australian herring can be located from as far south as Albany up to Shark Bay throughout Western Australia. They are also encountered throughout VIC and S.A. where they are commonly referred to as Tommy Rough due to their rough, sand paper like feel.
Australian herring are a fast growing species that alternates in numbers over various years with some years proving plentiful and others fairly lean. They can grow as large as 40cm in length and weigh as much as 800 plus grams although most herring encountered throughout southern Australia average around 100 – 200 grams and anything larger is considered to be a bull herring.
Herring prefer shallow bays, inshore reefs and estuary systems with large areas of healthy sea weed beds as well as sheltered sandy bays with heavy cover near by. Water depths of 1 – 15 meters are most suitable.
Australian herring can be easily identified by the dark spots apparent on the tip of their tail along with the dark and light yellow to golden spots covering their torpedo shaped bodies. Herring also have a yellow and black eye and a mouth full of tiny, coarse teeth. Juvenile salmon are often mistaken for herring with the key difference between the two being the dark tail fin tips of the herring.
Australian herring are much better eating than most people realise!
Australian herring are a small species that do provide a fairly good account for themselves on ultra light spin and fly tackle delighting anglers as they hurl themselves from the water at times in an attempt to escape. Most anglers would agree that if herring grew to over 6kg they would rival the Australian salmon as the most popular sport fish in Australia’s southern half.
Ultra light spin and fly combos are ideally suited to targeting herring both from shore or from boat with braided, gel spun and nylon lines with a breaking strain of around 2 – 3kg proving ideal. Light 2 – 3kg nylon or fluoro carbon leaders of around one rod length help to prevent the fish from seeing brightly coloured lines when fish are being fussy during calm, clear conditions.
Small cut pieces of peeled prawn or fresh fish as well as live maggots are sensational baits for catching Australian herring with very small soft plastic and metal lures and fly’s also proving to be successful at times.
Using powdered or pellet berley with fish oils added will not only help to attract herring into your fishing area but also keep them there! An old rag doused in fish oil will also work well in most herring fishing situations.
Rising or full tides are best suited for targeting herring around most areas although some deep water locations will also produce good numbers of fish during low and falling tides. New moon phases are also preferable for most fish species including herring.