Traditionally for the keen anglers of decades past, the first sign of the bright yellow flower of the black wattles along the banks of the Tambo River meant the change of season had begun and springtime fishing was just around the corner.
With the colder months just about gone and 12C water on the rise, a vast improvement to East Gippsland fishing opportunity now begins.
The local lakes entrance beaches have produced nice-sized Australian salmon all winter, but with expectation of the bigger 2-3kg salmon arriving for spring this always generates an air of enthusiasm amongst anglers, as big salmon fight well on light gear.
Small to medium size bluebait seem to be the preferred bait at this time of year rigged on a double paternoster rig with 2/0 circle hooks and a 3–5 ounce star sinker.
A rising tide is preferable and if the crabs are ferocious try using thin plainly coloured rubber bands rapped around your bait to deter the crabs and help your bait last longer. If all else fails and the crabs are driving you nuts blue or red surf poppers are a reliable back up.
With the coldest part of the year behind us we are already starting to see the early signs of a good dusky flathead season on the way with reports of the odd big dusky being taken already. The middle of October usually sees the dusky flathead season around lakes entrance get well under way.
Remember that the big female duskies become more active in the warmer month in preparation for spawning and will react far more aggressively to lures at this time of year and are much easier to catch making them a high profile target specie for anglers.
A mature female dusky flathead of around 12-15 years old and 750mm-1m in length can hold up to 500,000 eggs and is a very important part of the recruitment cycle of this specie. For this reason I would ask angler to be conscious of this fact and to perform catch and release of this size specimen wherever possible.
Early in the dusky flathead season along edges of Rigby Island right through to Nungurner, the prawns are plentiful and for this reason prawn lures such as the DOA 3” shrimp lure in natural colours have a much higher success rate on the big female dusky.
When fishing a DOA shrimp it is vital to fish it slowly on the bottom using very short erratic jerks on the rod tip to retrieve it.
The Tambo and Mitchell rivers at this time of year are standout locations for the angler in search of big bream. Local tournament anglers using small hardbodied lures casting in against the edges of the riverbank in the past weeks have been producing some big bream. Fish over 1.7kg are not uncommon, while the majority of fish are measuring 35cm, which is still nothing to be disappointed about.
Runoff into the rivers from recent rains has seen the water go turbid creating and excellent environment for the lure fisher, as bream have such good eyesight and are easily spooked in crystal clear conditions. It can be a real advantage when the water is dirty.
All signs are pointing to a terrific gummy shark season for Lakes Entrance with local offshore anglers reporting excellent early season catches of shark to 1.5m. The Shailer or rubble bottom in 18–20m west of the entrance is the go with pilchards or fresh squid legs being a standout option.
Reports of good bags of snapper in similar location add to the excitement. The way the season is shaping up we should start to see some action for gummies and elephant fish on the beach from opposite Paynesville right through to Lakes Entrance over the October moon.
In my opinion the two most successful baits for shark at this time of year are fresh squid legs or fresh eel; both of which are very tough baits and last for some time if the crabs are bad.
Anglers please be aware the Lakes Entrance bar has been dredged recently and is very deep and extremely tidally effected. It is an absolute must to check the weather conditions before planning a trip offshore at Lakes Entrance.Reads: 4016