December traditionally means the start 18C ocean temperatures which sees the migration of large schools of mackerel and bait fish within the 3-mile limit.
This intensification of food chain brings with it a host of other species such a varieties of shark and tuna.
Gummy and school sharks have historically had good catches right through the Christmas New Year break. Early morning starts are the key to good catches of shark in summer when fishing offshore at Lakes Entrance. Gummies and schoolies at this time of year can be caught regularly just behind the beach break within 500m of the coast using fresh bait such as squid, eel or fish fillets.
A combination of rigs work well for these bottom feeding sharks from a double paternoster to a running rig with a 1m long wire and a super sharp Decoy or Gamagatsu 5/0 circle hook. Using top quality circle hooks is a must when bottom bouncing for shark.
Circle hooks provide two clear advantages with this style of fishing; the first is they usually scissor or jaw hook the shark which helps keep the leader clear of the shark’s teeth and second it provide a good angle to control the shark on lighter tackle when applying upward pressure from a boat.
Berley is also a big advantage when fishing for shark along the coast at lakes entrance as it can really reduce the time it takes for them to find the bait and sure it can entice a host of other species but more often than not the result will be worthwhile.
Please remember to always have a close look at the weather before navigating the lakes entrance bar as conditions can change rapidly.
For the last 6-years, December in the Gippsland Lakes means prawns and this year is shaping up to be a good one. Early last new moon before the water went turbid from recent rains in Tambo Bay and Lake King there were good numbers of 50-75mm long eastern king prawns covering most of the shallow sand banks.
Small live prawn is excellent bait and are easy to catch and especially fun for the kids. Limited equipment is needed for this adventure with a torch, a small mesh dip net and a floating tub all that is required to gather enough bait for a day’s fishing.
Wandering the shallow sand flats at night is an exciting pastime and you get to see all sorts of fish and bait.
For best results, especially when the big eating prawns start running in early January you need a proper prawning stet up which include a specific designed light, properly sized dip net and a floating punt designed for the job.
Alternatively for those wanting to harvest from a boat anchoring in the reeves channel opposite Bullock Island on a run out tide at this time of year can usually produce the goods, with last season most local anglers producing regulation catches of 20L in volume with plenty of tide remaining.
Anglers need to be aware that a high volume of prawners anchored in the one location can cause some difficulty to navigation so it’s practical to keep well spaced apart and to keep the navigable channel clear at all time.
The local rivers have yet again seen muddy water as a result of recent rains in East Gippsland.
The turbid waters of the Tambo and Mitchell have produced a Mecca for bait anglers but a challenge for lure fishers with most anglers relying on vibe lures to target black bream.
With the decreased salinity resulting from the recent rain event we have seen large numbers of European carp appear in the lower reaches of the rivers adding to the turbidity as they constantly burrow in the mud in there endless search for food. Carp make excellent ocean bait so I would urge all anglers visiting the area to help eradicate these pests and target them wherever possible.
As for the dusky flathead, conditions are considerably different this season to last so it looks like it’s going to be a late start based on current local catch. There’s a lot of slime and weed growth on the banks that fished well last year around Lakes Entrance and this will prove a challenge when targeting them in these areas using soft plastic as the lure will foul up quickly and this will reduce its action and look.Reads: 5496