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It’s only just begun
  |  First Published: February 2011



As the silly season has past and the fishing returns to normal, the whole south Gippsland estuary system is producing a wide range of species for all kinds of angling.

For anyone that ventured out to McLaughlins or Port Albert over the holidays, you could see how busy these boat ramps can be. With lines of boats going up the main streets, there was often a long wait to put your boat in and out of the water.

McLoughlins was very interesting as new car parks were created that I’m sure the residents of the area never thought were made as car parks. It would be nice to have two perfectly working boat ramps here to speed along the launching of boats during this kind of congestion.

Inside

McLoughlins Beach produced good numbers of flathead inside the estuary, and soft plastic lures seemed to be the go when chasing the flatties. There are heaps of fish ranging between 35-45cm and some real crackers measuring over 70cm have been landed in recent weeks. Most plastics in either and pumpkinseed or bloodworm type colour will do the trick well, however jig head size is probably more important and I would be using under a 1/8oz or over 1/4oz.

There are also some nice pinkie snapper getting caught in the same areas and they have been anywhere from 30-45cm. In the deeper waters around the entrance, there are still some very good snapper measuring over 50cm being caught mainly or bait fished either on a running sinker rig or even paternoster rigs. Because of the current, heavier sinkers between 4-8oz are needed.

My mate Mick hooked a huge kingfish in the entrance here only to lose it at the side of the boat. He wasn’t expecting a fish of this size here and was only using fairly light tackle, however he said it was over a metre long.

The whiting have been good this year, most of them seem to be over 30cm long and even some rippers over 45cm have been caught. It’s probably been more consistent on the whiting up around Manns Beach and even Robertsons Beach if you want to take the boat that far. But smaller tinnies and kayaks have good access to the waters’ edge at Robertsons Beach, which save a lot on petrol or leg power!

Pipis have been very good, and also you will catch good pinkies and trevally as a by-catch at the moment. For the prawners, it looks like it’s going to be a good season like last season. The prawners are averaging 50-100 prawns a night just by walking and dip netting. The new LED prawn lights are so good for this type a thing as you don’t need to carry a 12-volt battery and they are very bright considering they run off 3 or 4 AA batteries. The prawns are around 80mm long and will only get bigger every week.

Outside

This has been one of the best gummy shark seasons so far, especially outside. There are some really big gummies out here, many of them over 15kg and up to 25kg so remember that all these fish are females, so don’t go over board when keeping a few.

If the gummies haven’t been on the go, most anglers are getting there bag limit of flathead quite easily whilst drifting and bottom bouncing a paternoster rig around, which pilchards as bait. Young Jake Walsh has been catching the big ones again, he landed a big hammerhead shark just outside a few weeks ago, whilst chasing snapper and gummies.

There are still good amounts of pinkies around out here too, there seem to be averaging 2-3kg, however you will still get the bigger fish as well. Squid seems to be working very well.

Port Albert

Like I said earlier, there was certainly some boat traffic during the holidays around here. For some, the boat traffic didn’t seem to help there fishing much and I heard a lot of disappointing reports, but then some anglers did very well even on the busy days.

The snapper seem to be hanging around the entrance a lot more this year, but they are much localised. It seems that you could have two boats only about 20m apart, and one boat will bag out on snapper whilst the other won’t catch any, but that’s snapper fishing for you.

Again, the sizes of the snapper seem to have dropped off a bit over the past couple of weeks, and most fish seem to be between 35-50cm, but that is the usual thing for summer, there will most likely be another run of large snapper in the next 2-3 months.

There have been some good gummy sharks caught inside as well; the snake channel seems to be producing the most.

There are averaging around 1m in length and are being caught on pilchards and squid. There is a lot of live bait around, such as yakkas and slimies, and a few anglers have been putting them down either as live bait or fresh cut baits, and hooking monstrous fish that are un-playable, I wonder if any of these are big kingies, or just sharks?

For the squid angler, there are still plenty of anglers getting good amounts of calamari around the weed beds, so it’s still worth taking a few squid jigs.

The mako sharks have turned up now, and most guys are heading out towards the islands looking for them. Either fresh slimy mackerel or yakkas are working very well. Even fresh squid should do the trick. There seems to be lots or barracouta schools around too, so if you catch a few, use the fillets; this is also very affective bait for nearly everything.

There are also heaps of big flathead out wide, so you can easily get a bag of flathead if you can’t catch anything else.

For more information, contact Will at Allways angling in Traralgon on 51748544, you will expert advice and great deals on fishing tackle.

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