What a month it has been for snapper! Last month’s report revealed how good a snapper season it had been, but as you’ll soon see, it’s only just begun!
Outside McLoughlins has continued to produce some crazy snapper stories. Stacks of reds ranging from 1-10kg are being caught regularly, though the average size seems to be between 4-7kg. They are in as close as 100m outside both McLoughlins and Manns beach entrances, although most fish are out on the reefs.
Fishing using baits of pilchards and squid on paternoster rigs has been the most successful technique. There has been a heap of barracouta giving anglers hell as well, and I know that quite a few anglers have been knocking fillets off these fish and using them for bait. This too has been very successful.
The Snapper Snatchers and Snapper Flashers have been working a treat as well. Sometimes a bit of squid helps, other days it doesn’t matter. All the different brands of these rigs seem as effective as each other. Not only has the snapper season been amazing, but so has the gummy season. There have been large gummies up to 25kg taken, which is not quite 2m long. Local angler Nathan Rohde caught some large snapper and a gummy weighing 20kg on a recent trip offshore.
The water has warmed considerably which has brought around our summer sharks such as hammerheads. Although the hammers aren’t usually all that big around here, they are good fun on lighter gear. They respond very well to fresh cut bait on a balloon rig. The balloon keeps the bait towards the surface, and hammerheads love the upper column of the ocean.
With regards to snapper, anglers should need no reminding that the bag limit has dropped to three fish of 40cm or more. I’m just mentioning it, because I have heard some real horror stories in the past month. Remember these larger snapper are spawning fish and this is the reason the bag limit has been reduced. I think the sooner Fisheries introduce boat limits for certain species the better!
The flathead have well and truly made there presence known now too. They are everywhere and are large at the moment – remember November, December and January are the best months to catch the bigger flathead. Most of them have been caught on pilchards, bluebait and squid. The Jig-em Squids have been very good too.
The local whiting are just superb at the moment. There are plenty of them inside McLoughlins, through to Manns Beach. Plenty of them have been up to 45cm, but most are 30-40cm. I have been inundated with angry anglers for the past four weeks saying they have been competing with commercial netters. I normally don’t write this kind of stuff, but it really annoys me that this small shallow estuary full of weed beds is netted. It’s a joke, and I can’t see any science in the reasons that netting in nurseries still occurs.
Plenty of big flatties have been caught inside as well, and soft plastics such as Berkley Power Minnows have been exceptional. For the little tackers, plenty of trevally are hanging around the McLoughlins jetties, so whack a pipi on a light running sinker and have some fun with these awesome sportfish. Good luck!
For more information on fishing McLoughlins and Manns beaches, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 51748544.Reads: 541