Pure Sensation
  |  First Published: July 2011

What a winter, we have massive salmon, whiting and flathead. How can you beat that?

This month has changed my whole philosophy on winter fishing. I guess I have been spending a bit more time searching for different channels and flats and not trying to fish the same spots that I always do over winter. So even when launching at McLoughlins, sometimes we have been travelling away to search for new grounds.

One goal has been to catch whiting all year round down here, which I have never been able to do before. However, we have nailed some recently in 12C water so I’m hopeful we’re on the right track.

The flathead have definitely thinned out at McLoughlins; there’s no doubt about that. However it’s interesting that at Port Albert and Port Welshpool we have still been bagging out on flathead. Some have been in shallow water around 2.5m and then in the main channels in over 10m of water, so my opinions are definitely starting to swing on what stays and what goes over winter.

What we are sure about is that the salmon and trevally are around in great numbers. The salmon here are just as big as they are on the surf. There’s plenty over 70cm in length but the average is 55cm. It’s interesting that most of the fish are 55cm and then for every 10 of those you get one 70cm or over. That’s not bad fishing.

Soft plastics are definitely out-fishing all other methods and that is due to their versatility. You can fish them high or deep, slow or fast and that’s why they suit any condition. Metal lures are a bit of a one trick pony and don’t always work. It’s the same for trolling; if the fish are down deep, don’t ever bother.

You are much better off anchoring or drifting and casting lures that can be fished close to the bottom. The silver trevally have been mixed in with salmon and are in the same places as the salmon as well. Again trevally seem to be a fish suited much more for plastics and not metal lures.

Port Albert

Like I said earlier, there are still plenty of flathead around. Inside, most of them are ranging from 30-40cm but you can bag out, so you can end up with a hell of a feed. We normally drift with 2 rods each; one with a light bait rod dragging out the back, and then fish with a plastics rod as well. While you’re chucking plastics around you could be hooking flathead on the bait rod as well without even doing anything, so it’s a good way to get a feed quickly.

The calamari are going well too. They tend to show up even better over winter. Again, whilst you are drifting around casting for squid, have a bait rod out dragging behind you with a long shank hook with a pipi on it. You might nail a few whiting at the same time and you will definitely catch a heap of flathead that way too.

We have been catching heaps of 35cm flathead on the squid jig. If a flathead is following your squid jig or hitting it, just pause your retrieve and leave the jig on the bottom for 10-15 seconds then lift. Most of the time the flathead will be hooked on the prongs and you just need to keep the tension to get him in the boat. It’s a nice way to get a mixed bag.

Just outside the entrance there are still some nice gummy sharks being caught. Fresh bait is the key and especially fresh calamari. There’s plenty out here between 1.5-2m long and no doubt we will hear of even bigger female gummies caught over winter.

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

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