What a month it has been! I hope the New Year was kind to everyone. It sure will be interesting to see just what February brings us.
The New Year was good for anglers at McLoughlins Beach, especially on the flathead front. Plenty of flatties up to 70cm in length have been landed, which puts these fish at around 3.5kg. These bigger specimens have been mainly targetted in the shallow waters of sand flats. There are plenty of areas around McLoughlins and Manns estuaries like this to fish.
Most of the fish have been taken on soft plastics such as Berkley Power Minnows, Gulp Minnows and Squidgy Fish. On the flats you can use really light jig-heads, such as 1/24oz and 1/16oz. This light plastic fishing can be great fun, and because you can use lighter jig-heads, other fish cruising the flats such as trevally, salmon and estuary perch will also fall victim.
Remember though, that because the plastic needs to be worked more slowly with these lighter jig-heads, the plastic can often be annihilated by toadies, especially at low tide. As the tide drops it is sometimes better to increase the jig-head size to a 1/8oz or 1/6oz, so that the plastic can be retrieved more quickly. Using heavier jig-heads usually eliminates any by-catch and specifically targets flathead, because of the lures frequent contact with the bottom and the puff of sand or mud that results from the heavier lead hitting the bottom.
There have been some heavy hook-ups occurring around Manns Beach end of the estuary through to Robertson Beach. I have had many customers that have been busted off in a big way, which could be due to sharks or perhaps the elusive mulloway. It wouldn’t be terribly surprising to hear of yellowtail kingfish inside the system either.
If you don’t have a boat, head to McLoughlins, where there are heaps of trevally around the pylons of the two jetties and the footbridge. Pipis are the go on a light running sinker rig. If there is no tide, use no sinker at all – the trevally love this.
There are still plenty of whiting in the system around the weed beds. The fish have been really healthy this year and are averaging 35cm in length. Pipis and Bass yabbies are great baits.
There are still heaps of snapper outside on the reefs. Squid has been the best bait, but I would still always take pilchards as a backup. Some rat kingfish of around 50-60cm have been caught as a by-catch for snapper anglers. Someone needs to jig the reefs seriously for kingfish, now and for the next two months – you might be surprised how many kingies are out there.
For more information on fishing McLoughlins Beach, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 5174 8544.Reads: 1963