The fishing over in South Gippsland has been nothing short of brilliant, and anglers are flocking to get a piece of the action.
Most of the talk on the grape vine at McLoughlins is about flathead. There are still large numbers inundating the inside of the estuary system, and I don’t think it is going to stop anytime soon. There are stacks of large specimens around, up to 80cm, which is a phenomenal flathead. There are plenty of good ‘eating size’ fish as well, ranging from 35-50cm.
The flatties have been caught by bait fishers and lure casters alike, yet the larger specimens have all been caught on soft plastics or live bait. Baits such as bluebait and whitebait are taking the bulk of the fish from 35-50cm. For the big mama flathead, the 3” Minnow in pumpkinseed is unbeatable. A good mate, Ken Pasalaqua was annihilated using one of these plastics around Manns Beach. He was completely spooled on 4lb braid by a monster. He was in shallow water and couldn’t stop this beast of a fish, but the worst part was he didn’t even get to see what it was!
There are heaps of pinkie snapper inside McLoughlins, stretching up to Manns Beach. Most fish have been undersized, yet it’s amazed me that there are plenty around 35cm as well. Bluebait has been accounting for most of these fish. South Gippy anglers have been excited by the fact that the whiting are still in the system, and I’m still hearing frequent reports of fish up to 50cm. Of course they’re not all this size, with most captures being 32-40cm. If you can get pipis, use them, but due to the shortage a lot of anglers have been using prawn, and they have been accounting for the majority of the bigger whiting specimens. The system over there is loaded with prawns at the moment, so of course it’s going to be great bait. I had one gentlemen remark that he had both nippers and prawns, and the nippers caught all the small whiting while the prawns caught all the big ones.
Speaking of prawns, the night net dippers are getting great hauls of prawns around Manns and Robertsons beaches. The top end of McLoughlins produces good numbers as well. The prawns are large and will certainly make for a nice meal. You’ll probably see your fair share of flathead as well.
There are loads of bait schools offshore around the reefs at the moment and they include massive schools of squid and yakkas. There are also large predators smashing these bait school a few kilometres out, but it’s hard to see what they are. They are most likely kingfish though, if the number of kingies being caught by snapper anglers is any guide. The kingies are getting caught on squid and they are mostly around the 3kg mark, though the odd bigger one has been seen.
Plenty of snapper are still being caught, though the average size seems to have dropped off a bit. Most of the snapper have been 1-4kg, on average, with the odd big fish as well. Squid has been dynamite as bait. The odd really big whiting has been caught offshore as well. Nathan Rohde caught a thumping whiting about 10km out, which measured 54cm in length. That’s 1kg of whiting, easy.
For more information about fishing McLoughlins and Manns beaches, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 03 5174 8544.Reads: 1579