Great variety from the sand
  |  First Published: May 2008

The fishing along Ninety-Mile Beach lately has been a bit up and down, with the changing weather making some days unfishable. However, when the conditions are suitable, the fish have been there for the taking, with a large variety of species available.

The range of species that have been caught has been unusual, with anything from mullet to elephant fish. There has also been a report of a yellowfin tuna weighing 10kg taken from the beach in the Lakes Entrance area. The exact beach and method of capture have not been confirmed, but it was reported by several anglers. This is definitely not a common capture from the beach, but there has been a lot of striped tuna, and other schools of tuna have been seen busting up schools of bait within 1km from shore.

There have been good numbers of gummy sharks up to 20kg taken, with some catches of up to a dozen in one night. The best beaches have been from Golden Beach to Woodside. The best baits have been pilchards, squid, salmon and trevally fillets. There have also been consistent catches of elephant fish up to 4kg. These have been taken as a by-catch when fishing for gummies. They have been taken on the same baits, as well as bluebait. The best time for the gummies has been around the new and full moons.

The salmon are starting to show up in bigger numbers with some fish up to 3kg being taken. There have been a lot of birds working over schools of feeding fish just offshore for the last month. Now the fish are starting to move closer to the beach to feed. The best methods have been using baits like bluebait, whitebait and pilchards. Blue and red surf poppers have also been working quite well. Metal lures like Lazers, Raiders and Gillies are all producing fish, too. The best time to fish is at first and last light for the better fish. Smaller fish can generally be caught throughout the rest of the day. These fish are not concentrated at one particular beach, so just find a good gutter and give it a try.

Mullet and trevally have been taken as a by-catch when fishing for salmon. It is also worth trying for mullet and trevally using smaller baits of bluebait, whitebait and pipis on smaller hooks (number 2-6) and on lighter tackle (3-4kg line on a light rod of 1.8-2.4m). Both species are good for fresh bait, but are not to good to eat, so it is best to only catch enough for your session. They generally bite at any time of the day.

With some great fishing still available, it is well worth making the effort to fish a beach. You never know what you might catch.

Justin Shankland with an elephant fish he caught one night from Ninety-mile Beach.

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