Gettin’ jiggy with it!
  |  First Published: June 2008

Winter is here and the water temperature has dropped enough to bring in one of Victoria’s most beloved sportfish, the Australian salmon.

Over April and May the water temperature fell below 16oC. This signalled the departure of our summer bread and butter fish, such as flathead and whiting, but we now welcome the awesome sport that salmon provide. The salmon have been thick in the McLoughlins entrance and have stretched up the Shoal Channel towards Manns Beach and into the Manns entrance.

The sizes of these salmon have been mixed, as usually happens this time of year. They have been anywhere from 300g up to 3kg, with plenty of fish of around 1kg. The best method for catching these fish has been, of course, the use of metal lures. Honestly, there is no need to use bait, you will catch many more fish on lures. You can literally get a fish every cast, with not much time wasted in between.

Both trolling and jigging has been great. I always jig though, as it allows you to fish the whole water column, as opposed to trolling which only fishes the depth your lure runs at. Also, trolling is no good when weed is around, but jigging gets your lure through the weed long enough to catch a fish.

Even better, casting the jig allows you to fish away from the boat, yet the up and down jigging motion drags your lure through the whole water column. This method puts your lure through more water than any other method and is my favourite way to find salmon.

As for lure selection, some people have their favourites, but I will make a bold statement and say that if the salmon are there, they will eat any lure that they can see. I could name ten different brands of metal lures and they will all work. The only characteristic of a lure that makes a difference is the size. I usually try and match the lure size with what the salmon are eating, and the majority of the time that means lures no larger than 40g. Also, the only time I used a bibbed hard-bodied lure is if I’m trolling and the fish are down deep.

Mixed in with the salmon at the moment are tailor and trevally. The tailor have been of good size, up to 40cm. The trevally love a jigged soft plastic or metal lure on the bottom too. My favourite method for trevally in winter is to drift and drop a metal slug to the bottom. Then constantly lift the lure up and down until you get one. It’s a dynamite method and also catches other species such as snook and even mullet and garfish.

Unfortunately, it looks like all the flathead and whiting have left the estuary, but chasing our prized winter sportfish will sharpen up you luring skills before summer – so get em’!

For more information about fishing McLoughlins Beach, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 03 5174 8544.

In winter, trevally respond very well to metal lures or soft plastics jigged near the bottom.

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