The word has well and truly gotten out now about the phenomenon Victorian game fishers embraced along our coastline in early autumn.
Marlin were once an extremely rare capture off Lakes Entrance and within the last three months there have been (to my knowledge) five brought into port and seven others released, with dozens of missed opportunities after many fish simply missed the hooks and others lost after lengthy battles.
Anglers managing to land marlin have been doing their homework studying sea temperatures and marine surveying charts, with some boats heading as far as 100km out from the entrance to target the deeper waters off the shelf. Trolling has been by far the most popular way of covering ground, and it seems the hot lure lately has been a lumo green Sprocket, but a few good fish have also been missed on black/purple Pakula cockroach.
Two groups of local anglers travelled 75km straight out from the Lakes Entrance bar with one of the boats catching a 125kg striped marlin. Amazingly they called their partner boat to come over and no less than 500m away they hooked and landed another large striped marlin weighing 135kgs!!
But its not just Marlin making news, large schools of striped tuna and bonito have been busting up between Cape Conran and Red Bluff about 6km offshore. Keep an eye out for any sign of activity, especially birds hovering over an area of seemingly lifeless looking water. Trolling Lures like Yo Zuri Hydra Magnums, Rapala x raps and small Christmas tree style lures is the best way to connect with these fish.
Schools of yellowtail kingfish have been hanging on the reef systems and are surprising anglers fishing for snapper. The snapper have slowed a little lately but good bags can still be taken from 6-mile reef and towards the Grange.
Snapper snatchers have been around for years and are one of the most basic yet effective rigs for snapper. Try adding a strip of squid or garfish to the snatchers for extra scent.
Large schools of salmon and tailor have been cruising the beaches and most of the action seems to be between Pettermans and Eastern beaches in the deeper holes. The weed has been pretty thick and making spinning a nightmare, so bait fishing is the way to go.
Squid legs, pilchards and pipi are the run of the mill surf baits, but don’t forget to add a blue, green or yellow surf popper to the rig.
Inside the lakes system has been sensational. Luderick have been in huge numbers along the rock walls and are best targeted using green weed (either cabbage or stringy) about 2.1m under a running float. Kalimna is the easiest spot to access but if you have a boat then the Rigby Island and entrance walls are also fishing extremely well and wont be as crowded as Kalimna wall.
Silver trevally seem to be everywhere and eat almost anything thrown at them! Squid strips, peeled prawn, shrimp, pipi and mussel are all reliable baits and for the lure anglers 2" soft plastic grubs and 3"stickbaits are trevally lollies.
Rigged on a 1-3g jighead fish the lures with a double flick and pause style retrieve.
Whiting have still been on the chew along the weed beds opposite Kalimna right up to Metung. Shrimp and mussel are the best baits fished on a running sinker rig.
Cunningham arm has been fishing well for trevally and pinkie snapper up to 1.5kg. The footbridge has been a hotspot in recent weeks as the fish have schooled around the pylons, and are taking pilchard fillets, live prawn and bluebait.
Small prawn and minnow style plastics also work well. Large schools of big sea-run garfish have been in the same areas over the weed beds.
Sandworm fished under a lightly weighted pencil float, with a loaf of bread for berley is about as close to a guarantee of catching a delicious feed of garfish and are great fun for everyone.
In Lake Tyers the water level has risen considerably, but the fishing has remained on fire! Bream have been caught right throughout the system on a range of techniques. Hardbodied lures along the edges is a popular method, with lures like the Pontoon 21 Crackjack, Jackall Chubbies, Stiffy Minnow and Daiwa Double Clutch all good lures. The snags in trident arm have been producing fish up to 1.4kg on a regular basis.
The local flathead population have been providing anglers with hours of entertainment on both lures and bait.
Live prawn is the number 1 bait out there at the moment, likewise with prawn style lures, as the lake is still full of prawns! The flatties haven’t been huge lately but are mostly around pan size which is great if your after a feed.
Garfish have been thick and also make great bait, especially for big bream and flatties. Gars are tough bait that can handle the small picker fish that sometimes make short work of softer baits.
Some huge tailor are still making their presence felt by taking expensive little bream lures on light leaders.
One of the marlin taken out from Lakes Entrance during this season’s bumper summer game season.Reads: 1012