Flathead and whiting in the shallows
  |  First Published: May 2012

Obviously over summer all everyone hears about is snapper, snapper, snapper, but many anglers forget we arguably have the best flathead fishery in Victoria here in south Gippsland.

The past month has really proved this fact as the flathead have been nothing short of awesome. I’ve had some of the best soft plastics fishing ever this month, even when the water temperature has dropped. They key has been to target the shallow water.

I’ve found that 1.5m and under seems to produce the really big flathead and by big I mean 60cm plus. Remember, these are blue spot flathead, not duskies and so are a lot thicker and heavier than a dusky flathead; however they don’t usually get to the length that a dusky flathead does.

If you’re going to fish the shallows, you need fairly good conditions. The water needs to be clean, so a windless day helps and this is the good thing about autumn, we tend to have a lot more windless days where you can do this kind of fishing. The run-out tide is far more productive than the run-in. During the run-out tide, the bigger flathead are forced out of the ultra-shallow water that is inaccessible to most boats. It tends to push them into a minimum of 500mm and over, which is uncomfortable for boaties, especially if you don’t want to get stuck high and dry during the low tide.

If you’re using soft plastics, use between a 1/8oz and ¼ oz jig head coupled with a 3-4” soft plastic. Most of the big flathead lie next to the weed beds and not actually on them, so cast into the sand patches in between the weed beds.

If you’re chasing rock flathead however, you need to cast into the weed s this is where they hide. The rock flathead aren’t as big but would have to be one of the best eating fish we have. I think the flathead should still be in McLoughlins and Manns beach till the end of May, but as the water gets colder, Port Albert definitely holds more flatties than McLoughlins.

The whiting are still in good form in south Gippsland and the good news is they have been bigger on average. Most of the fish seem to be around 35cm and a couple are even pushing the 40cm mark, which is great to see. Bass yabbies are doing very well, but don’t underestimate pipis. They are still extremely affective baits as well. I even know a few anglers that are using prawns and having success as well.

Running sinker rigs are doing very well, but so are paternoster rigs fished with a single dropper only. It will be interesting to see how long the whiting hang around for. Last year we struggled to find them past mid-June after the Australian salmon moved into Mcloughlins, but we could still find them in the cold water in the deeper sections of Port Albert and even Corner Inlet.


The gummy sharks have been very prolific this month around the islands. Offshore has definitely out-fished the inlet when it comes to gummies. Fresh baits are catching the bigger specimens, but pilchards are as good bait as any for the metre-long gummies. Most anglers seem to finding their bag limit with a bit of patience and drifting definitely has been the key. A lot of anglers I have spoken to have simply been at the islands drifting for flatties, when they have ended up with a bag of gummy sharks as well.

For more information, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 51748544. You will get advice and some great deals on fishing bait and tackle.

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