With some good weather over the past few weeks, the water is cold but anglers are fishing so there is a bit of action to talk about.
When I say a bit of action, I mean this mainly regarding the inside fishing, as there is quite a buzz at the moment about what’s been happening offshore, but I will get to this soon.
The fishing has been very disappointing at McLoughlins this month. The garfish have been absent and the big salmon are yet to make a solid appearance but Manns Beach is a different story.
For some reason most of the Australian salmon seem to be entering the Manns Entrance and even Kearneys Entrance rather than McLoughlins. So I would urge anyone that doesn’t have success at McLoughlins, to head up the channel to Manns Beach instead.
Towards the end of winter there had been a huge school of salmon coming in and out of the entrance. During some stages of the tide they are just outside and can be seen running along the back of the sand dunes, whilst on other tides, they are coming inside.
There have been lots of birds working these schools so you can tell there is a lot of bait there as well. The dolphins have also been getting their fair share of the action. So this is good news but what I find interesting is that if you speak to any anglers whom are fishing only McLoughlins, they are catching all but nothing. So it definitely pays to look around elsewhere if you can’t find the salmon.
As I said earlier, there has been par more promising reports coming from offshore Port Albert.
One thing we can generally bank on is, winter gummy fishing offshore. At least this year, it has been a little more reliable than the salmon fishing. The gummies have been anywhere from Whale Bay to Rabbit Island. You will get a lot of draughtboard sharks but the way around this is to fish you best times.
By this I mean don’t just turn up to a spot and expect to catch a gummy shark. The anglers catching the winter gummies do a bit more research and only fish the moist likely time to catch the fish. This eliminates a portion of the unwanted by-catch, which is of course the draughtboard sharks.
The best times to fish are both tide changes, and in particular the evening tide change seems to be very effective, at least it has for the past few weeks. Fresh squid will also increase your catch of these gummies and there is no shortage of squid at the moment.
Some of the calamari have been monstrous as recreational anglers have been catching fish averaging 1kg, whilst the commercial fisherman have reported calamari up to 3kg! For the big squid, silver whiting or garfish fished on a squid spike has been very reliable, whilst squid jigs have been producing most of the 1kg calamari.
If you head out wider past the islands for the gummy sharks, you will most likely catch some very good blue spot flathead as well. Most anglers seem to be managing 20 or so in a session of drifting and some boats are doing even better. This can be good fishing as you can often get a gummy shark mixed in a by-catch as well.
You don’t seem to get as much draughtboards either which is another good thing. Between the islands in 22m of water is a good place to start but you may need to go as deep as 40m which is a fair way out. On days of big fast tides, use a sea anchor to slow your drift as this will double your catch and once you find a couple of flathead, mark the spot on your GPS and keep drifting that area as it’s a big ocean and the fish tend to school together.
Each year I learn more and more and this year is no exception. The humble flathead always throws a spanner in the works and I guess winter is the time for this to happen. Just when we think the shallower colder inshore water doesn’t hold many big blue spot flatties but someone catches a good haul of what I would call big blue spots of 60-70cm in very shallow water indeed.
This is surprise, as it’s the shallow water where all your big flathead get caught in summer, but in winter, we just don’t hear of this. I think more people need to start targeting these areas over winter with plastics and hardbodied lures. Or maybe the flathead come back in earlier than we think, I’m not sure, but the fish are there now to prove it.
Spring is on our doorstep so we will have to wait till next winter to prove it, but I think I might spend more of September searching for big flathead inside rather than just targeting whiting.
For more information, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 51748544 or listen to his reports during the whip around on 1242 Off The Hook with Rex Hunt and Lee Raynor. You will get expert advice and great deals on fishing bait and tackle.Reads: 1980