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Fast turn around for flatties
  |  First Published: May 2013



The water temperature has come down and the water clarity is slowly climbing. And in return our fishing has improved out of sight.

The bream have been smashing baits all over the Passage and catches have been a great average size. On plastics and lures the numbers are about the same as using baits, but their size seems to be down a bit. Nevertheless, they are still good fun and worth a flick.

All your 3” size plastics are working a treat with as little weight as you can manage within your situation; tides, water depths and wind will change the required weights. The gun baits fishers have been using are the fresh flesh baits caught locally, such as gar, mullet and yellowtail pike. Don’t just grab any old bait out of the freezer and think you can pull the same results because it just won’t happen. You need to do a little extra work and chase some prime baits then the results will flow on.

The young local lads have been catching great bream from land-based situations all over the Passage, from jetties, boat ramps and the banks and creeks.

The banks around Mission camp ground have been producing great bream, from the shore or a boat. If you’re camping at Mission there is no need to travel too far from your camp as this is a prime region for angling. This area consists of mud banks, sand banks, coffee rock, rubble patches, deep gutters and mangroves all within a few 100m of the camp ground.

There are some great whiting numbers throughout the Passage at the present time; sizes are a little down as an average but the fish are there, it just takes a little more work and time than normal. The bigger fish seem to be coming from the middle reaches of the Passage, the mouth of Hussy and Coochin creeks and their surrounding gutters.

You might need to move around a bit to find the best results for chasing whiting. I only spend approximately 10 minutes in the one spot without a result and then move on and keep repeating this until I hit a good patch and then work it over.

The flathead have been patchy and take a little work to coax in. However, with the water temps coming down considerably this month it will turn around fast and it will be a Passage full of flatties. All the banks will hold great numbers of fish all over the Passage from weed banks, mud banks and sand banks.

Once again, flathead numbers will be great but the size takes a little longer to come up, but it will. The average size at the moment is around 30-50cm but by the end of May the average should be around 45-65cm. Please respect catch and release for the flathead over 65cm as these fish are the breeders; approximately 75% of these fish will be full of eggs. Catch the fish, take a photo and release it – this is the best feeling when fishing and if you just try it once you will be addicted. Keep a couple of small fish for a fresh feed, as flathead doesn’t freeze well.

There have been some by-catch around with estuary cod, groper and trevally while chasing flathead and bream. They can be a real buzz, not to mention a hand full on light gear, but I say bring it on.

Mulloway and juvenile snapper are a target in May but the size and quantity are a little on the shy side. Great fun, but it will take some work to pull good consistent results. Their size and numbers should slowly climb in winter so keep it in the back of your mind as a target for the very near future.

The mud crab hauls have been great but well and truly on the decline. We were catching muddies all through the Passage and out into the bay. There are still a few around but not in great numbers. We have gone from taking 2-3 legal grabs from one pot to getting 1-2 crabs out of four pots.

On the other hand, the sand crabs are on the incline, and in a big way from Toorbul out into the bay. The further south you go the bigger and better the results. The size of the sandies south takes some beating; they are the best size I’ve seen this year to date. Sometimes it can take a half a dozen sandies to make a feed, but not at present as they are A1 quality and size.

Our dolphins are back in the passage and are a real treat so get out there, take a look around and enjoy.

1

A couple of XXL crabs wrangled out of the Passage by the author with his kids Lincoln and Elise Wallis.

2

Glen Davis with a mullet caught on a 4” soft plastic. It just goes to show if you know what you're doing, plastics will catch almost anything.

3

The kids with a wheel barrow full of a healthy and tasty treat. Yum!

4

Highly protected groper taken as by-catch out of the Passage. The 83cm fish was released to fight another day as it is a no take species.

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