Sharks of many species still everywhere in the surf
  |  First Published: February 2013

Ninety Mile Beach has been nothing short of extraordinary, with anglers catching good bags of gummies, flathead, toothies and big Australian salmon.

We have had some very hot days which has warmed the water up a lot, especially compared with this time last year. In early January the water was 19-20C, which means there is pretty much every species available to us in Victoria around. The weed has been a lot worse than last year, but our saving grace has been the intermittent westerlies that have blown the weed away.

The flathead have turned up in massive numbers as every summer, and from Seaspray down to Woodside and McLoughlins has been the best chance to get a 60cm plus blue spot flathead. They are mainly been getting caught on surf poppers and white grubs and I would never flathead fish off the surf without at least one of these on.

Bluebait and whitebait have been the best flathead baits as well. For the really big flatties, head down the western end of the beach, as this end of the beach is generally the first to get rid of the weed after a westerly blow.

Anglers fishing down this way early morning have managed quite a few bronze whalers and these are not via paddling out baits, this is purely surf casting and some have even been caught on the poppers meant for a flathead.

Of course of an evening, everyone has been chasing the gummy sharks, and why not considering this is one of the best gummy seasons so far. The gummies are biting mainly from 8:30pm onwards through the whole night and into sun up as well. If you can get your hands on some fresh salmon or trevally you will be in for a treat.

In saying this, eel has been working exceptionally well on the gummies and toothy sharks as well. This is because it stays on the hook really well and the crabs can’t get it off very easily, so it’s a great full moon bait. If not, use squid tentacles as they are always good bait.

There have been plenty of bronze whalers caught up to 2.4m long and now there are plenty of hammerheads getting caught too. Amazingly there is that much bait around that there are still some big Australian salmon getting caught.

• For more information, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on (03) 5174 8544. You will get expert advice and great deals on fishing bait and tackle. Tune in to Rex Hunt and Lee Rayner’s Off the Hook on 1242 to hear Will’s report on what’s going on in Gippsland!

Everyone seems to be paddling out baits for big sharks this year. For those who want to join in, I often get asked how to secure your bait out wide and there are a number of ways to do it. Some anglers are using heavy sacrificial weights such as house bricks or half bricks attached by a light breakable line. This detaches the weight once you get a hook up so you can fight the fish freely. Another way that is getting increasingly popular is to set up your own buoy. To do this you can do it a simply as a few milk containers or big water containers which a long rope with a heap of bricks or scrap metal, whatever is cheap.

This becomes the anchor, so that you can run a light tether with a clip on it to clip your leader to the buoy easily. Then when you hook up, the light tether snaps, detaching the buoy. You can then reuse the buoy over and over until some bad southerlies wash it in. Recently I have seen these buoys everywhere so they must stay out for a while and can be reused for weeks provided the weather allows.

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