This month South Gippsland gave us a taste of what is to come on the fishing scene. Salmon, whiting, trevally and early season flathead have all made a name for themselves, and this is only the beginning.
Of course, it's spring so we have had many windy days in South Gippsland. One day it can be verging on being too dangerous to launch a boat, and the next day you can see your reflection in the water. It is so up and own, but thankfully the fishing has just been up.
I will start with everyone’s favourite bread and butter fish, the whiting. These fish have turned up again in large numbers. It seems like they never really left, as many were caught in winter as well. The current run of fish is of large spring whiting of 35-45cm.
Manns Beach through to Robertsons Beach has been producing more whiting than McLoughlins, however they will move into McLoughlins in the next month.
As far as bait is concerned, pipis are very hard to come by and it is going to be like that for a while. Some crafty anglers have been coming up with new strategies to combat this problem. One is to simply use squid, but cut it into very small strips about an inch long and bash it with something hard until it’s very thin and soft. This has been one of the most successful methods for us over the past month, and I expect this to become the most popular method of whiting fishing as pipis becomes harder to get.
Another strategy is to put the work in and pump some nippers, or to use the Gulp Sandworm. A handful of anglers have been trying this method and have had some very pleasing results.
Salmon and tailor are still in the estuary. They have been even more common than in winter. The sizes have varied, with fish as small as 25cm and as large as 45cm being caught.
Many lure fishers have been getting some big snook or short-finned pike as a by-catch on lures and light line. These fish make for some great sport. The entrances and the Shoal Channel have been producing most of these snook.
Flathead have entered the estuary in fairly good numbers, and though the sizes haven’t been spectacular, most fish are a good eating size of 35cm. The big females should make an appearance in a couple of weeks, but these fish should be chased for sport and not for food. Anglers fishing with soft plastics rigged on a 1/8oz jighead have been catching most of the flathead.
Loads of flathead have been caught offshore and they are much bigger than inside at the moment. Fish of 60cm have been common. Drifting with paternoster rigs has been the most successful method, and pilchards, bluebait and squid have been the best baits.
I heard some unconfirmed reports of some large snapper in excess of 6kg caught just outside McLoughlins Entrance a few weeks ago. I didn’t see any photos but some well-respected anglers informed me they had seen them. In November, I guarantee the snapper will be in full force and, if the early reports are anything to go by, we should have a ‘springtastic snapper season’.
For more information on fishing McLoughlins and Manns beaches, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 51748544.
Alan McAuliffe holds up a nice snook of 2.2kg that he caught on an Atomic soft plastic while chasing salmon and tailor at McLoughlins Beach.Reads: 716