The offshore scene has been dominated by the huge numbers of pinkie snapper being caught on the local reef systems.
The 6-mile, 4-mile and around the Red Bluff bommies have been great. While most are just pan-size pinkies, the occasional fish over 8kg is still being caught on larger baits like live slimy mackerel and barracouta heads. Soft plastics have also accounted for some great fish, especially larger jerk baits in the 5-7” range on a 3/8th oz jighead if conditions allow. Soft plastics on snapper is all the rage and is very addictive but can get expensive if the ‘couta are abundant.
Massive schools of slimy mackerel have been hanging all the way along the coast and can be easily located by looking for the birds and on calm days they will be up near the surface so watch for any surface activity. A berley trail will bring them to the boat and they are easily caught on Sabiki rigs or on small pieces of pilchard on a long shank hook and make terrific bait for a range of species.
The sharks have gone a little quiet as the water temperature is slowly dropping, but there are still some nice gummies being taken in close to the beaches by those anchoring and berleying. Persistence is the key and while some days they have been firing others have been a long wait between bites. Some good elephants and the occasional school shark have been caught closer to the grange in around 15m of water. The makos were a little quiet of late but some big threshers made an appearance and gave a few anglers a surprise whilst snapper fishing!
The surf beaches have been fishing well for big Aussie salmon on the incoming tide. Spinning with green Lazer lures on bream gear. Some of the sambos have been pushing 3kg and on light gear are extremely good fun! Good tailor are in the mix too but salmon are making up the majority of anglers catches. Bait anglers are doing well on slimy mackerel and pilchards on ganged hooks on a paternoster rig. Eastern beach, Lake Bunga and Beacon Point are all producing, and a few snapper are being taken from beacon point around the rocks. Expect to lose a bit of gear here but the results can be well worth it.
In the lake there have been a few surprise packages of late. While we get a run of rat kingfish in the lake every year it seems this year there are more than ever! Schools of kingies from 45-90cm have been right throughout the lake and while few have been landed plenty have been hooked by unsuspecting anglers chasing whiting or salmon. Kalimna Jetty and Bullock Island are regular haunts for these little rockets and a few have been spotted at Metung around the deep water marina.
The whiting season was a bit disappointing this year but the occasional one is still being caught around barrier landing on pipi and live shrimp on a running sinker rig. Mullet have been thick along with small salmon and trevally which love stealing whiting baits.
The rock walls have been fishing extremely well for large luderick and good numbers of black drummer. The luderick have been caught on green weed (sourced from Lake Bunga as local green weed supplies have been pretty scarce) and the drummer have been caught on heavier gear by drifting mussel or small black crab along the wall on a running sinker rig. These fish hit like a train and heavier gear (20lb on a 10ft light surf rod is my normal setup) is needed to get the bigger ones away from the structure. There are huge numbers of big bluethroat wrasse amongst them too so you have to work through the rubbish fish to get the drummer.
Silver trevally have been firing around the town jetties on pilchard cubes and soft plastic grubs on light gear. Some of the trevs have been over 60cm and are a real handful on light gear around heavy structure! Slack-lining with live shrimp is scoring some great bream and plenty of nice luderick up to around 1kg. Keep an eye out for fish sitting just under boat hulls in the shade and fish close to the structure for best results.
Lake Tyers has once again been firing on the flats for big bream and a few nice flatties. Most of the bream are being taken on larger minnow style lures up to 90mm long ripped through shallows, whilst slow rolling crankbaits along the drop offs is doing well especially on the days when the lake is glassed out and the fish are a little spooky.
Vibe fishing in the deeper water is starting to produce some good numbers of fish and while not as big as the fish on the flats they are still good fun. Hardbodied lures with natural transparent colours have been best while darker coloured blades(blacks and browns with orange/red belly) have been the winners.
Bait anglers have done extremely well fishing with live prawn and spider crab on the flats when the wind is up and in the deeper water when it’s calm. The glasshouse, trident arm and the lower reaches of the Toorloo around any of the points have been best.
A good trick is to fish the windward side of the bank as the wind really fires the fish up.