Everything and anything!
  |  First Published: December 2008

This season has proven that late spring is an unbelievable time of the year to fish in South Gippsland…perhaps even the best time of year. With snapper, whiting, big flathead and myriad other species being caught in huge numbers, who could argue otherwise?

Perhaps the most awesome thing that has happened this month is the huge influx of snapper entering McLoughlins and Manns beach estuaries. These estuaries are not recognised for brilliant snapper fishing inside, yet this year snapper up to 5kg have been taken in good numbers.

The good thing about fishing for snapper inside is that it allows the use of light tackle. Anglers are using 4kg line and hooking, losing and landing monster snapper. Squid has been prime bait, perhaps due to the large numbers of squid that are inside the estuary at the moment.

Steve Wright had an excellent day catching slimy mackerel and then using them for bait to catch snapper up to 1.5kg. Snapper Snatchers have been working well in the entrance for the bigger snapper, with just a little bit of pilchard or squid put on the hook for taste.

Matt Reid caught a very interesting fish called a Wirrah on a soft plastic. These are not very common in Victoria, let alone McLoughlins.

The whiting are still around in huge numbers, and fish as large as 50cm are still being taken on squid, Bass yabbies and Jap clam. Running sinker rigs have been best for these fish, yet lighter paternoster rigs are still catching whiting as well.

The big flathead have finally arrived in numbers. The sand flats are loaded with flathead to 3kg, while the edges of the channels are producing good table-sized flatties of 45cm. Soft plastics are catching heaps of flatties, especially the big mamas. Berkley Power Minnows, Atomic Guzzlers and DOA prawns have been a few standout patterns.

For some great sport, some massive (and I mean massive) trevally have been hooked in McLoughlins entrance over the past month. Fish to 3kg have been caught on metal lures and soft plastics. Baits such as bluebait and squid have also been producing a few fish. These fish won’t be in for long though, as they usually only stay in the estuary for a month or so. This is serious sport and not many of these fish have actually been landed. I have heard of fights lasting for 30 minutes on the light tackle that is used in McLoughlins.

There are still big salmon inside the entrances and salmon to 2.5kg have been caught in fairly good numbers. Trolling and jigging metal slices have been the best methods for catching these fish.

For more information on fishing McLoughlins and Manns beaches, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 03 5174 8544.

Matt Reid holds up this rare Wirrah, caught on a soft plastic at McLoughlins. These fish are normally caught in lower Queensland and New South Wales, and are only occasionally caught in Victoria.

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