Prepare for sharks but don’t ignore the estuaries
  |  First Published: October 2013

It has come to the time of year again where its time to start preparing the bigger gear for shark season.

Offshore and land-based crews are eagerly awaiting the warmer water and bait schools to show up because with the bait brings the predators. Bronze whaler, hammerhead and seven-gill sharks are commonplace along the East Gippsland beaches both on conventional surf gear and on game outfits which have had baits paddled out and dropped 300-400m out from the breakers. Early October is the best time to start paddling baits out in search of an early season toothy.

Best baits are normally fresh striped tuna(either whole or fillets) Aussie salmon or squid. Live baits can be effective although if your rig isn’t setup correctly they tend to twist up leaders and make a horrible mess.

Late October is probably your best time to get out and bag a few gummies off the surf beach. Lake Tyers beaches are the best by far, and fresh squid or slimy mackerel are dynamite baits if fished on the incoming tide a week either side of the full moon.

Salmon have been active right along the coast and spinning with metal lures not only provides great sport but allows you to cover more water and actively chase the schools as the move along the beach.

The Lake Tyers estuary has been fishing well with flathead moving towards the lower reaches of the system and taking up residence on the shallow sand flats. Bait fishing with peeled prawn, pilchard fillets and cut crab will account for plenty of flathead and some thumping bream. Fishing soft plastics along the drop offs will see plenty of flathead, bream and the occasional salmon and tailor.

Camerons and trident arms together with Morgans Landing and the island have been fishing well and right down to the Glasshouse where some of the bigger flathead have been taken. Garfish have been caught from the Nowa Nowa boat ramp and also from the Fishermans landing ramp on sandworm fished under a float.

Toorloo Arm has been fairly quiet with the odd flathead caught at Burnt Bridge and Cherry Tree on soft plastics and live prawn. The bream have been in the snags but have been hard to tempt. Live shrimp or sandworm could be worth a try fished on a slack line.

Around Lakes Entrance the jetties have been fishing well for trevally and tailor. Pilchard pieces rigged under a float is a popular technique and is used by many of the locals. Other baits worth trying are sandworm, peeled prawn and shrimp. Small metal lures work well on the tailor but be careful if fishing around the boats. Slack lining live shrimp around the pylons is a gun technique for scoring a few bream and luderick. Generally most of the jetty bream aren’t huge but be prepared if the odd thumper does jump on as they are pretty quick at finding the pylons!

Spinning with small soft plastics and sinking hardbodied lures is a fun way to hit the jetties as most of the time you can sight cast at patches of fish feeding on the poles. Light leaders of 3-4lb are crucial if the water is clear and I generally use a 1/32oz up to a 1/12th oz jighead with 2” curl tail grubs in natural colours. You will also pick up plenty of trevally, salmon, luderick, whiting and flathead on the small grubs.

Pinkie snapper have also shown up in big numbers in Cunningham Arm and will take pretty much anything thrown at them. Pilchard, prawn, squid and soft plastics are being hammered mostly whilst chasing flathead along the sand banks. Some of the pinkies are up to 1.5kg are awesome fun on light gear!

Kalimna Jetty and Bullock Island rock walls are starting to attract the attention of the local luderick brigade. Early reports are promising with some early season thumpers taken on green weed. Generally early in the season the bigger fish are more active and as summer progresses the smaller school size fish fire up, so if you’re after a trophy size luderick now is the time to start chasing one. The run-out tide is always best for them and it pays to watch what other anglers are doing.

Some good Australian salmon have been taken on the start of the run-in tide spinning from Bullock Island with small metal lures. Some have been around 1kg with most around 35cm which are great fun and if bled and iced straight away will make a good meal if eaten that day. Whiting haven’t shown up yet but October should see numbers of these tasty fish entering the system. Barrier Landing and Kalimna Jetty through to Nungurner are key areas to fish around the weed beds with fresh shrimp, sandworm and mussel.

The north arm has been fairly quiet but a few bream have been caught around the jetties and the bridge on deep diving hardbodied lures and live spider crab.

Offshore has been hit and miss, with a few anglers finding snapper and the occasional gummy. The weather has been keeping most anglers inshore so let’s hope it improves and the reef systems fire! Keep a good eye out for the schools of striped tuna as they wont be far away.

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