This season has seriously become the best surf fishing season I can remember – you can catch anything from large blue spot flathead to massive bronze whalers – who wouldn’t be happy with that!
One of the things that has made this season a success has been the lack of weed. That slimy weed has not been persistent like in other years and even when the weed has been there, there has usually been a period of the tides that is fishable and the weed has no effect, which is normally the run-out tide. Due to the mild weather so far, the weed has never had time to settle in with those horrible easterly winds, we simply get a westerly blow a few days later and it blows the weed away. But most importantly, we have plenty of fish as well.
The gummy sharks have been nothing short of remarkable this season; they are everywhere. I’d hate to pin one beach out as better than the next as it would be unfair. Gummy sharks have been caught in excellent numbers from every beach, but especially Woodside, Golden Beach and Paradise Beach.
The gummy sharks are taking squid legs very well, and I have still been doing well using surf poppers with a bit of squid leg on the hook for flavour. Fresh salmon and trevally have also been standout baits, and some anglers are doing well on eel. The gummies were going good in the late afternoons, but recently since the days are getting longer, the hot bite seems to be from 9pm onward. Most of the gummies are 1m in length with the odd bigger fish measuring between 1.2m and 1.5m in length.
There are some massive sharks swimming out there. There have been a huge number of bronze whalers in excess of 100kg and up to, and even over, 8ft in length caught. The method of choice these days is land-based game. It seems it’s the flavour at the moment and everyone is doing it almost to a point that there are more anglers paddling out baits on skis, yaks and rubber ducks more than surf fishing.
Everyone has big shark fever and hence a lot of sharks are being caught. There is no need to take your baits out a mile, just behind the last breakers. Wire traces between 1m and 3m in length with hooks between 8/0 and 12/0 depending on your bait size will do the trick. Whole bonito has been very good as bait, as has whole salmon, squid and eel baits.
Over the next few months, the hammerhead sharks will turn up and they usually range from baby pups to 1m in length, however paddling out baits has resulted in massive hammerheads during February in past years. The bronzies should hang around until April provided the water temp holds.
Those beautiful blue spot flathead are around in good numbers now and Woodside, Reeves Beach and McLoughlins Beach are the best beaches to chase large flatties. You will still get them on the other end of Ninety-Mile, just not usually as big.
Whitebait, blue bait and surf poppers have been the go, and anglers specifically targeting the flathead use lighter line, smaller hooks like 1/0 and 2/0 long shanks and slowly retrieve their bait or at least keep it moving. There have been some good flatties measuring up to 65cm, however they will average a little smaller over the next 2 months around the 45cm mark, but are still great eating fish.
There have been some big schools of salmon swimming past over the last month and some lucky anglers have been there with a metal lure and a 9ft spin rod at the right time to have some of the best sport possible. There have been fish caught to 2kg regularly and bigger ones lost.
I have met some anglers that have hooked fish on metal lures that are unstoppable – so I wonder if there are a few kingies mixed in with the salmon? It’s happened nearly every January and February for the past 5 years so it’s definitely possible.
For more information, Contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 51748544. You will get expert advice and get great deals on fishing bait and tackle. Tune in to Rex Hunt and Lee Rayner’s Off the Hook on 1242 to listen to Will’s report on Gippsland.Reads: 1009