The lakes deliver
  |  First Published: March 2007

The kingfish arrived in February, with fish around 70cm being caught near Gabo Island.

Now until the end of May is the best time for kingfish, provided the water temperatures warm up a little. As with the rest of the south coast, cold water is playing havoc with the fishing and things are a little strange. It often appears the water is starting to warm then, overnight, the water temperature can drop to a chilly 15C.

Those fishing offshore have been rewarded with good bags of sand flathead and tiger flathead. The average size of these fish has been impressive, with some locals saying it’s the biggest flathead run they have seen in years. Plenty of gummy shark have been caught as well, with the well-known hot spots around Gabo Island producing the goods.

The local beaches have been firing with the best fishing happening just after dark. Salmon, tailor and the odd gummy shark have been caught by anglers putting in the time with fresh baits of pilchard, squid and octopus.

Some great yellowfin bream have been caught near the lake entrance, with the best bait being fresh local prawn. These prawns can be caught with a prawn net at night or purchased from Wayne at Mallacoota Bait & Tackle. Some King George whiting are also being caught in the Harrisons Channel area.

The lakes themselves have been producing great fishing, with all visitors to the area landing a few fish. Flathead fishing has been excellent with all areas of the system holding flatties. Many anglers are catching their bag limit in less than an hour, which shows just how well the fishing is going.

While guiding in Mallacoota over the past month, my best half day session was over 70 fish. Those fishing with me know that I never allow more than 10 flathead for the boat for the day, and all fish kept are between 40cm and 45cm. However, a small percentage of anglers are doing the wrong thing and catching double or triple bag limits by heading home and dropping off their fish. They ought to re-think this strategy, as plenty of anglers are not impressed by people doing the wrong thing and won’t think twice about telling the Fisheries officers. With no netting and strict bag limits, Mallacoota is turning into a very impressive recreational fishery.

Some good tailor have been herding up the baitfish and prawns. Fish around 1.5kg are common and there are some bigger fish amongst the schools, too. Pinkie snapper are being caught in the Bottom Lake with most fish around 35cm and the odd bigger fish reaching 40cm. The shallow, weed-fringed edges of the Bottom Lake are holding some big yellowfin bream and the Strike-Pro Pygmy has been a very effective lure when worked slowly around the weedbeds. Poppers have also been scoring a few yellowfin bream.

The past month has been good for black bream, with overcast days fishing far better than sunny days. Bait fishers using fresh, local prawns and lure casters using soft plastics and hard-bodied lures have all had good success. With the recent holiday pressure, it’s still a good idea to fish out-of-the-way spots as you’ll have far more success.



Gary MacDonald with his first popper-caught bream.


Now that’s a solid hook-up.

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