A dramatic reduction in water temperature has made anglers change their tactics, and with a change of water, we have a change of species to chase.
One of my favourite fish to chase is the humble garfish. They are great for kids to catch and they are one of Victoria’s premier table fish. Why not kill two birds with one stone and make the kids happy and get dinner as well?
What a lot of Gippslanders don’t realise is that we have one of the best garfish fisheries around and we get the biggest garfish that you will find anywhere in Victoria. The big sea garfish are the ones everyone wants to catch and eat and we have them right here and right now.
All you need to do is find shallow water with scattered weed beds and sand patches and you will be in the right area. Then berley, berley and keep berleying! I use a mixture of minced fish, chook pellets and breadcrumbs and place the berley pot half in the water and half out.
I often use two different rigs; one very light paternoster style to keep baits close to the bottom and then a float rig as well. This covers the whole water column and allows you to work out what the fish prefer.
Baits can be a wide range from pipis to flesh baits, such as salmon, trevally and tailor cubes (tailor stays on the hook a lot better).
I’ve been fishing Port Albert for garfish a lot more lately and there’s plenty there, but Mcloughlins usually starts producing lots on the shallower waters around the entrance and in the Manns Channel. The next few months will only get better.
The salmon have been hit and miss. We have seen days where they are inside Port Albert entrance in good numbers and then the next day they are gone. Mcloughlins is the same; they are on the surf now but we are still waiting for those large numbers to enter the system. There have been plenty of smaller salmon in around St Margarets Island at Mcloughlins but not the big fish we are looking for.
There have been some better-sized trevally, especially around the mangroves, and they are getting caught on 3” soft plastics and vibes.
Back at Port Albert, the old port is producing some smaller salmon to about 750g on the run-in tide. We found a good school of salmon recently at the back of Sunday Island and they were around 1kg each. I think it would be better heading towards Kearney’s entrance around Dog Island as this was the area where the big 3kg+ salmon were hanging out last year.
It’s flathead time now and anglers fishing 35m and over are getting their bag of flathead quite easily, and some real rippers as well. There’s plenty of 40cm flatties and a few monsters over 60cm out there as well.
The tiger flathead have been a little deeper past the 40m line. The gummies have eased off a bit now, but a lot of the reasons for this have been because angler numbers have dropped off considerably. If you target your tide changes and make sure you have the freshest baits such as salmon fillet, trevally or fresh calamari you will be in for a chance to get one of those big winter gummies.
• For more information, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 51748544. You will get expert advice and great deals on fishing bait and tackle. Tune into Rex Hunt and Lee Rayner’s “Off the Hook” on 1242 to hear Will’s report on what’s going on in Gippsland!Reads: 549