Those who fish Mcloughlins Beach regularly in the colder months would know May and June is when the big salmon enter our south Gippsland estuaries, and sure enough, the salmon played by the rules and turned up again right on cue.
Firstly, for those of you who haven’t fished Mcloughlins Beach over the past few years, if you go there you will notice the entrance channel has changed dramatically. The area that splits off towards Manns Beach is very shallow and full of dead trees, and at low tide you can see just how silted up and full of snags Mcloughlins Beach is now. This has done changed the fishing as it has mainly changed the area of flow.
The shortcut channel that heads to Manns Beach is now almost separated from the entrance and the bigger fish don’t seem to go up there anymore. Basically all the big salmon are staying in the entrance where it’s deeper and has more flow.
A few weeks ago we used this theory and put all our efforts to search for the big salmon in the entrance during the tide change. We found that the run-in is definitely the time to chase the big fish, as the run-out only produced fish to about 1kg. With any luck the bigger salmon will hang around all winter. Nevertheless from past years’ experience, the bigger ones are usually only there for the start of winter and then return mid spring – so get over there asap.
We have also had a bit of rain of late and the salmon don’t really like the dirty water. If the water looks brown, I wouldn’t bother fishing it, I would try and find some clear water.
To find the salmon, use different techniques; don’t just troll. If the salmon are down deep, they won’t always swim to the top to chase a metal lure that is only 30cm under the water. So if you do decide to troll be sure to run different style lures, such as a metal lure and also a deep diver.
I find the best way to search for salmon is spindrift. Have one angler using a soft plastic between 1/4oz and 1/2oz with a 3-5” soft plastic and someone else using a metal slug or diver. When you find the fish, either repeat the same drift or anchor on the fish.
I haven’t heard of too many big salmon at Manns Beach, however there are mega amounts of salmon to 600g, but this can change day to day as well.
The tailor have just moved in as well and they are in Manns channel all the way to the snapper hole at Mcloughlins. These guys usually hang around all winter.
Port Albert usually gets a good run of big salmon around Dog Island all winter as well, so it’s worth heading down there. The shallow water towards Kearneys Entrance make great sport fishing for salmon as you can use surface lures such as poppers and stickbaits.
The gars have been massive this year and it doesn’t look like they will leave anytime soon. We have seen plenty of gars to 45cm this year. The start of the run-out has been good, but the flood tide has probably been the best. The key is berley, berley, berley!
You have to get the fish to the back of the boat to get good numbers before they either disperse of disappear. Use two rigs, one float rig and the other a very light paternoster fished on the bottom. The gars love moving baits so don’t be afraid to slowly lift your rod and slowly retrieve the bait. The gars have been in good numbers at Manns Beach and also at Port Albert.
It’s big gummy time now and there have already been some nice fish to 25kg caught out wide in 20m+ of water. The key is to fish the tide change and use fresh baits, such a squid heads and salmon and trevally cut baits. You can drift or anchor – both methods work, it just depends on your depth.
Out wider the flathead have been going excellent and there are flatties to 60cm being caught regularly and they never leave, they will be there all winter. Drifting with paternoster rigs is the way to fish out here for flatties and if your drift is too quick, put out a sea anchor slow yourself down or put on a bigger sinker to make sure your bait is on the bottom.
• 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!
A quality 63cm salmon that took a 4” pumpkinseed minnow on a heavy jighead fished on the bottom on the run-in tide.
Clint Stanistreet holds up the average sized fish for this time of year in the entrance. It measured 58cm and was around 5lb and took a metal slug.
Joel Pettifer caught this massive gummy shark out wide. These are what anglers come to South Gippy for to catch over winter.Reads: 713