Camping fee slug hurts beach fishers
  |  First Published: August 2014

Winter shark fishing the Ninety Mile has been smothered by the news of new camping fees at Paradise Beach and Golden Beach.

This month has been clouded by the news that all camping in National Parks will now cost us a minimum of $11.70 off peak to over $50.00 per night to camp. This affects us anglers in South Gippsland, especially those of us who fish the Golden Beach area.

As this region is classed as the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park, camping in these camp sites will now cost us! What was once free to take the kids camping for a night on the beach, in what is nothing more than a clearing in the scrub, will now cost us $13.00 during peak times.

But this isn’t the whole issue. For us anglers, we use these camping sites labelled C1-C20 as car parks to gain access to the beach to surf fish. With this new permit scheme, it’s going to be an issue for anglers who are just going fishing for a few hours after work to park in these sites anymore. Anglers fishing from say 7:00pm after work till midnight, which is what most of us Ninety Mile Beach anglers do, are not camping. So, how will parks work this out? Are we allowed to park there or not? After 6 phone calls, I really couldn’t get a straight answer, except for non-campers shouldn’t get a fine for parking here and not camping? But who will decide this? What if an angler unknowingly parks in a site that has been pre-booked and then that person comes along and can’t park in a location he/she has paid for due to an angler being there. There will surely be arguments.

An answer I received by a Parks representative was there is plenty of free car parking facilities along the shoreline road. This is completely untrue. There is main Golden Beach car park, Delray Beach car park, Flamingo Beach car park, and 1 to 2 little side car parks along the road and that’s all. This is about 4 to 5 guaranteed free access points for non-campers to access the beach. What about the other 20 we had, C1-C20? What if I want to fish at C3 for a few hours and not camp there? Do I need a permit?

Due to these fee regulations being so new and happening so quickly, Parks actually don’t fully know the answer right now as I write this, however they assure me they will know how it’s all going to work soon, once the regulations have had time to settle in. I was told that if I went to C3 or C4 tonight and parked in the car park just to go fishing and not camp, I would not get a fine at the moment, but this may change over the next 12 months. That’s the most information I can give you right now. But I promise, I will keep everyone up to date as I find out more. Parks are currently making a map of the non-permit car parking areas along the western section of the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park. When this is handed over, we will know where we can definitely park our vehicles for free to go fishing for the night. Back to the fishing…

The dreaded cold time of year for us Victorians is upon us and winter is certainly living up to its name at the moment with some extremely cold and windy days making life tough for us anglers. In saying all this we are graced with the odd calm day for fishing the surf here and there and those who are braving the cold and having a crack are actually coming up with the goods and I have had some great gummy shark photos sent to me, so thankyou guys for those.

The news of these winter gummies proves that these fish never actually leave and if you target your tide changes at night and use fresh baits you can dramatically increase your chances of catching a gummy shark in the winter. The next full moon should be a night everyone has a shot at chasing the winter gummies. The end of August is always the start of the gummy sharks being caught in better numbers and they are usually better sized fish as well.

The seven gill sharks are also present and the salmon are still around too. If you catch a salmon over the winter period, put a fillet on as bait and you will likely catch a gummy shark. Of course we always get plagued by draughtboard sharks this time of year, but I must admit that we haven’t seen as many of them this year as previous ones. Only a few more weeks’ guys and we are in prime gummy season again and even the snapper will start turning up as well, so not long now. Keep sending in your photos.

• For more information, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on (03) 5174 8544. 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!

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