As winter generally goes, we have had cold mornings and mild days. This has giving us anglers plenty of fishing days to get out there and chase a few.
Mcloughlin and Manns beaches over winter are renowned for salmon, however this winter they have been hit and miss. There have been plenty of those smaller 500-750g fish around in the entrance at Mcloughlins during the run-in tide and they are scattered throughout the inlet around St Margarets Island and the Manns channel towards the snapper hole. Manns Entrance has been a better option and more reliable on the salmon; there have been days when the salmon are over 1kg. September is always worth trying for the bigger salmon and as the water temps warm slightly we generally get another run of really big salmon up to 3kg in weight in late September and into October.
The real surprise this month was the trevally. Mcloughlins and Manns beaches had good numbers of trevally and some of them were massive. I saw fish over 40cm caught this month but I heard anecdotal reports of trevally over 50cm caught up towards Manns Beach and some of the channels around St Margarets Island. Soft plastics are definitely the go and the end of the run-in tide and start of the run-out is when all the trevally have been caught. They are spread over the weed beds a bit around St Margarets Island and most of the deep gutters have been holding them as well.
A few local gurus have always told me that August is the time to start chasing the really big 70cm+ blue spot flathead inside, and we saw some fish close to that recently. The cold water certainly shuts them down but doesn’t make them disappear.
The key to catching flatties is to get them active. This can be done with berley – a lot of it! This is why garfishers often get good flathead as a by-catch as they are always using berley and creating a food chain. The sand flats around Manns and port Albert have been producing some massive flathead in the past few weeks and they are only going to get easier to catch over September and October.
If any warm days come up, definitely get the 3-4” soft plastics out, but if the water temps remain cold hit the shallow areas and use lots of berley.
The thing I love about owning a tackle store is the amount of learning I get to do every day. In Victoria, winter is definitely the time when three-quarters of the anglers stop fishing and it’s only the fishoholics that keep going – rain, hail or shine. This means that a lot of our knowledge of species diversity and habits are relatively unknown over winter. This year I have learnt a lot and I would say to anyone don’t be pessimistic about winter fishing. The amount of gummy sharks, big flathead and even snapper that have been caught offshore this winter is a real eye-opener.
The gummy shark fishing off from Port Albert has been especially good in close and some anglers have been lucky enough to get 2-3 gummies in a session.
The tide changes seem to be the important thing to remember when chasing winter gummies, along with fresh bait such as salmon, trevally or squid. The good thing is that there have been no small gummies, they have all been around the 4ft mark and some a bit bigger.
The flathead, as always in winter, have been sensational and have been averaging the 40cm and are in 20-35m.
We heard of some really good sized pinkies (50cm) recently caught out at Cliffy Island, which shows they probably don’t all leave and there are populations that hang around over winter. The pinkies have been caught by anglers drifting for flathead. It will definitely be worth chasing an inside snapper this month.
I can’t believe we are already in the start of the snapper/gummy season again. It has gone so quick, I can’t wait to send in the first snapper pics of the season. Good Luck!
• 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: 1319