Over the last few months the offshore fraternity have experienced possibly the most incredible fishing ever seen in the area. With warm currents and some epic bait schools it wasn't long before reports of marlin sighting started to filter through the fleet.
It only took a couple of dedicated crews a couple of days fishing and suddenly the cat was let out of the bag in a very big way. Reports of single boats raising a dozen or more striped marlin up to 120kg in a single afternoon suddenly became the norm, and it seemed every boat leaving the ramp was headed for the nearest rigs to experience what was described as the best marlin bite in Victorian history.
Trolling lumo skirts and dead skip baits proved to be the best method, while teasing fish up and casting live slimies at them also proved to be deadly. Many reports came from 40 miles or more out, although one was confirmed landed only 8km from the entrance, which just goes to show the fish are where the bait is. At this point in time there are still a few being caught and the bait is still thick, so don't think you've missed your chance just yet.
On the deeper reefs there have been good numbers of snapper in the 3-5kg bracket along with some solid morwong and nannygai. Coota have been in huge schools and have forced boats to move when they become too bad. In closer has been a phenomenal run of smaller gummies and school sharks in the 15-25m depth range. Squid, pilchard, fresh slimy mackerel and salmon fillets are dynamite, and remember if you anchor up, a good berley trail is required.
The surf beaches have been fishing incredibly well for salmon, tailor and after dark the gummies have been firing. Finding a good gutter is essential, and a little tuna oil and a few handfuls of diced up pillies thrown in, is as good a berley trail as you could get. Always fish the prime times like the top of the incoming tide, especially if it coincides with dawn or dusk. Fish the freshest baits possible and always have a metal lure rigged and ready in case one of the many salmon schools starts smashing bait within casting range. Pipi, squid and pilchards are the best baits but don't forget a white soft plastic grub or green surf popper if the crabs are bad.
Lakes Entrance has been fishing well, especially in Cunningham arm for flathead, whiting, garfish and trevally. When walking the jetties, you can see large schools of whiting feeding on the edges and, although most are just either side of legal, they are great fun especially if you are teaching your kids to fish. Pipi, peeled prawn and sandworm are best, while soft plastics are still accounting for some cracking big flathead and silver trevally along the deeper drop-offs and channels. Fish the pockets between the weed beds for best results. Natural mullet coloured shads or larger jerk baits work well, as big numbers of garfish are hanging around the weed beds and the flatties love eating them!
Some quality bream and luderick have been caught around the jetties and boat hulls on live prawns and shrimp fished on a slack line. Luderick have been caught on the Kalimna and Bullock Island rock walls on the traditional method of green weed under a running float.
The main channel has been fishing well for whiting (both school and King George) on the run-out tide near the red marker at Nyerimilang and the weed beds opposite Kalimna Jetty. Live shrimp, mussel, peeled prawn and cured sandworm all work a treat but be prepared to move a few times until you find the fish as they can be like ghosts and disappear in seconds.
Lake Tyers is still fishing incredibly well down on the bottom sand flats for bream and flatties on larger profile hardbody minnows and crankbaits. Bait fishing with peeled prawn or pilchard fillets is a sure fire way to put a good feed of fish on the table. The Glasshouse, Long Point, and Trident arm are good places to start your search and keep an eye out for surface feeding fish or bird activity. Large numbers of big garfish have been caught around the Mill Point boat ramp on sandworm under a float. If you catch one small enough put it out alive and have a go at some of the giant flatties and tailor that call this beautiful waterway home.
The snags in the upper reaches have been fishing well for bream and gars just below the Nowa Nowa ramp but the water is a little dirty so a bread crumb berley trail is a must for bringing the garfish to you.
It is with heavy heart that I announce this will be my final fishing report for this great publication. In my few years contributing I have met some great people and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the feedback readers have given me. Hopefully see you all out on the water.Reads: 606