Well, it was a late start to the season but all things come to he who waits. It’s been probably the best fishing I’ve seen in years and it doesn’t look like it’s going to quieten off anytime soon.
The offshore fishing has been nothing short of outstanding for the past few months and with anglers catching bulk amount of gummy sharks, pinkie snapper, kingfish, flathead and elephant fish; who could complain?
Out from McLoughlins Beach, we recently had a run of very big snapper. We saw good numbers of those 85cm+ sized snapper caught out on the reefs between 18-21m. The key was to fish early and late or on the tide changes with pilchards and squid.
Lots of eater pinkies to 40cm were also caught mixed in with the big ones. In fact, the pan-sized pinkies have been present in huge numbers out from Mcloughlins and Manns Beach entrances and spread out wide right around to the prom on the reefs in 30m of water.
Nevertheless, the real talk has been the gummy shark fishery in the past month. If you thought you could never catch up to 10 gummy sharks in a day then you are wrong, multiple anglers have boated this many gummy sharks recently in a single session indicated there are a huge number of gummy sharks in our waters. Most of the gummies are around the 3ft mark but the odd 5ft is there as well.
Just remember the bag limit of gummy sharks is 2 per person, most anglers are doing the right thing and releasing all their sharks after reaching their bag. If you can get fresh bait, you can’t go wrong and there are plenty of schools of slimy mackerel and salmon around to catch for bait.
The kingfish have been out on the snapper reefs and caught as by-catch by snapper/gummy anglers. They have also been seen spotted busting up on baitfish as well. There are heaps of 60-70cm specimens mixed together and they have been wide spread out towards the drop-offs of the prom. Most anglers have been trolling small skirted lures around for the kings and then jigging with knife jigs once the fish have been found.
The flathead are starting to slow up slightly however, drifting out wide is still the best option and there are good numbers of fish to 40cm in 20m+ of water. Over the next month the flatties will probably go deeper and 30m+ will be good depths to try.
The whiting have been very poor in size, plenty of undersized whiting have been caught at Port Albert and Mcloughlins Beach only a handful of legal sized ones. Just recently we heard some better reports of anglers starting to get close to their bag limit of better-sized whiting to 30cm – still no record breakers, but keepers none-the-less. We have a few more weeks left of chasing whiting, then it will be time to head to Western Port for those late autumn and winter whiting we all love.
The blue spot flathead are still going well and plenty of 40cm specimens have been caught and the odd 60cm+ fish are there too. Soft plastics are accounting for most of the flatties, but setting up a berley trail and using pipis and blue bait have been great options as well.
At Port Albert there has been a few schools of big salmon in the estuary. Mark mid-May in your calendar, as this is when I target those big black backed salmon every year at McLoughlins. You can almost set your watch to them, they always come in on the run-in tide in mid-May and they are huge and will test your gear, so get ready!
• 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: 469