The peak of summer and early autumn is when Metung delivers the goods and right on cue we have seen an influx of species – with a few additional surprises. Although the bream are yet to turn up, just about every other species has set up in Metung at the moment, including a few large elusive kingfish. The flathead have been very slow to fire this summer, and for whatever reason it may not be a stellar dusky season. The real prime time for flatties is still a few months away so they may surprise us yet.
A little while ago I heard a few whispers via text that small kingfish to 65cm were caught at Metung. It's not the first time I've heard of kingies there, and murmurings seem to surface most years during summer. This time a few photos have turned up, with the biggest one so far a nice metre long. I know they grow a lot bigger offshore, but an estuary kingfish that size is a nice by-catch as you chase bream or flathead.
As soon as I heard about the kingfish I quickly took off and had a look down at Metung. I worked some big plastics and large heavy blades around the Metung FADs. These large concrete structures were dropped down near the long boardwalk and at Nungurner. To find the exact location of these manmade reefs go to the agriculture.vic.gov website for maps and more info. I also tried in a few deeper parts of the lake, but alas no kingies for me. I wasn't too disappointed because I caught plenty of other fish to keep me amused and it turned into a fairly hot bite over the next 3 hours. The pinkies are a bit bigger this year and 15 reached my net. They all went 27- 32cm so I kept two of the bigger ones for a feed. I also landed a couple of nice flathead to 37cm, two fat trevally, and few good-sized tailor to 45cm. I caught all of these fish on the new Hurricane Sting 37 blade in the black magic colour. I'm sure I could have caught a lot more pinkies, but I left them to try and find flathead in the shallows. I kept five fish for the table and it was a nice mixed bag.
I used the trevally to make sushi rolls and if you don't already know, trevally is excellent for raw fish dishes. The flesh is very firm and perfect for sashimi as well. It's important to keep the fish cold when you catch them to keep the flesh firm.
A lot of people chase pinkies on lures. The eastern part of the Gippy Lakes has probably always had a boom and bust run of snapper over the years, but I only hear about it from the ‘good old boys.’ In fact these wily ol' timers still know where, how and when to chase the bigger snapper and say fishing at night on a changing tide will yield quite a few 2-4kg fish. During the day there seems to be a never ending run of pinkies and I watched a couple of fellas work small soft plastics from their tinny and have a lot of fun with them. They anchored up right across the bay opposite the Metung pub in the deeper fast flowing channel. Hooking the fish was the real problem as most of the pinkies tail grabbed the wriggle styled lures. When the guys switched to 35mm blade lures their catch rate improved out of sight. Small fish, but big fun and a tasty treat for home.
Anglers who fish from Metung to Kalimna have been raving about the big number of KGs around. I flagged this in my last report but I didn't realise the sheer volume of whiting in that area and the countless happy anglers lifting them out! Talk around the boat ramps and word of mouth indicates that everyone is bagging out. It's fair to say they are not big fish, most between 28-34cm with a few bigger and smaller. A few dedicated whiting gurus have informed me that late afternoon is the best time to target them. They use small hooks as sometimes the fish only take tiny mussel or squid baits. Rigging up like this can be the difference between a bag and not losing bait. Flannagan Island is still the prime area to search, although I saw plenty landed at Shaving Point and Bancroft Bay. It's interesting that Port Albert and Welshpool are also experiencing a super season on the whiting and I wonder why the recruitment levels are so high this and last year. Let's hope it keeps up for a few more years yet.
The bream fishing has been hard to figure out at the moment. Some nice tallies have come out of the Tambo with fish to 41cm on frozen prawn not far from the Johnsonville boat ramp. I put in three hours above the highway bridge one afternoon and scored twelve nice bream to 39cm on sinking hardbodies. So the Tambo is probably the go-to river at the moment because the Mitchell seems to be full of little squeaker bream in the thousands. The Nicho has been quiet and not much talk from areas like Newlands or Duck Arm. I just know this will all change very soon. Prime bream time is only weeks away.Reads: 1139