You can definitely feel a change of season in the air! Cooler mornings and nights, with a water temperature that has dropped back to around 17°C at the time of writing, and I imagine will drop another degree as May approaches. Don’t despair though, the fishing is still going strong, especially when we are talking about Victoria’s favourite bread and butter species such as gummy sharks, snapper and whiting.
Salmon numbers have also increased. For those of you that don’t know, autumn is when we get the winter run of salmon, and not just any salmon, the big black back salmon that are upwards of 2kg and can reach as heavy as 4kg. Both the entrances of McLoughlins beach and Manns Beach are chockers full of good-sized salmon averaging 1-1.5kg. Not only do they make a great sportfish, they are also dynamite bait for gummy sharks and snapper.
The whiting are still going great, McLoughlins have had some better-sized ones too, with the odd 45cm+ whiting caught on pipis and squid. I personally think there’s better numbers at Port Albert though. Anglers are still catching flathead inside on soft plastics but they are getting tougher and continue to be tough into May. Offshore is the place to target bigger flathead, especially in May and June.
Another snapper run was most welcomed. We saw some whopping big models caught in late March and April, as always happens there were some cracker specimens up to 20lb caught out on the reefs in around 20m of water. But the humble gummy shark stole the spotlight over the past month with countless numbers of whopping big models up to and over 20kg caught out the front of McLoughlins and Manns beach entrances. Some were caught on the drift but most were caught on anchor with berley. Even a few kingfish got caught on the reefs out front as by-catch. Pilchards were probably one of the best baits used, but as I mentioned above, the big salmon that are in the entrances have given anglers a golden opportunity to have the freshest bait that will all but guarantee a good gummy shark or bronze whaler.
The whiting have continued to be the mainstay of Port Albert fishers and most anglers are still managing between 20-40 whiting in a session. I wouldn’t say any tide is better than others but I will say I personally think the evenings have been fishing better. Pipis and squid have been the best baits, there has been no need to pump nippers but they will still work a treat if you want to use them. Out front the gummy sharks have been really good in Whale Bay and Bentley Harbour and the tide changes have been the best times to fish. There are still heaps of big slimy mackerel around so if you take a bait jig out with you and berley, you will have no trouble getting a heap of good quality bait. Out really wide, the gummies are big and not many are under 12kg. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you drift or anchor. There are plenty of pinkies to 35cm on the footy oval reefs as well and they will continue through to May. Don’t forget about the kings, the season is a bit late this year so you could still catch kingfish until June, if the weather stays mild.
• For more information, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 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!Reads: 653