Surprises make our great sport engaging and addictive. The mystery, the extraordinary captures and the joys of discovery are all part of why we fish. I have a mulloway story to share with you that has amazed bait anglers and totally shocked everyone who throws lures in the Gippsland Lakes. Even more bizarre is the news of two gummy sharks caught in the system as well. This report will delight you with what anglers have discovered recently and highlights some of the secret treasures we are so blissfully unaware of.
About six times every year I have discussions or debates about Gippy Lake mulloway. I’m often asked the question – ‘do mulloway live in the system and can they be caught?’ More often than not, I don’t have a concrete answer to this. Historically they have shown up here for decades, and I’ve heard plenty of long drawn out stories of big fish caught on rods and a few in nets. Mostly from blokes who ‘know a bloke’ who caught one. Second-or third-hand stories and never pictures to back it up. They have always been a super rare capture, and I’ve heard of only one or two ever caught on lure in the last 20 years. I talked to a bloke at the Eagle Point boat ramp two years ago who caught four big mulloway in Jones Bay on tailor fillets during the middle of the night. Yet again, no photos but it probably had to be true because it’s hard to even make up a story like that! I fish the Gippy Lakes at least 30-40 times a year and I throw lures for about 6-8 hours each time. Multiply that by 16 years. I know more than a dozen other lure anglers who put in a similar effort and not one of us has ever hooked even a little mulloway. I just need you to know how elusive and scarce they are in these parts. Most of us have realised they belong in the ‘too hard basket’.
Wayne Morley changed all of that the other day when he landed the jackpot in the shape of a 72cm mulloway caught on a metal bream blade.
Wayne and Mark Ramsay were in the boat up near Lake Wellington catching a few flathead and bream, when Wayne suddenly hooked and began to fight something big and heavy. Mark has caught mulloway with fellow VTFM scribe Stuart Hindson and knew what it was very early into the battle. Mark has often talked about his passion to catch mulloway and spent hours telling me how and where he was going to get them on lures. I always thought he was mad and dreaming! I even got sucked into trying to catch them with him as he showed me all the tricks Stuie Hindson has armed him with. Well Mark, I eat my words – you are right, it can be done! Huge congrats to Wayne and thanks for sending me all the photos. I know this much mate – you tie very good knots!
You would have to be hiding under two rocks to have missed all the talk about kingfish caught from Metung to Lakes Entrance this past summer. These fish have been an incredible addition to the variety of target species now on offer in Gippy Lakes. I have heard a report of one angler who tried to target kings with big pilchards and anchored his boat up at Metung in fairly deep water. About 30 minutes later his rod buckled over but there was no kingfish on the hook. Much to his surprise, up popped a gummy shark no less than 5ft long! But wait, there’s more. The next fish on board is once again not the target species. This time it’s ‘just’ a 4ft gummy! These two captures have fair dinkum shocked me. I’ve never heard of any species of shark caught in the Gippy Lakes and nor has anyone I know. Not from the Entrance, let alone right up at Metung; and not just any old gummies but a couple of thumpers. It may be rare, but I’m speechless!
So now for some ‘normal’ bream news! Matty White from Stratford has again scored some of the biggest bream recently using both lures and spider crabs. His best two measured 44cm and 46cm and he sent me more pictures and stories of big fish from 40-43cm. Once again the Straits have been the hotspot, with the odd trip to Metung or the Mitchell. Quite often Matty leaves the boat at home and takes the family down to Hollands Landing for a land-based trip and still gets his girls pulling in big bream. And to top all that off, I have just received pictures of his daughter holding up a 43cm river bass, one of four caught on a hardbody lure just before dark. Funny, he seems to have ‘forgotten’ where they found them!
Just as I’m about to send this report I hear another mulloway has been caught in Lake Wellington. Wow, two of them now caught within a week and to think hardly anyone is even targeting them. I’ll have more news about this next time.Reads: 689