Flathead firing offshore
  |  First Published: August 2016

Winter has well and truly set in now and inside water temperatures have dropped to around 10-11°C, but offshore remains in at around 13-14°C, creating a wide range of opportunities for anglers to catch a range of species.

Inside McLoughlins and Manns beach, salmon remains the main target with McLoughlins being unpredictable. Some anglers are catching them one day and then none the next. However, anglers have reported numerous baits schools and lots of birds diving and working just outside the entrance.

Manns entrance seems to be a bit more productive, producing mixed sized salmon from 30-50cm on the run-in tide. Metal slug lures or heavy weighted soft plastics have been the best, and there has also been the odd trevally getting caught, especially by perch anglers so the trevally seem to be more abundant in the perch areas and are taking soft plastics easily. There’s also tailor throughout the whole system, but they’re as unpredictable like the salmon.

In Port Albert, the water temperature has dropped to around 11°C, as well making almost every summer species absent except for whiting, calamari and bulk garfish. The whiting are being caught in water anywhere from 5-10 meters deep in the Port Albert, Drum and Snake channels. The run-in tide has been the best here using pipis, squid and prawns.

The calamari are biting well on the last bit of the run-in tide and the slack high. Size 2.5 and 3.0 jigs have by far been the best. The squid sizes have been small to medium, from 15-25cm hood lengths; however, I have seen some better models caught off the Port Albert jetty at night.

As for the garfish, they are going really well, especially around the new moon. The shallows around Sunday Island have been very successful, and so has the channel towards Kearneys entrance. The gars are big and there’s plenty around the 40cm mark. The run-in tide has been the best time, but I have had a few good reports from anglers fishing the run-out.

Berley is very import for the gars, and anchoring in the right position to keep the garfish behind the boat is even more important. This goes for the whiting at Port Albert as well, you must have berley!

Offshore, there’s more flathead than you can poke a stick at and even in close around 15-18m of water has been productive for small table-sized flathead flathead from 30-40cm. They are being caught on the drift with squid, pilchards and blue bait.

Out wider around the islands, there are stacks of barracouta smashing bait schools. There’s great bait around out wide and it’s definitely worth trying for some winter kingfish or pinkies. If this doesn’t go to plan, you can always drift for a big winter gummy.

• 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!

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