The Gippsland Lakes water temperature has increased and so has the fishing. Plenty of dusky flathead are starting to work the drop-offs and shallow flats through the lake’s system. Many fish have been taken on soft plastics such as the Berkley 3” or 4” minnows and similar minnow patterns in smelt, chartreuse and camo worked on a combination of 1/12-1/8oz jigheads, depending on water depth. As usual, they’ve taken a serious liking to expensive hardbodies and are quick to suck them down.
Our local towns have produced great fishing lately with solid catches of silver trevally and mullet, on two productive wharfs – the Post Office Wharf and Ferrymans Cafe Wharf in the town centre. The gear of choice has been to use cut pilchard or sandworm under a float with about 6-8ft of line between your float and hook.
King George whiting are showing up around the wharfs with many anglers catching good numbers each session. The major key to success is to use good quality polarised sunnies, making it easier to see whiting roll and flash as they dig worms out of the sandy bottom.
Whiting are on the move. This fun fish has begun to spread through the weed and sand flats around most of the lake, particularly concentrated around Rigby Island and Fraser Island. With the use of a simple paternoster rig or running sinker rig, matched up to 6-8lb leader or main line, with the rod and reel combo to suit, you’ll quickly find some great fishing.
A major key to consistent success is to use fresh bait like local worms and mussels. These baits are extremely productive and continue to produce fish through school holidays – when the waterways are at their busiest and usually hardest to catch fish. Increasing numbers of anglers target this great sportfish with soft plastics and other small lure presentations. I’ve found great success with Berkley Sandworms and Marukyu worms. These present a non-refusable snack for a hungry King George whiting hunting the edges of weed beds.
To catch whiting on soft plastics, find a suitable jighead. Many jigheads are made with too large a hook. In my experience, you can’t do much better than Dragon micro jigheads or homemade jigheads fitted with a longshank hook. These allow use of the hook without a massive gap, so whiting with their small mouths can suck the whole soft plastic for an easy hook-up.
The lake has been extremely productive with usual species like bream, flathead and tailor hunting along weedy edges of the lake. Recent reports indicate the large amount of dusky flathead are on the move with 70cm+ flathead being caught more regularly. The iconic fish are hunting sand and rocky flats throughout the main lake and Nowa Nowa arm.
Bait fishing has been extremely productive with many anglers finding success with prawn or glassies. These offerings have been fished lightly-weighted along the edges of sand flats or around fallen trees. In a healthy estuary such as Lake Tyers, these baits rarely last very long.
The many scattered bays and points throughout Lake Tyers have produced great bream fishing lately. Success comes from fat hardbodies such as the Jackall Chubby in brown suji. This great lure and similar patterns have been worked along weed edges and scattered rocky points with nice catches.
Focus on the speed that you retrieve your lure. I found best results have come with an extremely slow roll – allow the lure to keep contact with the bottom and push dirt and silt of the bottom. This makes your lure look like it’s grubbing along the bottom like the small bait fish.
Offshore fishing has been reasonably productive with quality pinkie snapper taken on the Eight and Twelve Mile reefs. This iconic sportfish has mainly been caught using traditional tactics of bottom bashing with pilchard, squid and tuna fillets for bait – bites come thick and fast. For by-catches, persistent bottom bashing regularly produces morwong, leather jackets, nannygai and many unwelcome by-catches such as barracouta.
Early sunrises on the surf have produced great sportfish with consistent catches of salmon and tailor. Anglers have won out on spin gear with metal lures, such as AusTackle Sluggos, which offer a great blue bait or white bait pattern. These are perfect for chasing pelagic species as they match the food source that salmon and tailor feed on.
Bait has consistently caught fish. Use a paternoster rig with fresh blue bait or white bait when fishing our local surf beaches. Extend the length of line between your bottom hook and sinker to about 75cm+. This makes your baits sit higher in water and will stop the local sand crabs from eating it to give the fish a chance to find your bait.
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Tailor are a common by-catch when working large soft plastics in search of dusky flathead.
Another quality bream taken on a Jackall Chubby worked off a rocky point.
Local angler Lindsay Pryke with a quality bream taken on a well-presented soft plastic.
Double hook-ups are coming, think fast.Reads: 1931