Whiting, flathead and snapper everywhere
  |  First Published: December 2016

Mcloughlins and Port Albert have warmed up now and the whiting, pinkies and snapper are all going crazy – get down there now for a look. At Mcloughlins, the channels around St Margarets Island are fishing very well for whiting in 2-3m of water. They’re a good size this year and there’s been plenty around the 38cm mark. Fish of 45-48cm are mixed in as well.

The biggest whiting I’ve seen from the region has been in this area. There’s some ripper pinkie snapper mixed in as well and we have seen them up to 38cm. The main target at McLoughlins has been those southern bluespot flathead. They have been caught in excess of 65cm lately on soft plastics like ZMans and Berkleys in the 2.5-4” size range. The run-out tide has produced the most fish. There have been a few exception days where they went better on the run in tide. Don’t fish too deep; anywhere from 1.5-2.5m seems to be the best.

The entrance isn’t looking good at the moment. It’s running hard to the left and close to the beach so be very careful if you’re thinking of fishing offshore from Mcloughlins this summer – it’s very dangerous right now. For this reason, there haven’t been too many reports other than on the ultra-flat calm days when anglers can get out on the reefs. They’ve been catching quality snapper to 6kg and some good gummies to 1.2m in length.

At Port Albert this past month has been amazing and the snapper really came on the chew, with water temperatures increased. It seemed the water was going to stay at 15°C forever, but in the space of a week the water hit 17-19°C and the snapper went berserk. Anglers caught most of the snapper in the Snake Channel and the peak times were the last of the run in tide and the last bit of the run out tide. There were some quality fish caught to 80cm. The prime bait was squid. A few smaller 3kg fish have been taken on pilchards as well.

Whiting have been the main target at Port Albert this season. The average fish ranges 38-41cm. Who can blame anyone for targeting this prime fish? Main locations have been the Port Albert Channel before the basket beacon and just after it in 4-8m of water.

Finding the weed beds is the key. Whiting have been hanging very close to the weed, so either use your polarized sunnies to find weed patches on the edge of the channel and your sounder to find those deep water weed beds. There are plenty in the Drum Channel and the Snake Channel. There are heaps of whiting and pinkies.

The best baits have been pipis and fresh squid strips fished on a paternoster rig. Use bigger sinkers of up to 2oz if there is a lot of of current, especially during mid tide in the shallow water. When fishing deep, you may need up to 4oz and sometimes 6oz. Decrease the size of the lead once the tide starts slowing down and you approach slack water. Both run in and run out tides have fished well on whiting.

Pinkies are numerous now and there are heaps of undersized ones. Good table fish to 30-40cm are mixed in with the whiting. Use squid, pipis and small pieces of salmon or trevally for the pinkies. Cast out larger baits to get the bigger pinkies and snapper. The snapper, pinkies and whiting have all been caught in the same locations, so don’t be afraid to target all of them at the same time. That’s what makes Port Albert such an awesome fishery.

For the land-based Port Albert anglers, you guys have an opportunity to catch whiting at the moment. Land-based anglers have managed to catch up to half a dozen at a time on pipis. There are plenty of small pinkies mixed in as well. Over the next month, flathead will really come on the chew on the jetties. Make sure you’re there during the last of the run in tide.

• 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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