Sudden temperature changes are taking their toll
  |  First Published: May 2017

Once again the town is busy. The caravan park is still full. It’s worth noting this is one of the biggest parks in Australia with over 800 powered sites all booked out. This year has been a bumper year for all businesses in Mallacoota. The past month has seen some good fishing both offshore and in the lake with a few fish also caught off the beach.

Fishing the beach has seen good salmon caught on lures with anglers walking the beach and tossing lures into the gutters until fish are found, the average size has been around the kilo mark.

The big news at present is the big fish kill. Small leatherjackets washed up on the beaches as far south as Marlo and up to the NSW border. The reason is unsure, but it looks to be related to water temperature, as the water has been over 20°C and it dropped to 15°C overnight. Out wide the temperature is around 24°C.

The fishing out wide has been good with broadbill being caught by anglers prepared to do the long run out there. A number of mahimahi have also been caught along with some striped tuna. The coming months should see the southern bluefin tuna make an appearance. Fingers-crossed the weather is good over this period, allowing boats to get amongst them.

The flathead fishing for both tigers and sandies has been great with good numbers of big fish caught. With the water temperature dropping out, fish have gone off the bite. The same could be said for the yellowtail kingfish with a few caught and hooked earlier in the month with little to report since then.

The boat launching ramp at Bastion Point is being dredged, because it was too shallow and making the access near impossible at low tide. The entrance to the lake is getting very shallow and it wouldn’t surprise me if it closes over the coming months, if we don’t get any significant rain.

In the lake there have been big sand whiting caught along with silver trevally. The bottom lake along with Harrisons Channel have been fishing well. Streams of dead leatherjackets are also drifting into the lake and yellowfin bream have been caught with stomachs full of leatherjackets.

While guiding in the bottom lake I recently spotted a big tropical red spotted turtle. With the water temperature at 22°C, it’s still swimming. When it drops in the coming months, I don’t fancy the turtle’s chances. Flathead are still being caught throughout the top and bottom lake with plenty of good eating-size fish around 36cm.

The native bream fishery hasn’t been up to scratch for a number of years. Some anglers haven’t noticed with better than usual runs of the visiting yellowfin bream. I’ve been lure fishing for bream along this system for 30 years, back even when netting was allowed, and I have never seen it this bad.

Fisheries tell us these big bream are over 15 years old, so I dare to suggest things are not going to improve in a hurry. It needs to be remembered that at some stage over the past 10 years, every big bream has spent a number of weeks in front of the caravan park!

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