Autumn has to be the most unpredictable time of year for any angler to hit the water. Each year the colder weather seems to arrive so gradually that we don’t even notice it. Before we know it, the water temperature is down to 14oC.
Many anglers start to get depressed and think the best of the fishing is all but gone – yet this is so far from the truth. The transition from warm to cold water brings such a diversity of species that the fishing can be truly spectacular. April and May brought us some unlikely combinations of species that could all be caught in the same day.
The McLoughlins estuary has been producing some awesome salmon on lures. The entrance has been the best place to target these fish and the outgoing tide has been very productive. Fellow VFM contributor Rod Booker and myself had a brilliant session in the entrance where we landed innumerable salmon, tailor and trevally.
The salmon were anywhere in size from small bay trout to 1kg lumpies. Jigging is by far the most productive way to target these fish. This can be done simply with a light rod such as a 1-3kg Strudwick and any metal lure like a Raider, Lazer or Gillies Baitfish. The method is to drop the lure down to the bottom whilst drifting through the entrance and to simply lift it up and down. If the fish are there, which they are and will be all winter, you will catch a fish every drop.
Once you are out the entrance and in rough water, head back in, and repeat this process. If the current is really running, you may only get 4-5 minutes of drifting till you have to move back out of the entrance. This method is very successful for a number of reasons. You cover heaps of water in a short time, you don’t get any weed on your lure like you do trolling, and you can catch a wide range of species in addition to salmon. Species such as trevally, mullet and even garfish that don’t normally chase down a metal lure will often take a jigged metal lure
The biggest talk in my shop at the moment has been the yellowfin and bluefin tuna being caught off the oil rigs in Bass Strait. The boys tell me it has been nearly 10 years since the last good tuna season off the rigs. Some of the tuna have been up to 35kg. The word on the grapevine has prompted some extremely keen and brave anglers to target these fish by boat – with some great results. Trolling Rapala X-Rap and River2Sea lures has been very successful. I have heard of a few reports of tuna busting up as close in as 10km offshore.
Moving to snapper, the autumn run of snapper was very successful this year, and some big reds were landed outside McLoughlins and Manns beaches. Wayne Redpath and his brother Anthony have been doing better than anyone on the reds at the moment. They have been consistently landing snapper to 9.5kg. Wayne tells me fresh bait has been the key and baits such as fresh trevally fillets have been great.
Nathan Rohde also had a great session outside McLaughlin’s landing two snapper, the biggest measuring 96cm which would have to be close to 10kg. He caught these fish on yakka heads and pilchards. He also hooked some fish on yakka heads that he couldn’t land, most likely big sharks, which he said was not surprising considering how many schools of yakkas are out there. There are also heaps of flathead offshore.
It has been a jam-packed month of fishing tales and I can only hope I have some stories half as good as these ones over the next couple of months. Good Luck! For more information on fishing McLoughlins and Manns beaches, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 51748544.Reads: 487