As winter gets into full swing and many anglers get cold feet, those keen fishermen who brave the cold have proven there are still plenty of good fish to be had.
Most anglers expect to catch only salmon at this time of year, and while they are lots of fun to catch, many shy away from them believing they are not the best fish to eat. A lot of keen fish eaters would disagree, saying that a fresh salmon that is bled, filleted and skinned straight after capture is as good on the table as any fish. Then there are those anglers, like myself, who just love the hard fight of a sportfish such as salmon and are strictly catch and release fishermen.
However, for those anglers that love a feed, it has been great to hear that good catches of whiting are still, yes, still being caught inside McLoughlins and Manns beaches. Most of the fish have been hooked around St Margarets Island and around the top end of Manns Beach near Robertsons Beach and Port Albert. Many of the fish have been around 35cm and most have been caught on Bass yabbies. The trick has been to find a good weed bed, anchor up and berley. Patience is required but the rewards will come. Light rigs are also necessary, so this means light line and small sinkers.
There have still been plenty of salmon caught and they are still ranging from 0.5–3kg. They are scattered all through the system, but both McLoughlins and Manns entrances have been producing the bulk of the fish. Trolling and jigging with metal lures has been the most successful. The trevally are also turning up in bigger numbers, so don’t be surprised if you hook one of these while jigging metal lures or baitfishing in a berley trail.
The one good thing about winter is the great number of windless days. This has allowed many anglers to navigate outside the McLaughlins entrance to chase the winter snapper. Most fish have been around the usual winter sizes of 35–45cm, but a few anglers have shown that persistence pays. Wayne Redpath caught some whopping big snapper while using pilchards and trevally fillets out on McLoughlins Reef. The fish ranged between 7 and 9kg and they also caught a few smaller pinkies as well.
Two lovely snapper ranging between 1 and 2.5kg were caught out on the reefs by14 year old, Brandon Mason. He was using fresh slimy mackerel fillets as bait. These fantastic catches show it is still worth fishing in winter, so get out there and give it a go.
For more information about fishing McLoughlins Beach, contact Will at Always Angling in Traralgon on 51748544.Reads: 1402