A little slow but ready to go
  |  First Published: September 2007

For one reason or another, the past month was a little slower than predicted. Now that spring is here, however, we should be up for one of the best seasons ever.

It has been interesting to see the difference in the perspective of anglers over the past 10 years. When I first started working in the fishing tackle industry, winter was the worst time of the year to own a fishing shop in Victoria. Now, winter is renowned for great sportfishing for species such as salmon, bream, trevally and even big gummy sharks. It is amazing to see how the sport has grown over the last four years and I think we owe a lot to the soft plastics and hardbodied lure craze that is in full swing at the moment.

McLoughlins and Manns beaches have been a little slow but it hasn’t been due to the lack of fisherman. This winter I have had more angler reports than in all the previous years put together. However, over July and August I have had a lot of anglers complaining to me about the commercial netting that has been going on in McLoughlins and Manns estuaries. Many anglers claim they have caught only a single salmon for a whole day’s fishing, which any keen angler in the area would know is a little strange. When anglers witness the netting occurring while they are fishing, they are obviously going to blame the commercial fishermen. Now I know that anecdotal evidence is no proof that a lack of fish is the fault of netters, but if it is the reason for a lack of fish, it is a real shame. Estuaries have so much more to offer the community, both socially, economically and environmentally, than just a finite amount of money that comes from sale of fish at a market.

Enough of my whingeing, I’ll get to the fishing news. As I said earlier, the salmon have been few and far between, with only a handful caught around Manns Beach entrance. The tailor have been more abundant, especially in the Shoal Channel. Bait fishing with squid on light paternoster rigs has produced most of the fish.

The garfish have made their presence well known in the Pelican Point area around Manns Beach. A heavy surface berley trail has been the key to success. Simply slack line a small piece of pipi or whitebait in the trail, or even use a float rig (the latter being the most popular method). These two methods will guarantee a garfish or two. I hear the gars have been up to 50cm. Mullet have been a by-catch for the bait fishermen and these little scrappers can be fun on light line when there is nothing else biting.

The very occasional estuary perch has been caught near the jetties at McLoughlins. Mark Thompson caught a nice ‘EP’ on a Vibrax spinner meant for trout of all things. Not too many people would think to use these on estuarine species such as estuary perch.

That’s about it for this month, but September and onwards should bring us some awesome fishing, especially with the good rains that we have been having.

For more information about fishing McLoughlins and Manns beaches, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 51748544.

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