Windless days and gorgeous early spring weather: the fishing season has started! Well, for some, fishing season never stops, but for the snapper and gummy fishers the season is now in full swing.
The flathead still haven’t made their presence well known, which is unfortunate for the soft plastics fishers. As each week passes and the water gets warmer, however, more and more flatties will enter both McLoughlins and Manns.
The bait fishers have been having a ball on the garfish. There are still plenty of gars scattered throughout the Shoal Channel into Manns entrance. Some of the locals have been telling me the fish have been on the bottom, so paternoster and running sinker rigs have been the most successful. The good thing about the latter rig is if there are any whiting around, you have a chance of catching them too. Small pieces of pipi and bluebait flesh have been the best baits. The gars are very aggressive, so if they are schooled up they will certainly take a soft plastic as well.
The salmon were a little slow last month, however there seem to be a few more swimming around in the entrances at the moment, with a few tailor alongside them. Traditionally McLoughlins produces some big salmon in October and November and with any luck the big fellows will arrive soon.
The big word on the grape vine is the snapper are already on the go. They are getting caught consistently out on the McLoughlins reefs all the way down to the Lakes Entrance reefs. Most fish have been 2kg or less, however one of my customers told me of one he caught around the 7kg mark. The usual squid and pilchards have been the most successful baits, and interestingly enough I have been selling heaps of Storm 10” Sandeels, so I am keen to hear how they go on the snapper.
The gummy season is in full swing, and plenty of fish around 1m have been caught in fairly close to the entrances. Some of the boaties aren’t going out far at all to get their bag of gummies. A few seven-gilled sharks have been caught as by-catch, and these will continue into December. Fresh salmon fillets have been the best bait for the gummies, yet pilchards, squid and bluebait have been good options too.
There have been many schools of salmon working only about 100m outside the entrances, and the fish are up to 2.5kg. If you want to target these fish just look for the birds working and throw around some metal lures such as Raiders and Lazers, or get the flyrod out and cast a blue or green polar fiber minnow imitation around. They are an awesome looking fly and work a treat on the big salmon.
The draughtboard sharks have still been making a nuisance of themselves, stealing all the baits meant for snapper and gummies, but hopefully they will not be around for much longer. It’s been predicted this will be the best snapper season in many years, and considering how many gummies have already been taken, it looks like it will be a ripper gummy season as well.
For more information about fishing McLoughlins and Manns beaches, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 51748544.Reads: 690