It is hard to believe that it is almost Christmas again. With all the mad rushing around just for one day of the year, it’s a time that everyone enjoys – but also dreads! Thankfully it’s also a good time of year to wet a line and unwind.
The last month or so has been eventful to say the least, with Gippsland receiving strong winds and more flooding rain. We are not complaining about the rain, but we didn’t need it all at once. When the weather has been good, the fishing has been hot along Ninety Mile Beach, with some very good sharks taken from the various beaches, along with salmon, tailor, flathead and the odd small snapper.
The most common species of shark lately has been the bronze whaler, with some up to 2.1m in length. The smallest I have heard of is 1m. The best spots have been from the eastern side of Seaspray through to Reeves Beach near Woodside Beach.
Gummy sharks and school sharks have also been taken in good numbers. The gummies have ranged from 90cm through to 1.4m in length, and the school sharks have been from 90cm through to 1.2m. Good baits for these species are squid, fresh salmon, trevally or tailor fillets, bluebait and pilchards. The best spots are from Loch Sport through to McLoughlins Beach. The best time is around the full moon and the new moon.
The fishing for seven-gilled sharks should slow down soon as the water warms up. Nevertheless there is still the odd one being taken, as Kelvan La Porta showed. He caught a 24kg, 1.9m seven-gilled shark from the beach over at Ocean Grange – a great effort. He also reports he has landed good numbers of gummies and school sharks from the Ocean Grange beach, mostly at night, using baits of either cured eel or squid.
Salmon have been encountered along the length of the Ninety Mile Beach. The most consistent beaches have been Lake Tyers and Eastern beaches, where the fish average around 1kg, and the area from Loch Sport to McLoughlins Beach, which are producing fish up to 2kg. The salmon have been taking bluebait, whitebait, pilchard and blue or red surf poppers. Metal lures have also produced fish. Tailor have also been taken when targeting salmon, with some fish reaching 1kg.
Flathead are becoming a more common occurrence as the water warms. December and early January is normally a successful period for targeting flathead from the beach, particularly between Woodside and McLoughlins Beach. Some fish in the past have reached 4–5kg in this area, with the best baits being bluebait, whitebait, squid, pilchards, blue or red surf poppers and saltwater flies. Soft plastics are also well worth a try, using either a paternoster rig, or cast out and worked across the bottom if conditions allow.
A pinky snapper was taken from the Woodside Beach area recently, and with the start of the snapper run offshore there is a distinct possibility of landing one off the beach, particularly between Loch Sport and Seaspray. Pilchards, bluebait, squid and fresh salmon fillets generally work well.
I would like to wish all a safe and merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Get out there and enjoy some of the great surf fishing on offer at present. Don’t forget the Golden Beach Surf Fishing Competition, which is held every Australia Day long weekend in January.
If you have any photos of your catch from the Ninety Mile Beach, you can send them to me at the email address above, with some information on when and where. I will include it in one of the reports.