Get ready for action
  |  First Published: March 2005

With another Christmas holiday season over, Mallacoota has returned back to its natural state as a quiet little town with loads of appeal.

It won’t be long before the water starts to cool down, the days get shorter and the fishing really starts to fire up. The black bream move towards the rivers and the flathead do the same to avoid the cold water pushing in from the southern ocean. This time last year I also landed three great jewfish – the smallest weighing 10kg and the largest nudging 17.5kg – all on soft plastics in the middle of the day. With the great fishing that was had over the Christmas period, everyone is excited about the upcoming month.

Front Lake

The front lake around Mallacoota has been fishing well with bream, sand whiting and yellow-eye mullet being caught on nippers around the entrance. Trevally, luderick and King George whiting are still being caught along with plenty of small flathead around the John Bull marker. These fish are coming in on soft plastics and bait.

The jewfish captures this summer have been pretty ordinary with only three jews being landed - one at around 8kg. With plenty of sightings of jew up to 20kg, let’s hope they will fire up as expected this month.

Top Lake

The top lake has been fishing very well for big garfish; a bit of berley and a light line is all that’s needed to catch a feed of these great tasting fish.

The Rivers

Heading up the Genoa River around Cape Horn and Gypsy Point there have been some good catches of black bream. The majority of these fish have been caught on sandworm and prawn with soft plastic anglers having to pull every trick out of their bags to be successful. The upper reaches have been fishing well for estuary perch, but you do need to be in the right spot at the right time for these fussy feeders.

Bass have been a real challenge for those prepared to bush bash their way up the rivers.


The salmon from the beaches are not present in big numbers with a few fish being caught in the 1–2kg bracket. A few gummy sharks are also being taken and one angler did battle with a 7ft bronze whaler while fishing on Quarry Beach, south of Mallacoota.

Betka River

With the Betka River still open to the ocean, those who are soaking baits are catching all the usual species. Fish to come in have been bream, luderick, trevally and flathead while the best baits have been nippers, shrimp and prawn.

Concerned locals

The overfishing of flathead is one point of concern for many locals and was first brought out into the open two years ago. Victorian Fisheries addressed the matter within six months and implemented a new bag limit of five fish per person, per day. With four anglers in the boat, that’s 20 fish per day with no possession limit. One or two weeks holiday can still have a great impact on flathead stocks.

Considering many of these fish are just over legal size, it means the future breeding females are going to become a lot scarcer. On top of this, NSW is yet to amend their bag limit, currently allowing 20 flathead to be kept in specific circumstances.

It’s scary to think what could happen to our flathead fishery. Any angler who does a fair bit of fishing can see that without being responsible, the fishing will become more and more difficult as fish numbers continue to decrease.

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