Loch Sport may be a small coastal town but it offers plenty of fishing options for the keen angler. You can chase estuary species or walk to the beaches and cast into the surf. With a population of around 1,000 people, Loch Sport is only a 45-minute drive from Sale, via Longford.
It’s a popular holiday destination and provides all the water sports opportunities of other places, such as Paynesville and Lakes Entrance, without the crowds.
For a little known hideaway, Loch Sport is big on features. The town is right on the shores of Lake Victoria, which is part of the huge Gippsland Lakes system, also popular amongst water skiing and yachting enthusiasts.
The Lakes National Park is located to the east of town, where the unsealed tracks are in good condition, even for two wheel drive vehicles. Birds and other wildlife can be seen while you quietly walk through the park. Keep your eyes out for wild hog deer that also call the park home. Kangaroos often visit the township, dining on the front lawns of local homes.
Loch Sport is close to the middle of the magnificent Ninety Mile Beach. Access to the surf is gained by crossing the causeway over Lake Reeve, where a car park and toilet block is located. Visiting the beach outside of holiday times will probably mean having the place to yourself. Even at peak times over Christmas, the beach is rarely packed out.
In the surf, Loch Sport is probably best known for its salmon. They often weigh in at 2kg or better, and are a year round proposition. At night is when the fun really starts, especially through the warmer months when gummy sharks turn up in good numbers. They can also be caught during winter.
There are a few specialist gummy anglers who only target them during daylight hours. Another band of dedicated anglers paddle lines out over the surf for some 200m, to target bronze whalers and seven-gill sharks. I’ve seen them land plenty over 2 and even 3m! There are also plenty of skates and rays, the odd snapper to 10kg, and every year someone usually pulls in a great white shark, which creates much excitement about town. The last big great white I saw pictures of, landed a few years ago, was about 3.5m long. They are a protected species and must be returned to the water, despite nervous disbelief from nearby swimmers!
At the other end of the scale, I’ve targeted much smaller fish, using sandworm in the wash, close to the shore. A little river rod and a fairly big bean sinker is all that’s required. Just flick the worm over the wash. Mullet and sand whiting find the sandworm irresistible although a box won’t last long if the fish are thick.
This lake is part of the massive Gippsland Lakes system, and how’s this for a range of species on offer? Tailor, mullet, bream, whiting, dusky flathead, estuary perch, small salmon, garfish, eels, luderick and leatherjackets. Other occasional catches include sea run brown trout. Carp are very rarely encountered nowadays due to the influx of saltwater into the lake. At night, flounder and prawns are also an option. All of these species can be caught in the area without a boat. The lake foreshore has clear access for its entire length and the local jetty extends well out into Lake Victoria. Those fishing from a boat will probably catch more fish close to shore, in a metre or two of water, where large sand flats punctuate the weedy bottom. Fishing sandworms under a float will account for mullet, luderick, garfish and bream. Perch and flathead will definitely respond better to small soft plastic lures fished on a very light jighead.
There is a double lane concrete boat ramp near the caravan park. It’s easy to find and is well sign-posted. There’s plenty of parking too for at least 40 or 50 car and trailers. Further east, the marina has recently been overhauled with brand new moorings and walkways. Over 30 vessels are stored here including catamarans, large yachts and a few hire boats as well. The marina is serviced by a single boat ramp.
The Loch Sport General Store is a licensed post office with online EFTPOS. There is plenty of bait and tackle for sale and even boat and caravan storage available.
The Lodgeis a licensed supermarket, newsagency and deli, with fresh produce and plenty of bait and tackle. Budget accommodation is also on offer.
Live sandworm is available from Frankies Service Station. Auto andmarine repairs can be sought here too as well as up to the minute fishing reports (03) 5146 0511.
There’s take away food in town. I visit the bakery nearly every time I’m fishing down this way for one of their beaut meat pies!
There is an 18-hole golf course just before you enter town, and for just $10 you can play all day! The Loch Sport Boat Club has regular sailing events, with the Easter Series and the Lake Victoria Classic held annually. There’s a lawn bowls club where beginners are more than welcome.
The RSL has meals and gaming machines. And for the kids, there is plenty of playground equipment at parks located right along the foreshore, where swimming in summer is a must. Mini golf is also in town.
Loch Sport is one of those friendly, laid back towns that are increasingly becoming a thing of the past. Even during busy summer holiday periods the place still feels like a sleepy hideaway. The best-kept secret of course, is that the fishing is exceptional!
WHERE TO STAY
Motel accommodation, private house rentals and holiday units are all available around Loch Sport.
Modern chalet-style cabins are available from $65 per day (off peak) or $104 per day (peak season). For more information, contact Loch Sport Marina on (03) 5146 0243.
The local caravan park, run by Alan and Lesley, has powered sites from just $22 per day (off peak) and $28 per day (peak season). For bookings phone (03) 5146 0264.
There are also camping facilities in the Lakes National Park near Emu Bight, where there are toilets, BBQs and plenty of cleared sites.