The fishing in the South Gippsland estuaries has been fantastic this summer. With increasing water temperatures, the bread and butter species, such as flathead and whiting, have been the prime targets inside, while outside there have been plenty of sharks and pinkie snapper.
The flathead fishing over the past month has been great. The shallower sand flats at high tide have been the most prolific places to fish, especially with soft plastics. It has been most productive to fish a high tide down to the mid-low tide early in the morning. During this period, fishing right along the edges of the drop-offs with plastics such as minnows and shads, or vibe style hardbodied lures, has been very effective.
The end of the run-in tide has also been fishing well. During this period, it pays to cast further into the flats to fish shallower water, as the flatties should be cruising the shallows searching and waiting for baitfish.
The flatties have been averaging 45cm yet there has been the odd thumper up to 70cm long. Martin Auldist, Rod Booker and I had a great day using these methods, and for a relatively slow day, we still managed to bag at least 30 flathead and a nice trevally measuring 43cm.
Due to the amount of wind we encountered, we were drifting over the flats very quickly, making fishing difficult. The best thing to do in this situation is to cast in front of the boat, that way you will ensure that your plastic hits the bottom, instead of being dragged along the surface. Once the wind got too strong, we located a nice run-off from a sand flat and anchored in front of it. This meant we could put plenty of casts into the same spot, which proved very effective.
The bait anglers have been doing just as well by anchoring during the run-off tide and using a bit of berley. Bass yabbies, pipis and bluebait have been working best when used on a lighter running sinker rig.
Mark and Gary Thompson pulled off the almost impossible by catching bream at McLoughlins. McLoughlins does have small populations of bream, like other south Gippsland locations, but actually catching one is extremely rare.
Mark and Gary happened to drift across a patch of fish in the entrance while targeting pinkies and whiting and managed to land 15 beautiful bream up to 44cm in length. Most were released except for a couple that they kept for the table, one of which is pictured. Bass yabbies were the order of the day for the bream. The boys also managed a few huge whiting of 50cm that were swimming around with the bream.
In general, the whiting fishing has been good; however anglers have had to work extremely hard to put together a bag of these fish. The whiting seem to be scattered around the system rather than being condensed in one big school. Anglers have been getting two or three from one spot, then having to move to another location for another two or three.
The size of the fish has been exceptional, averaging 32cm, yet heaps have been over 40cm and up to 50cm. Pipis and Bass yabbies have been producing most of the whiting.
Offshore has been producing plenty of gummy sharks. James Ollington caught one weighing 10.45kg on the head of a slimy mackerel that they had just caught. They were in 20m of water.
Along with gummy sharks, there have been plenty of small hammerhead sharks up to 1m. Some anglers, using surface berley, are catching up to six of these hammers in a session.
With any luck, the surface berley will also attract a mako shark, as plenty of makos have been caught over the past month. Many have been around 1m long, however there have been some real monsters of 2m caught.
The pinkies have been very finicky. There have been plenty of fish around but they seem to come on the bite for a couple of hours and then go off the bite as if someone had flicked a switch. Most of the snapper are good table-sized fish of 35-50cm.
The fish have been in very close to the entrance of McLoughlins and Manns beaches, with some anglers getting good bags of snapper in relatively shallow water.
For all the latest reports on fishing and tackle, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 03 5174 8544 or drop an email to the address above.Reads: 5017