Doin’ the gummy dance
  |  First Published: February 2009

If you are a fan of the Deadliest Catch television show then you are probably familiar with the crab dance that is performed by the Hillstrand brothers on board Time Bandit. Recently while surf fishing with good friend Peter Cross, I witnessed what could only be described as the gummy dance!

It started out as a double hook-up before dark and ended with Crossy jumping around the beach like a lunatic, excitedly holding 1m of writhing gummy shark. That started what was an awesome session of beach fishing, culminating in our beach shelter being blown away, probably all the way to Mallacoota, by the savage westerly change that hit later on in the night.

From what I can gather, most of the beaches in the Gippsland area have been producing excellent catches of gummy sharks over the past couple of months. The Bemm has been no exception, and there has also been a good number of the shark varieties with teeth.

Over a two-week period we managed to either land or be bitten-off by gummy, school, seven-gilled and bronze whaler sharks. All the beaches have had reasonable gutters and have produced fish at various times. I still think that the nights around the full moon are the better nights, however we have had plenty of success at other moon phases with lower tides.

The next couple of months are still prime time for catching sharks off the beach. Cured eel is probably still the bait of choice, with a few sharks also taking fish fillets and squid legs. A one-dropper paternoster rig with a 6/0 circle hook works wonders, with very few bites missed. During the day there have been salmon and tailor up to 2kg caught on pilchards, bluebait and surf poppers.

The estuary also fished well over the holiday period, with mixed bags of bream, luderick and tailor landed. The area between the jetty and the mouth of the river has been a good place to try, with The Mahoganies also fishing well.

Sandworm is still the most popular bait, with frozen local prawn also accounting for some of the better quality bream.

For the lure fisher there has been plenty of action using blade-type vibe lures and soft plastics. With the sandworm now in their spawning cycle, some of the worm pattern plastics have worked well when fished over the sand flats. A few bream are also starting to be caught up the river using plastics with resin heads.

There are reports of a few small prawns in the lake, so fingers crossed we might get a few in the coming months. If the entrance remains open, then it is likely that when the prawns reach a certain size they will run to sea.

Fishing over the next couple of months should continue to be pretty good for all types of anglers.

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