Flathead inside, snapper outside
  |  First Published: February 2009

With the increase in water temperature, McLoughlins and Manns estuaries have produced a wide range of bread and butter species including big flatties.


December and January were interesting weather-wise, as it took a long time for summer to arrive. We had a couple of good fishing days, but unfortunately plenty of dud days as well.

This did not stop the influx of the large flathead entering the shallow waters. The banks around St Margarets Island have fished brilliantly over the past month, with flathead up to 4kg being caught. Soft plastics are working well as always, however due to the wind, jigheads of 1/8oz and heavier have been needed to make sure the plastics aren’t swept away by the wind. Natural colours like pumpkinseed and bloodworm are working a treat.

Not only are the big flatties in, but there are plenty of good eating size flatties of 45cm being taken as well. Bait anglers are getting their fair share, especially when anchored and using berley.

A good tip is to start fishing without the use of berley to see if there are already fish around. If the fishing is slow then turn to the berley. The reason is that the berley often brings in a lot of toadfish, so if you don’t need it, don’t use it. Squid baits are working exceptionally well, along with bluebait and pipis also effective.


There’s good news for the land-based anglers. The McLoughlins Jetty has been fishing very well. On evening there have been a few small gummy sharks caught on squid and bluebait rigged on paternoster rigs. This had made for some very exciting fishing, especially for the youngsters out there. Just goes to prove, you don’t need a boat to catch a gummy shark.


There are plenty of good eating-size snapper of 35-60cm out on the reefs in front of McLoughlins and Manns entrances. Squid and pilchards are the best baits.

There’s also plenty of bait outside, such as slimy mackerel and yakkas. I’ve even heard of a few pilchards caught on Sabiki rigs, so fresh bait should be fairly easy to get.

In a bit closer there are plenty of gummies and flatties being caught by anglers drifting. The gummies haven’t been massive, but are perfect for the table at 1m.

There have also been some huge hook-ups and bust-offs. These are no doubt big bronze whalers or small white sharks.

What have been seen are plenty of thresher sharks. There have been thresher sharks landed to around 1.8m and a few bigger ones hooked and lost.

Further down towards the Omega Tower and the pipeline, there have been small mako sharks being landed to 1m long. Most boats putting out heavy berley trails have managed to attract at least one of these bities around. One angler I spoke to got a hell of a fright when a white pointer of over 2m turned up in the berley trail that was meant for a mako.

For more information on fishing McLoughlins Beach, contact Will at Allways Angling on 5174 8544.

Ben Pahl holds up a pair of nice offshore snapper, measuring over 50cm each.

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