The colder weather has arrived and so has the drop in water temperature as well. To some this signifies the end of snapper season yet for me, it just opens up endless opportunities for sport fishing.
In the past month, the flathead have seemed to all but disappear from the estuary, but with the departure has come the arrival of Victoria’s premier sport fish the salmon, tailor and trevally. The salmon have been running all along the Ninety Mile Beach in huge numbers chasing whitebait, and so they have entered Mcloughlins and Manns entrances into the estuary in large numbers as well.
This month there has been a mixed bag of sizes of salmon, ranging anywhere from the humble 25cm specimens to thumping 50cm plus fish weighing up 3kg. However unlike last year the average fish size seems to be a lot better with most of the fish weighing in at between 1kg and 1.5kg, which I don’t need to tell anyone is great sport fishing on light gear.
The start of the run-out tide seems to be the most productive time to fish the entrances, yet it has depended on the day; some days the salmon are going berko at nearly all stages of the tide. A few anglers have been lucky enough to get out the entrance on those calm windless days and have been able to cast lures into salmon schools busting up the surface of the water. However inside the entrance the fish have been down deep, so letting the lure sink deep before retrieving has been the way to go.
Mick Gned and I had a great session in May using this method, yet we found that jigging was the best technique to use as this kept the lure in contact with the bottom where the fish were. A few stand out metal lures have been Halco slices in 20-30g sizes, Gillies baitfish in 25-40g and Lazer lures in 25-45g. But when the salmon are on the go, they will eat nearly any shiny thing you throw at them!
The tailor have been big this year; there’s plenty of fish around the 40cm size. Mick and myself lost a couple of thumpers that were over 45cm and perhaps even 50cm. The Shoal Channel which runs through to Mann's Beach has been accommodating mostly tailor rather than salmon and soft plastics have been a popular lure to use as this channel is a shallower which makes it easier to use them. Heavy jig heads are needed to keep the plastic in contact with the bottom.
While chasing the tailor in the shoal channel, plenty of anglers have been hooking good-sized trevally as well. Some of the trevally have been real thumpers measuring 45cm, yet the average size has been 35cm. For something interesting to discuss, I caught a 35cm yakka in the Shoal Channel on a soft plastic in May, so the water temperature must have still had a bit of warmth to it. It felt around 17ºC, which is quite warm for this time of year.
Another interesting thing was a report I had from a friend Ian, who while cleaning fish at the Mcloughlin’s cleaning table saw another angler pull his esky out his boat which had a nice sized mulloway lying in the bottom of it. It is the right time of year for jewies, so it would maybe pay to do a night or early morning session with live bait or lures to see if you could snag one of Victoria’s most elusive and prized species.
For more information on fishing Mcloughlin’s beach, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 51748544.Reads: 903