To some, winter signifies the end off the fishing season, but to sportfishing anglers it signifies the beginning.
Over the past month, the weather has changed to that of classic winter with windless days and icy cold mornings. With this weather change, the range of species available to us anglers has changed as well to the more sporty pelagic style species such as salmon, trevally and tailor. For the guys who would rather get a feed, the garfish, mullet, flounder and calamari are around in great numbers.
The salmon have been around in huge numbers and what’s great to see is that the average size is up on last year, with most fish averaging around the 1kg mark with the odd fish pulling down the scales to 2kg and 3kg. The salmon have been tidally influenced with most catches happening at the start and end of the run out tide and the start of the run in tide.
The entrances at McLoughlins and Manns beaches have been producing most of the salmon, yet at times they are moving between the Shoal Channel. Metal sliced lures have been the most successful thing to use, either jigging or casting. The main trick has been to get the lures close to the bottom. This means deep diving lures will work very well trolling as well.
The Shoal Channel in between McLoughlins and Manns beach has been where the tailor are hanging out. They are biting on all tides and both metal and soft plastic lures are working just as good as each other, as has bait fishing with whitebait and bluebait. Don’t be surprised to catch a snook either, as there are plenty of these fish hanging around with the tailor measuring up to 80cm long.
The trevally this year are huge, by far the biggest I have seen them in this inlet. Steve Wright caught a thumper trevally measuring 55cm, which is the biggest I’ve seen in McLoughlins. He was using a Berkley Power Minnow in watermelon colour whilst fishing the slack low tide. The trevally seem to be all over the place; we have just been drifting and casting soft plastics on fairly heavy jig heads between 1/8oz and 1/4oz find them. Once you find one, you will normally catch a couple more. This is a great method, as you will catch more than just trevally. The water is so clear at the moment as well that you can actually sight fish for a lot of the species - which is paradise.
The garfish in the system are huge at the moment; a couple of mates and I had a great down on the gars recently. We managed to land 26 garfish in about 30 minutes ranging between 40cm and 55cm in length. The key to the garfish has been to berley. We have been finding most of the garfish in very shallow water around weed beds and sand flats, pretty much the same spots you would find flathead. Berley for a couple of minutes, and before you know it, you have hundreds of garfish plus a myriad of other species in the berley trail. Then it’s simply to tie on a hook, with no sinker and use the bait you’re berleying with or just little bits of fresh fish flesh. You will have a bag of gars in no time. A float would work as well, but that’s too complicated for me!
I had plenty of anglers telling me all about the squid fishing in McLoughlins of late, I haven’t done it myself, however heaps of anglers and getting a great feed of these prime eaters. Weed beds are the first places to start targeting squid, so grab a few squid jigs and get a feed.
There’s still a few flatties in the system. We have been finding them in very shallow water, obviously the shallow water is the warmest water this time of year, again the water is so clear, that if you have an electric motor you can actually sight fish for the flatties.
There’s also heaps of flounder in the same areas, we must have seen at least 8 large flounder whilst chasing flathead last month. The guys offshore are doing the best on the flatties, which usually happens this time of year. A lot of the anglers are going very wide, but are coming home with good bags of flathead each time.
For more information on fishing Mcloughlins and Manns beaches and some terrific tackle deals, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 5174 8544.Reads: 936