With winter in full swing, the classic winter catch of tailor, trevally, mullet and garfish have been the main stay inside our South Gippsland estuaries.
The most interesting thing this month has been the lack of Austraian salmon, they seemed to come to a screeching halt after the May/June run of salmon that we had. In saying that, the beaches fished the best for salmon that I have witnessed in many years, it’s just that the salmon haven’t seem to enter the estuaries all that often. There were the usual resident 25cm to 30cm fish but none of the 1kg to 4kg fish that we saw on the beaches. This aside there was still some awesome fishing to be had.
The silver trevally continued to create some really good sport over the past month, especially at up to almost 50cm in length and averaging 35cm to 40cm. It wasn’t just the lures that were donging the fish this month, but the bait anglers were also having a ball and catching plenty of these fish.
Bluebait, whitebait and pipis were all working very well, especially on the run in tide. Some anglers have been berleying as well, which has been working a treat. Just a simple running sinker rig has been very successful and perhaps working even better than a paternoster rig. Don’t be afraid to use a light sinker at McLoughlins, even in the fast current. Just simply cast up current and let the bait flow back naturally with the current.
The Tailor have been the main stay of McLoughlins and Mann’s beaches over the past three months. They have been around in huge numbers and are spread out throughout the whole system. The lure guys are the ones catching most of these fish whether they are using soft plastics or metal lures.
With the metal lures, try casting them down current and jig them up and down in the same spot until you get one; this technique works very well with heavier lures in the 25-35gm range and it is also a dynamite method for catching short finned pike. The bigger soft plastics in 3”-4” inch sizes work a treat however use heavier jig heads in the 1/8oz to 1/4oz sizes to fight the current. This will also catch you heaps of trevally during the last hour of the run in tide.
There’s still plenty of these fish inside, especially the garfish. They are still the biggest I’ve ever seen them as plenty of anglers are catching them 50cm long. The garfish and the mullet have been in the same areas, so anglers fishing for them are usually catching both species.
The weed beds and sand flats are the places to be trying, however make sure you use berley; this is by far he most important key to catching garfish. Float rigs with twin droppers are working well and also a simple slack line rig is working well too. Fresh fish flesh, pipi and whitebait pieces are the baits I would be using. You might even catch a winter whiting as I have heard a couple of them caught this month.
There’s been plenty of flathead taken out wide past the 20m mark. Most of the fish are between 40-45cm in length, so are making for excellent tucker. Pilchards, bluebait and squid on the drift have been the way to go. There is also still the odd gummy getting caught around the flathead grounds as well as Ryan Pattle found out whilst bottom bouncing for flathead along the 20m mark.
He managed a nice gummy of around 5kg for his efforts. For some interesting info, there has still been a fair amount of albacore caught on the oil rigs, so on the right day, it might be possible to catch a tuna out around the seal island group or perhaps on the flathead grounds offshore from McLaughlin’s or Mann’s. It could be worth a day having a go if the conditions are right.Reads: 1994