Most of the estuaries out in Gippsland are set to fire up if more rain falls between now and Easter. While up until last week all major estuaries from Lakes Entrance and east were closed to the ocean. With water levels high and no clean salty water pushing in the fish can slow off the bite and be harder work to catch. They are still however there to be caught, and that's what will normally separate good anglers from those set in their ways.

Staff member Dylan and mates fished out in some of the estuaries recently and while conditions weren't ideal with wind and heavy rain the fish were certainly there to be caught. Fishing shallow mud and sand flats and finding the main holding areas for the fish was the first key, then working out the more successful lures was the next step. With an abundance of small school prawns and shrimp the surface bite was excellent. Over a day and a half around 60 bream were caught, with another estimated 25 whiting and around 60 flathead. A very small bag of fish was taken home, with some whiting, flathead and luderick keep for a feed.


Among the desirable fish were plenty of big tailor and silver trevally all equally happy to eat the expensive lures. The most successful lures were the Sammy 55, Gunfish, Sugarpen and overreal wake, which all represent small prawns and baitfish panicked on the surface. Retro-fitting these lures with small and sharp stinger hooks increased hookup rates by at least 50%, especially on the bream and whiting. Customer Daniel also fished in a nearby estuary where he landed some nice yellowfin bream from similar shallow sand flats.


Around the Gippsland lakes the bream fishing has been good if you're looking in the right areas. The main 3 rivers are producing some nice fish at present and should start fishing well for the larger fish the deeper we get into autumn. Customer Bashir and mate fished the lower tambo river to land a nice bag of fish on a mixture of baits. The most successful baits for the day were live shrimp and freshwater yabbies fished on number 8 'C10U' fly hooks.


Customer Ian also fished the region recently and found some nice bream floating about in the Nicholson river. Ian found that the best baits by a mile were live freshwater yabbies. If you're using slightly larger than normal yabbies it doesn't hurt to pull the claws off them to give the fish a good chance at hitting them and hooking up.

 


Some of the school holiday crowd head out towards the east coast of Gippsland and into NSW over the school break. With beautiful scenery and even better fishing, there's no wonder so many Victorians head out that way. Down around Bemm river in east Gippsland customer Mark got into some lovely bream fishing the lake. The lake here will continue to heat up over the next month or so, and perfect timing with many anglers heading out this way around Cup Weekend. Mark caught most of his fish between fresh prawn and sandworm on light running sink rigs.

Around the southern NSW coastline, customer Lilong camped out and fished with some mates from the rocks and wharves of the area. With a large offshore algae bloom the fishing was slower than usual, but the guys caught plenty of couta, pike and salmon using a variety of lures. Casting slow jigs and smaller plastics accounted for most fish between Tathra, Merimbula and Eden. The squid fishing in the area has also been good, with the same wharves producing both calamari and arrow squid around last light on size 3.0 jigs.


Staff member Dylan was also situated around the south coast for a few days with a couple of rods packed. With cold water temperatures, there were plenty of silver trevally, tailor and salmon around in the estuaries. Dylan spent a bit of time studying the habits of some nice luderick in the area and tried a few methods of catching them on the fly rod. After a few days of different methods, he managed to work out their feeding habits a bit and got into some. Fishing home tied 'weed' flies to fish around 1kg on the sand flats was the best method, with a handful making their way home to the table. Among the luderick, he also caught flathead, tailor, silver trevally and salmon on fly in the local estuaries around Merimbula and Eden.


Further up the coast, customer Hendrik has been putting slabs of chrome on the rocks. Hendrik has been fishing around Southwest Rocks, and has been getting cleaned up by some mulloway. Along this part of the coast the mulloway range in size from big to huge! Using a few techniques, Hendrik has landed fish to around 1.1m. Fishing live baits of mullet and pike has been getting the attention of the fish, with scary big fish earning their freedom back in the reef also. Another popular method along this part of the coast is casting big hardbodied lures and swimbaits to likely areas where these predators hunt.

 

Customer Steve had been stocking up slowly over the last few weeks for a trip up north, and now is currently catching up in the Northern Territory. Steve has been doing well on a variety of species fishing out from King Ash bay in both the local creeks and Arafura Sea. Steve said the barra fishing had been tough but fish like this 80cm specimen have been tricked on shallow running hardbodied lures twitched around feeder creeks during the run out tides.

Steve also mentioned the variety of species he has been catching including barramundi, blue salmon, black jewfish, golden trevally, queenfish and also mudcrabs.


Steve found that one of the best fights he has had came from this big queenfish while up north. Steve said that the 'queenie' went crazy and took a live grunter fished in a deeper hole in the river.


Steve has also found out how many sharks are present in northern waters. Steve has been losing a few hooked fish to large whalers, with this nice black jewfish just one of the casualties. The head of this jewie alone was around 3kg, so it wouldv'e been a nice fish. Steve did get some revenge on the sharks however, with this large reef shark kept to feed enough of the locals back at the ramp. The shark took a pilchard rigged on gang hooks in 4m of water and proceeded to flip and jump out of the water during the fight. 

 

The offshore grounds have been producing fish for anglers making the most of breaks in the weather with kingfish still about along with the odd mako. In between there have been plenty of species to keep angler busy, and fed. Customer Cam fished out from the rip last week to land some nice school kingies on baits and jigs. Cam said that the boat traffic in the rip was crazy and the fishing was better outside, with boats able to find their own patches of fish. The kingfish should hang around locally for a little while yet, so don't be discouraged as the weather starts to get a bit cooler.


Customer Mark has been making the most of the quieter mid week water traffic, catching kingies like this in the rip and also offshore. Mark has been reefed by some much bigger fish but has also landed fish to 10kg. Fish like this one have been about average for him, with fresh squid and jigs both working. This fish took a 150g jig earlier in the morning.


Customer Brendan has been making the most of the offshore fishing recently, trying for a mako. While during his latest session no makos were seen or hooked, Brendan had plenty of fish to keep himself busy. While drifting for a shark with berley trail going, a good mixed bag was caught. Brendan managed to bag a nice eating size gummy, some tiger flathead, salmon, silver whiting, yakkas, slimies, couta and silver trevally. Some good eating fish and excellent baits for the next few sessions. Brendan was fishing offshore from Phillip Island, starting in around 60m.

 


While there are still some crowds around the Gippsland lakes region, the fishing has been very good - especially if you can find a bit of quieter water. The whole region from Sale through Lakes Entrance and out towards Mallacoota near the NSW border has plenty on offer. Flathead, King George and sand whiting, luderick, bream, silver trevally, tailor, pinkies, salmon and prawns are all on offer at present if you're still out towards Lakes Entrance or thinking of heading down that way.

The beaches have been producing salmon and tailor around first and last light, with Eastern beach getting runs of fish to just over a kilo. The prawns have also been around in good numbers if you can find a quiet cove or bay to work, and we're currently just around the new moon so they should be easier to find. Cunninghame arm, North arm, Tambo bay and around Metung have all been good.


Customer Jordan has found lots of variety in his catch lately out towards Mallacoota. Jordan has been lure fishing with mostly 'crankbait' style hardbodies and surface pencils working the best, due to the large number of small 'school' sized king prawns in the estuaries. The sand whiting in particular have been really fixating on the surface lures when worked correctly, and most hits have turned into solid hookups after a few small modifications to terminal hardware. Big tailor to 60cm have also been blasting the surface offerings, along with deeper crankbaits worked through blue pockets and holes.

 


It feels like at least half of Melbourne is away somewhere along the east gippsland or NSW south coast over the Christmas break, and rightly so - with this part of the country some of the best we've got (opinions may vary...). While the increase of angling pressure over this time does shut some of the fishing down there are still plenty of options for everyone, and generally always some fish to catch somewhere, no matter your skill level. Speaking of skill level, staff member Don is away along the south coast of NSW currently but as we expect, still getting a fish in. While not entirely a fishing holiday, Don has managed some time out to walk the local estuaries casting lures. Don has found bream, flathead, tailor, trevally and flounder taking a liking to his small hardbodies and plastics. Don said that he has been targeting the quieter sections of the estuaries away from boat and foot traffic and working slowly through an area, making sure the water is covered effectively.


Customer Jinsu has also been fishing along the east gippsland coastline in search of some decent flathead. Jinsu has well and truly got decent flathead covered with some smaller 35-50cm fish making it to the frypan, and this mega 90cm fish making its way back to the depths. Jinsu has found that 'squidgy' wriggler and paddle prawns along with 'bungee baits' paddletails doing all of the damage when slowly whipped along the estuary drop offs.

 

 

 


The lovely town of Noosa is quite popular for tourists and traveling fisherman alike, and with good reason. The Noosa river and surrounding offshore waters are host to a large array of species, with many southern and northern species mixing. Customer Vince travels here regularly and in his most recent visit found a good mix of species in the river. Vince was fishing the river from the shore using soft plastics to nail a couple of fish. A nice 52cm dusky flathead made it to the keeper bag, and a nice little diamond trevally went back to fight another day. Both fish were caught on Squidgy 90mm 'wriggler prawns' which are a very good representation of the local prawns that are common over the summer months.

 

The holiday crowds are starting to build along the eastern coast of the state in places like Lakes Entrance. Staff member Dylan fished with some mates down around lake on Monday. The plan was to catch a feed of prawns during the night then work the flats chasing flathead and maybe the odd bream during the day.

With the amount of people around the shallow flats were fickle, with fish still about but a lot of people weren't catching due to sitting in one spot for too long. Remembering that these areas are a dynamic environment and always changing and using a mobile approach can mean the difference between no fish or a bag of fish. Many of the smaller channels and gutters held schools of silver trevally along with dusky flathead to 57cm, with larger fish up to 80cm sighted. Soft plastics accounted for a couple, but with slightly milky coloured water hardbodied minnows really did the job when crashed into the mud and sand bottom. Lure like Jackall squirrels, Daiwa double clutches and Zerek tango shads all worked well, with high UV colours the absolute standouts.

While not a red hot session, the guys managed a decent catch of prawns around Lakes Entrance at night. The prawns weren't really running as such, but they were around in large enough numbers to be caught. A good quality headlamp and prawn light were essential in picking up on the prawns as they sat around patches of weed and rock, and a decent length net handle also helped heaps in collecting the prawns from the slightly deeper water.


Jinsu Park also caught a chunky sea mullet from Lake Tyers on a Zman soft plastic which gave a good account for itself.

 


Most of the Gippsland estuaries have started slowing down over the past month or so as the water starts to cool down. Bream, flathead and most other species are still being caught but not in the numbers compared to the warmer months of the year. This time of year however can be good for quality size bream, with some of the larger fish feeding up before the winter pre-spawn.


Staff member Dylan has been paddling around some of the eastern estuaries recently, where some nice flathead and bream have been caught. Most of the larger flathead have been sitting on the flats late in the afternoons with some sun to warm the water, while a lot of bream have been caught fishing shallow drop offs and ledges with small hardbodies.


Customer Brett fished out in the Gippsland lakes recently in search of some bream, with a few nice school fish around and eating the lures. Most of the fish were hovering either side of 30cm, and were hitting small hardbodies like Daiwa Double Clutch 60's with gusto. Slightly warmer water temperatures have had these fish feeding right up along bankside structure still.

 

 

While the local kingfish have pretty much just about finished, there have been scattered reports of a few here and there moving about. Customer Darren was out from Westernport before Easter where he had a crack for the kingies amongst some bottom bouncing. Darren fished cocktail baits of squid and pipi to land some nice whiting and trevally, and then worked some bommies and ledges for a kingie. Darren ended up trolling a pink Williamson squid skirt around and found a nice looking patch in 25m of water when bang off it went. Darren ended up with a good sized kingfish in the boat, a good way to top off the day.

 

Tuna reports from the West coast have started to filter through, and should only get better over the next month. Good numbers of fish have been spread out from around the 40m area right out to the shelf. Most anglers have been working the areas close to the Horseshoe and bagging out fairly easily. Average size at the moment is good, with plenty of 15 - 25kg fish, and a few larger thrown in. Hardbodied lures and skirts have been about equal in effectiveness at the moment. Customer Shane fished out near the shelf just recently to land a couple of nice 20kg fish on Pakula skirts, while customer Miraz also got into a few nice tuna. Miraz fished over the Easter break and caught fish to 18kg out wide from Portland. A mixture of Billmark UV enhanced skirts and also the Zerek Pelagic hardbody in Bonito did the trick.