Opinion

Watch out for hoodlum fish

by
February 16, 2018

Kevin Tyler says Lake Eildon is worth a try for trout, redfin, yellowbelly and cod.

It has been a right royal week of fishing, with the word from most of the coastline and even as far south as Flinders Island reporting an upsurge in the numbers of yellow tail kingfish coming on the bite.

But while most fish have been rat size — slightly more than 60cm — pound for pound kingfish, as I have said in the past, have got more fight than just about any other fish in the sea.

While they can grow more than a metre in length, the average size is about 60cm to 70cm. They travel in schools, smashing through bait fish, and they can double their size in just one season.

Kingfish like to hang around structure and schools can be found around reefs and ridges. They will take live bait and knife jigs and other lures as well as whole squid or even fresh fish fillets.

They rightfully carry the nick name of ‘hoodlum’ because they fight dirty, always trying to break gear and drag lines along the reefs, which are their home, and they never stop fighting.

This week I have received reports of kingfish being caught off Flinders Island by a group from Shepparton who spent the weekend at Lady Baron. They were also biting off Port McDonald and Portland along the Victorian coastline and north to Eden, Merimbula and Narooma.

Rod Lawn and Peter Smallwood from Adamas Fishing Charters at Queenscliff said while catches of kingfish around the heads had slowed down, there were days when they appeared under schools of salmon and spooled unwary anglers targeting salmon.

The bag limit for kingfish is just five fish per person and catching five of these hoodlums will be enough to tire any unfit angler to the point of trying their luck on less active fish. Incidentally, kingfish is an excellent table fish.

Across our region it has been another week of good results with one pair of anglers bagging out on yellowbelly while fishing the Goulburn River between Toolamba and Murchison. Most fell to live shrimp along with an occasional cheese bait.

I was told about one fish that managed to straighten the hook and escape. Unfortunately, the angler did not see this fish, so they are saying it must have been a monster cod. Although at another spot they hooked and landed a jumbo sized carp.

Cod are still falling to surface lures in the Broken River fished mainly on dusk, and I did see an image of a nice sized fish caught and released by one angler who regularly fishes the Broken.

Action at Mulwala is continuing to provide anglers with cod and yellowbelly, mainly around the trees that follow the old river bed, and also close to the bank. Bait fishing and spinner baits are being used with equal results.

Other spots worth a try include Waranga Basin for redfin and Lake Eildon for trout, redfin, yellowbelly and cod. Lake Dartmouth is still fishing well for trout; both rainbow and brown are being caught mainly by anglers fishing early morning and using down riggers later in the day.

A trip to the north east to fish the rivers and streams is still worthwhile. Wading the water and casting both bait and lures is getting results. Some of the best baits to use are black crickets and grasshoppers; their slightly heavier weight makes casting to a spot much easier.

Briefly along the coast, Rod and Peter said they were catching whiting, flathead and salmon as well as pinky snapper and trevally. They said off Barwon Heads good sized flathead were taking bait and soft plastics.

Hastings on Western Port is also fishing well and some good hauls of pinky snapper have been taken along the edge of the shipping lane, while gummy shark have been caught in the deep water on dusk near Cowes.

At Eden John Liddell said reef fishing was the go at the moment with snapper and morwong being caught along the coast as far south as Green Cape. He said kingfish were also on the bite while flathead were being caught along the sandy bottom between the reefs.

At Narooma Graham Cowley reported the same with kingfish, mainly between the bar and the northern end of Montague Island, and snapper and morwong biting on the inshore reefs.

He said when it was too rough to go off shore, fishing in the lake provided anglers with another alternative, with bream and flathead falling to lures and soft plastics around the oyster leases.

Paul my favourite butcher and a group of mates will be heading down to see James Luddington at Flinders Island this weekend. James said they can expect plenty of flathead but the gummy shark have been small in numbers.

On the brighter side they can expect to get among kingfish and, according to my Anglers Almanac, it should be red-hot fishing all weekend through until next Wednesday.

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