Ninety Mile Beach

Fishing at Ninety Mile Beach, Steve Cooper

In autumn, large schools of salmon, along with gummy sharks and mulloway, hit Victoria’s beaches. Snapper can still be caught, along with increasing numbers of yelloweye mullet.

One of the most popular beaches in this season is Ninety Mile Beach, which runs from Lakes Entrance south to McLoughlins Beach. It incorporates some of Victoria’s best- known surf fishing spots, including East Beach at Lakes Entrance, Ocean Grange, Loch Sport, Golden Beach, Seaspray, McGaurans, Woodside, Reeves and McLoughlins beaches.

Species caught include Australian salmon, flathead, gummy sharks, whiting, silver trevally, mullet, tailor, mulloway, snapper and sharks including bronze whalers, school, thresher and hammerhead.

The change of tide is a peak time to fish the surf. Big predators like mulloway are best sought at night or overcast days. Smaller fish, like salmon, mullet and whiting, will bite best around sunrise and sunset, particularly if a high tide coincides with changing light conditions. Some beaches fish better on low tide, others work the opposite way around. I prefer the low tide as this gives easier access to gutters and holes, although gutters and holes can change after a storm. One week you may have to wade out into chest-high water at low tide to reach a good gutter system, the next week it could be running close to the beach.

Storms also bring weed and side drift; however a strong blow can herald several days of top conditions for the likes of salmon. Anglers who spin will have little or no problem with side drift, but weed can annoy everyone. Weed is always worse on the rising tide than the falling. One ploy that works on some beaches is to start fishing about two hours after the tide has started running off. Sometimes the current will pull much of the troublesome weed back out to sea and make fishing better.

Anglers often launch small tinnies to fish over the close-in offshore reefs for big snapper. Popular beaches where this is done include Seaspray, Golden, Woodside and McLaughlins. The same beaches have a reputation for producing large sharks, mainly bronze whalers.

The only spot you can’t fish on Ninety Mile Beach is a 28 sq km marine park south of Seaspray. It starts near Merriman Creek and runs along the beach for 5 km, past the outlet drain from Lake Denison, and for 3 nautical miles seaward.

See Also

Tackle

Bait

Lures

Description

Price range

Contact details

Description

An 8 kg threadline outfit is a good starting point. Most surf rods are about 3.5 m long and capable of casting sinkers or lures up to 120 g. Casting distance is governed by gutter locations. There are days, particularly after a storm, when the surf will have carved out channels very close to shore.

Australian salmon is the most sought-after fish; it’s also the easiest to catch and most numerous. A simple two-dropper paternoster rig will suffice for salmon. The top dropper has a surf popper or soft plastic lure instead of bait, the bottom dropper a 3–4/0 hook.

For close-in species, like yelloweye mullet, employ a standard running sinker rig and use a No. 6 Baitholder pattern hook. If mulloway or gummy sharks are more in your line then a leader of about 30 kg breaking strain is used on a running paternoster rig. Hook size should be at least 6/0 Suicide.

Sinker type depends on conditions. On days with minimal side drift, bomb or star sinkers may be adequate. If side drift is a problem, use a grapnel sinker. The best way to attach any sinker is with a clip swivel as this gives you a quick and easy way of changing sinker weights to suit conditions.

A rod holder is essential – make your own out of a metre-long piece of 50 mm diameter PVC tube. As well as holding your rod tip high and above the waves, a rod holder is ideal for holding the rod when baiting up.

Bait

Lures

Description

Price range

Contact details

Description

Common baits for salmon include whitebait, bluebait, pipi, pilchard and squid. On rough days, salted baits last longer. The best place to have your bait is in the clean water behind the wave break. Yelloweye mullet are caught in close, sometimes in the whitewater, and pipi and sandworm are the best baits. Normal procedure for mullet is to encourage them in to the area with berley, which is thrown on to the beach where waves will come over and draw it back.

For the bigger fish like mulloway and gummy sharks, my advice is to fish into the night. Catch small fish like salmon, tailor and mullet, and either fillet them or use them as live bait for the larger predators that hunt along these beaches. Tailor and trevally fillets are especially effective on mulloway, as is fresh squid. If you come across tailor and bronze whaler sharks, then you can be reasonably sure that mulloway will be about to make up the trifecta, as these three species are often found together.

Lures

Description

Price range

Contact details

Description

When salmon run, spinning is a successful method. Metal lures in the 15–30 g range will produce salmon and sometimes tailor. Productive lure colours include dark blue and green with mackerel pattern backs, and chrome. The key to successful spinning is to vary the sink rate of the lure and the retrieve rate. It’s a matter of trial and error until you get the formula right for the day.

comments powered by Disqus