This article was originally published on Outdoria.com.au.
Mallacoota is Victoria’s most eastern fishing town set in the magnificent Croajingolong National Park, tucked up underneath the Victorian and New South Wales border near Cape Howe.
Well known for its 1kg plus black bream and huge dusky flathead, most bream and estuarine anglers have Mallacoota on their bucket list of places to fish. Those who are lucky enough to get there soon fall in love with the place and can’t wait to get back.
The fishing in Mallacoota is well-and-truly worth the drive.
Getting to Mallacoota by car
The township is 6 hours drive from Melbourne or 6 ½ hour's drive from Sydney, so it’s very nicely positioned in between both major cities.
Map showing Mallacoota, Gipsy Point, Mallacoota Equipment Hire, and Mallacoota Bait & Tackle.
The township is located amongst an idyllic setting, nestled away just off the rugged coastline, and looks out over the Mallacoota inlet. Looking north from the township, the Cape Howe Wilderness Area is untouched and wild providing the perfect backdrop to the lakes system.
Besides fishing the lake system, you can launch at Bastion Point and fish offshore, surf fish along many of the spectacular beaches the region has to offer, watch whales passing by offshore, go on overnight hikes or bushwalks, go bike riding, surfing, bird watching, yachting or simply go for a drive to explore the scenery. It’s a hub of recreational activity.
The drive in from Genoa
Once you turn off the highway near Genoa the excitement sets in as you now know you’re on the home stretch. The road winds through lowland forest giving you a sense of wilderness and the feeling that the fishing will be awesome. Once you pass the turnoff for Gypsy Point, there is only another 15 minutes to go till you reach the picturesque township of Mallacoota.
Where to stay?
Accommodation is aplenty. Mallacoota has a population of about 1,000 full-time residents. Adding to this there is a constant wave of travellers through town, and during the peak holiday seasons, the population swells to over 8,000. For this reason, there are many options including large areas set aside for powered and unpowered camp sites along the foreshore suited to caravans, camper trailers and tents. Around town, there are on-site vans and cabins, fishing lodges, hotel/motel and holiday rentals. There’s something to suit everyone’s budget.
GoSeeAustralia.com.au has a great directory of caravan park accommodation in Mallacoota.
Where can you get supplies nearby?
Mallacoota has all the necessities to ensure you have an enjoyable stay including two grocery stores, bakery, pub, cafes, hardware store, bank, petrol station and of course a bait & tackle store.
Mallacoota Equipment Hire is great if you need extra fishing gear or fancy hiring a kayak or bicycle for the day.
See the map above for directions to Mallcoota Equipment Hire and Mallacoota Bait & Tackle.
Mallacoota is suited to boat, kayak, and landbased anglers.
Landbased anglers have limited areas to fish but this is not a limiting factor to catching big bream, nice sized flatties, and a variety of other species. Around Mallacoota, there are plenty of fishing platforms and jetties. Heading back towards Gypsy Point there are a number of tracks leading off the main road to the top lake which offer landbased anglers opportunities to access some good fishing ground.
Those who have a boat or kayak can launch at Mallacoota or Gypsy Point giving access to the entire lake system.
Over the last decade or two, there’s been a huge shift towards lure fishing for black bream and dusky flathead and Mallacoota is the Mecca for this style of sportfishing. Vibes, hardbodies, and soft plastics are now common items in the tackle box of anyone fishing this lake system. Lure fishing and a good sounder on the boat or yak go hand-in-hand, as anglers will sound out schools of fish along drop-offs, weed beds, and underwater structure to improve their chances.
Other species found in the lake system include garfish, Australian salmon, luderick, tailor, yellowfin bream, mulloway, yellow-eye mullet, King George whiting, estuary perch and trevally. These species are typical estuarine species that either permanently live in the lake system or migrate during spawning.
The best baits to use are prawns, muscles, crab and frozen bait fish such as blue bait.
When is the best time of the year to visit?
Mallacoota’s fishing can be enjoyed all year round. Big schools of Black bream spread out throughout the lake system between December and May. Winter plays host to a range of pelagic fish like Australian salmon, tailor, and trevally that travel through the lakes in schools and provide anglers a lot of fun on light gear.
The weather plays a key role in how you approach a day’s fishing on the lake system. As the bottom lake system is open and exposed, the wind can make for an uncomfortable day out and impact on your fishing if you’re using lures. The top lake can be more sheltered with surrounding hills offering some protection during those blowy days.
The beauty with any interestingly shaped lake set amongst the hills is that there are always areas you can escape the wind. The same goes for Mallacoota and this applies to boat, kayak, and landbased anglers.
For landbased anglers who are confined to the township of Mallacoota, if the winds are blowing from the north to north-east, it might be best to spend the day exploring some of the regions other spectacular scenery or even exploring some tracks off the main road that may lead you down to another more suitable fishing spot.
Boat and kayak anglers launching in Mallacoota on a windy day may be able to brave the elements and get across the bottom lake aiming for ‘The Narrows’. Once up there the Wallagaraugh River can be very sheltered. Otherwise, the other option is to launch at the more protected Gypsy Point.
Whether you're already planning a Mallacoota fishing trip of your own, or you're now intrigued to start hatching plans, we hope this article helps you land that unforgettable fish while you're there.