Geoff’s Fishing Report

Soft plastic? Fantastic! Mitch Wolak with the 89 cm mulloway he caught from the Barwon estuary by the skin of its lip.

Soft plastic? Fantastic! Mitch Wolak with the 89 cm mulloway he caught from the Barwon estuary by the skin of its lip.

Amanda Richards with a good size chinook salmon that she caught from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture courtesy of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Amanda Richards with a good size chinook salmon that she caught from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture courtesy of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Barwon estuary

Last week, Kayakers, Mitch Wolak, Marcus Devlin and Klynt Holwerda, ventured upstream from the Sheepwash on the last kick of flood tide, targeting mulloway with soft plastics.

They had a couple of strikes on the way upstream, and a one good hook-up on a solid fish that lasted a couple of minutes, but with nothing since, their hopes began to fade.

That was until Mitch hooked up once more on the way back to the Sheepwash, and – after a tactical duel on light tackle that lasted at least 10 minutes – caught an 89 cm mulloway that was hooked by the skin of its lip.

Scott Teesdale with one of the kingfish he caught off Port Phillip Heads on Friday.

Scott Teesdale with one of the kingfish he caught off Port Phillip Heads on Friday.

Jack McTaggart with a sample of his whiting catch off Curlewis (Picture: Peter Clark).

Jack McTaggart with a sample of his whiting catch off Curlewis (Picture: Peter Clark).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

On Friday evening, Darcy Scott headed out into 8 metres of water off Curlewis where he hooked what was obviously a good size snapper within minutes of anchoring up. Unfortunately, it escaped, but at 8.00 o’clock, a second fish of 7.5 kg wasn’t so lucky.

On Sunday, Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien found a good patch of whiting off the south eastern (Point Richards) corner of the mussel farm, and – in fairly strong winds and choppy seas – they caught 22 to 40 cm and several flathead to 48 cm.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that there are also good size whiting to be caught off Curlewis, and among the successful anglers were Peter Clark and his grandson Jack McTaggart who sent in a photo of their catch.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head, reports that whiting have made a welcome return to client’s bags, and that more would have been caught in better weather. Good size pinkies have been caught as well said Rod, but land based anglers fishing from the Fisher Street Breakwater at Portarlington have caught some much larger fish.

Scott Teesdale and a companion had another try for the kingfish at Port Phillip Heads after the previous week’s dry run. This time they caught three of 6, 9 and 12 kg while drifting with freshly caught squid for bait on the ebb tide.

Terry Sheppard with another chinook salmon from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture courtesy of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Terry Sheppard with another chinook salmon from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture courtesy of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Terry Sheppard with a selfie of he and the 1.1 metre chinook salmon that he caught and released ((Picture courtesy of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Terry Sheppard with a selfie of he and the 1.1 metre chinook salmon that he caught and released ((Picture courtesy of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).


Freshwater

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that since the algal bloom has dissipated on Lake Bullen Merri, some great chinook salmon, mostly in the 3-4 kg range, have been caught, both on baits like pilchards and glassies and on various lures.

The biggest by far measured 1.1 metres in length and probably would have weighed 9 kg. It was caught by Terry Sheppard of Regal Marine who released it for another day. However, Terry did catch another fish of about 3.5 kg that he kept.

Lake Purrumbete is still on song for large brown trout said John, with Johnno Currie weighing in the biggest at 4.2 kg, that he caught using a downrigger.

Lachie Wombell with another good sample of whiting from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Lachie Wombell with another good sample of whiting from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Jason Eastman with a 2.3 kg chinook salmon from Lake Purrumbete.

Jason Eastman with a 2.3 kg chinook salmon from Lake Purrumbete.


Australia Day Fishing Competition

St Leonards and Bellarine Pirates Angling Clubs are hosting a flathead fishing competition over the Australia Day weekend from 6.00 pm on Friday until 3.00 pm on Saturday. Prizes include $200.00 for the heaviest flathead plus $200 for the entry tag raffle: Competition headquarters and weigh-in will be at the Clifton Springs boat ramp. .

Entry fee is $10.00 per person and must be paid by Thursday 25/01/18, either by money transfer to Bendigo Bank, account 134873140, along with “FH18 and your name.” Or, by post to PO Box 1070 St Leonards 3223. For more information, phone Phil Walters on 0411 215 146 or email secretary.fish@bigpond.com

Make that two! (Picture courtesy of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Make that two! (Picture courtesy of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Steven Hill with a 4 kg chinook salmon from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture courtesy of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Steven Hill with a 4 kg chinook salmon from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture courtesy of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).


George asks:


Geoff, I’ve heard there is good land based squid fishing from Bell Reef: Can you tell me where it is please, and if there is anything else to be caught there?

George, Bell Reef is below Queenscliff’s white lighthouse and accessible from the car park at the southern end of Hesse Street. The reef itself becomes sufficiently exposed for relatively safe fishing on tides falling to 0.3 metres or less, but you’ll need to wade out from the beach through a shallow channel to reach the reef itself.

Squid are caught from the Point Lonsdale side of the red port side marker, usually with a baited stem jig fished under a float with rod and reel. However, snapper – and the occasional kingfish – have been caught from the Queenscliff side of the marker by casting into the obvious tidal stream with a sufficiently heavy sinker to hold bottom.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Hands up: Chris Stamalos with two gummy shark he caught off Barwon Heads.

Hands up: Chris Stamalos with two gummy shark he caught off Barwon Heads.

A gummy shark that was attacked by two seven-gillers on the way up (Picture: Chris Stamalos).

A gummy shark that was attacked by two seven-gillers on the way up (Picture: Chris Stamalos).

Offshore

After making an early start in 30 metres of water off Barwon Heads, Chris Stamalos was hoping for decent snapper or gummy shark; the latter soon coming to the table, and it was soon followed by another making up his legal bag of two.

Still hopeful of catching a snapper, Chris persevered, and soon hooked another gummy shark that he intended to release. Unfortunately for the gummy though, two large seven-gilled sharks appeared on the scene and there wasn’t much left of it after that.

Mark Sesar with a 40 cm whiting from Corio Bay.

Mark Sesar with a 40 cm whiting from Corio Bay.

Fresh fish: Keryn Millard with a sample of the catch taken by herself and her father Dean off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Fresh fish: Keryn Millard with a sample of the catch taken by herself and her father Dean off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Corio Bay and the Bellarine Peninsula

Following his offshore venture, Chris made another early start off St Leonards, along with Kelvin Maclean, in search of whiting. Pickings were lean though with four or five fish for each drop of the anchor.

Never the less, their persistence paid off, and by mid day, and a good many moves, they’d caught their respective bag limit catches.

Last week, Mark Sesar and partner Tina, fished for whiting off Point Henry from mid morning, and – using pipis for bait – they caught 15 over the grass beds near the Alcoa Pier. While most were between 30 and 35 cm, their biggest fish measured 40 cm.

They would have kept fishing had not the wind picked up to 20 knots or so, persuading them to raise their anchor and return to the boat ramp.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that Lindsay Smith and a friend took 30 good size whiting along the southern boundary of the mussel farm, while others like Damien Aquilina took mixed bags of whiting, snook, pinkies and good size flathead.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head suffered some level of fatigue over the weekend with all of the fish – mainly flathead – that he cleaned for clients; most of which were taken on the drift along the edge of the Prince George Bank.

Making a 4.00 am start on Saturday, Darcy Scott and Scott Teesdale fished the last of the flood tide for a catch of 20 good size whiting near the Coles Channel beacon – which is off the entrance to Swan Bay – all before daybreak: Then they tried for a kingfish.

With a good many of them turning up inside Port Phillip Heads and along the South Channel last week, they caught several squid for bait, and then – with the tidal current now on the ebb – they put in a sterling effort, but as it turned out, they had no luck on the kingies.

George Gereige with a good sample of whiting from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

George Gereige with a good sample of whiting from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Bob McPherson reports there were good pickings for bottom-bouncing crews in deep water offshore from Portland last week. Among them were Keryn Millard and her father Dean, who returned with a great catch blue eye trevalla to 9 kg and pink ling to 12.5 kg.

Bob has continued to fish for the whiting in various places around Portland with Lachie Wombell and George Gereige, and – as usual – they’ve picked up some good catches.

Lachie Wombell with a nice sweep taken at Cape Nelson (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Lachie Wombell with a nice sweep taken at Cape Nelson (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Freshwater

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that both brown and rainbow trout were taken last week with Bannockburn anglers Harry Stanford and Lachy Groves picking up both to a just over a kilogram. However, Geelong angler Steven (Stormy) Winter, caught the best fish; a 2.3 kg rainbow trout while fishing a minnow on his grand-daughter’s pink rod.

Redfin have been the main catch though said John, with Max and Jason Eastman picking them up to 1.4 kg using minnow for bait.


Snapper Competition

St Leonards and Bellarine Pirates Angling Clubs are currently hosting a snapper fishing competition, which will run until Sunday 01/04/18. Entry is open to the public and fees – which must be paid before any fish are presented for weighing – range from $20.00 for anglers aged 18 years and older, and $10.00 for those yet to turn 18.

You may pay by money transfer to Bendigo Bank, account 134873140, detailing “Snap18-1 and your name.” Or, by post to PO Box 1070 St Leonards 3223. For more information, ring Phil Walters on 0411 215 146 or email secretary.fish@bigpond.com


Ollie asks:

Geoff, I recall that in past years, you’ve had a lot of shark reports during this period. You don’t seem to have had any lately: Surely sharks are still about?

Ollie; I used to be deluged by reports of, and opportunities to photograph locally caught, mako and blue sharks, which are usually found well offshore. That’s no longer the case, but since those species are caught offshore from Portland and elsewhere, they should be here as well.

Species encountered closer to shore like bronze whalers, seven-gillers and threshers are still present as before, so either fewer people fish for them, or those who do, don’t advertise.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Lachie Wombell with a sample of the whiting he and his companions caught off Portland last week. (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Lachie Wombell with a sample of the whiting he and his companions caught off Portland last week. (Picture: Bob McPherson).


Corio Bay and the Bellarine Peninsula

On Wednesday evening, Darcy Scott took a respectable catch of squid off Queenscliff before heading over to the grass beds off Swan Island to catch the last two hours of the flood tide as night fell, hopeful getting onto the whiting.

The whiting were well and truly on the bite, and remained so until well after dark with Darcy back at the ramp with a bag limit catch of fish, each measuring 40 cm or better, and all caught on fresh squid.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that flathead remain the main chance and there are some good ones among them as Peter Clark and Des McKieman could relate after catching some prime specimens to 52 cm while fishing offshore from “The Dell.”

After that, the pair headed down toward Curlewis where they caught 34 whiting to 35 cm offshore from the Bayview Estate.

Pinkie snapper have also been present, said Mike, with some of the best catches being taken by local anglers along the southern boundary of the mussel farm.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that fishing has been good with plenty of flathead, the occasional gummy shark and good whiting catch coming in. Squid, however, have been patchy and you have to work for them said Rod; so much so that one of his clients brought in more cuttlefish than squid, and that’s most unusual.

Rod also mentions there are pinkie snapper to be caught out near the Prince George Light (PG1) with local angler Brian Cummings and his son in law, David Beardsley, catching their restrictive bag limits of only three fish over 40 cm, after making a 5.30 am start.

Offshore

On Thursday, Tom Robinson and Keith Berry fished offshore from Barwon Heads in 45 metres of water where they took a good catch of flathead, barracouta and two nice gummy shark.

Their drift eventually took them fairly close to the Black Rock outfall where they caught a seven-gilled shark of about 1.6 metres, and destined for the barbeque.

Freshwater

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that brown and rainbow trout were caught in good numbers last week, with Paul Kovzan among the successful anglers taking fish to 2.3 kg on mudeyes fished beneath a float.

Also successful with the same approach was Tom Hogan of Drysdale with his biggest fish just on 2 kg.

Redfin remain the main catch though said John, with regulars like Jeff Broughton, taking good catches on minnow and scrubworm.

Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that a patch of rough weather kept most ashore, but the inshore fishing has been good. Whiting in particular have been on the bite, something that he, George Gereige and Lachie Wombell took advantage of at Cape Grant, and elsewhere, last week.

Jamie Behrens caught and released this 51 cm estuary perch – which certainly would have weighed well over 2 kg – from the Barwon River estuary at 5.30 pm on Sunday, September 9, 2007. The lure on this occasion being a 50 mm black and gold Squidgy-fish (Picture: Jason Bird).

Jamie Behrens caught and released this 51 cm estuary perch – which certainly would have weighed well over 2 kg – from the Barwon River estuary at 5.30 pm on Sunday, September 9, 2007. The lure on this occasion being a 50 mm black and gold Squidgy-fish (Picture: Jason Bird).

Estuary perch liberation

In December, Painkalac Reservoir – once supplying water to Fairhaven and Aireys Inlet, and to which there is a walking trail from the Distillery Creek amenities area on Bambra Road – was stocked with 7000 fingerling estuary perch, courtesy of Barwon Water and Fisheries Victoria.

Should they adapt, and survive predation by cormorants and the like over the next few years, we can expect that this slow-growing species will eventually reach a size that will attract recreational fishermen, as have those in Victorian estuaries like that of the Barwon (see file photo).

Jeremy asks:

How do you rig a permanent stopper for a running, or sliding, float for land-based fishing? I’ve followed various presentations on YouTube, but once tied, they all slip.

Jeremy, having determined at what distance up your line your stopper should be, I suggest that you tie a separate length of line there with a nail knot, pulling it up really tight, to form the stopper.

The nail knot is best tied with the aid of a slim metal tube with an inside diameter of perhaps one millimetre. These are available from the hobby section of Tates Toy World in West Geelong, or from Ebay.

Having tied your stopper, you will need to thread a small (5 mm or so) plastic or glass bead onto the line above your float to stop it from riding up over the nail knot when your predetermined dropper fully extends following the cast.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Tim Beusmans with yet another trophy size brown trout that he caught from Lake Purrumbete on Saturday.

Tim Beusmans with yet another trophy size brown trout that he caught from Lake Purrumbete on Saturday.

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park, reports that the Lake provided trophy size brown trout for two of the usual suspects over the weekend; Tim Beusmans catching one of 4.45 kg and Phillip Pirotta catching another of 4.8 kg.

Both fish were caught deep-trolling 26 gram Tassie Devils with downriggers. Phillip also caught a 2.3 kg rainbow trout with the same approach.

A good many other trout have been caught as well, with Stan Rae of Norlane winning a recent competition held at the lake with a catch that included a brown trout of 1.4 kg and four smaller rainbow trout.

John also reports that redfin are still being taken in good numbers, and caught a respectable bag of fish from 700 grams to a kilogram himself using scrubworms and minnow for bait.

Other freshwater reports have come from Lake Bolac along the Glenelg Highway where Brian Jones’ catch from here included a 1.5 kg rainbow trout on Berkley Powerbait.

Shaun (blue hat) and his companion, with the nice bag of fish they caught out near the Prince George Pile off Indented Head at the weekend (Picture: Beachlea Boat Hire).

Shaun (blue hat) and his companion, with the nice bag of fish they caught out near the Prince George Pile off Indented Head at the weekend (Picture: Beachlea Boat Hire).


Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

With snapper off the bite, as is usually the case at Christmas, Jason Treloar and Harley Griffiths were hoping for at least some good size pinkies after a daybreak start off Point Lillias. However, those that they caught were barely legal size and returned.

Their persistence eventually paid off though with several better fish, including one close to 3 kg, while using pilchard for bait.

Derrick Hargreaves was in much the same area, catching several pinkie snapper of legal size and a couple of flathead. But when they went quiet, he trolled over the weed beds with a deep running lure, catching a couple of good size snook.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that flathead have been the main chance of late, and among those to catch them was David Ridley who found a good patch in the deeper water off the boat harbour, picking up several to 38 cm using squid for bait.

On Saturday, Brad and Glen McPoyle fished offshore from Portarlington where their catch on bluebait, included some bigger flathead to 57 cm. And, fishing nearby off Point Richards, were Rob Lomas and Clinton Cole who also picked up a good catch of flathead using soft plastics.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that squid have been plentiful over the past week or so, along with pinkie snapper to a kilogram, not to mention modest catches of some really good size whiting.

Gummy shark have also been present in the deeper water, said Rod, with client Shaun – and his companion, catching a nice one among the mixed bag of fish they caught out near the Prince George Pile.

Gummies have also been present offshore, particularly off Barwon Heads where Daniel Johnson caught one of about 10 kg while fishing out here with Matthew Petts at the weekend. They also cut free a seven-gilled that would have been close to 100 kg.

Summertime blues: Dale Cannon with a 34 kg bluefin tuna; one of several that he caught offshore from Portland last week (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Summertime blues: Dale Cannon with a 34 kg bluefin tuna; one of several that he caught offshore from Portland last week (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland tuna

Although tuna seemed to have disappeared from Portland, Dale Cannon went out wide for a look anyway. Spying surface activity nearby, he headed over that way, hooking several tuna, and releasing all but two, the largest of which weighed 34 kg.

Colin asks:

Geoff, I was interested in your reports of snook being caught from Corio Bay. Can you suggest when, where and how I might catch them land-based?

Colin, in my pre-teen years, I was shown a basic technique of catching snook from the old (now demolished) Parkside Pool along Hearne Parade, by a Mr Page.

It involved stripping a good length of line onto the jetty, then casting out a pilchard rigged on a flight of ganged hooks, which was then retrieved slowly by hand. On feeling a bite, the line was released and allowed to run out for several feet before the snook (which we referred to as pike back then) was hooked.

Back in the 1980s, I was one of several folk to catch them land based on bibbed minnow lures from the North Shore rocks. That was provided low tide allowed access at either dawn or dusk; an approach that should be valid today.

One evening, I saw a large snook caught from the Rippleside Jetty by a gentleman who’d suspended a pilchard beneath his float; so there’s a good start.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Phillip Pirotta with his 4.8 kg brown trout (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Phillip Pirotta with his 4.8 kg brown trout (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).



Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Snook are about in good numbers, in both Corio Bay’s inner and outer harbours. Among those to catch them last week was Darcy Scott who picked up several, using the fillets of one of them for bait.

To good effect as it turned out, for he caught two snapper around the 2 kg mark and a gummy shark of about 5 kg.

Darcy, along with companions Aidan, Liam and Layton Kelly, also did well on the whiting in the Lonsdale Bite at Queenscliff, and what beauties they were: They caught 20 altogether, ranging in size from 40 to 48 cm, using squid for bait.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that squid are back in good numbers over most of the inshore reefs, along with modest catches of good size whiting, particularly on the flood tide.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that the southern boundary of the mussel farm is producing the goods of late with pinkie snapper; gummy shark and flathead being caught. However, good size whiting are scarce.

Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien had a good crack at them on Friday afternoon, and in one of their favourite areas off Curlewis, but as sometimes happens, they caught no big fish at all and had to settle for the ever-present pea-dodgers.

The following day though, Andrew, and his friend Luke Hurley, returned to much the same ground, armed this time with squid jigs; a good move as it turned out for they caught 17 with some good ones among them.

Spearfishing closer in to shore, in about 3 metres of water, Andrew’s son Tim was hunting for the large flathead this area is known for, when he got a surprise. What he first thought was a shoal of large salmon, turned out to be a half dozen or so kingfish, each around the 70 cm mark: But they passed too quickly for a shot.

Fishing offshore from Limeburners Point with soft plastics on Saturday morning, Justin Burns and wife Katryna were soon in business with rock flathead to 800 grams or so, and some fairly large snook. However, the snapper they were hoping for, and which they’d caught here previously, didn’t seem to be present.

Simon Williams with the rainbow trout he caught from Wurdiboluc Reservoir (Picture: Justin Burns).

Simon Williams with the rainbow trout he caught from Wurdiboluc Reservoir (Picture: Justin Burns).

Peter Collicoat with his 3.9 kg brown trout (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Peter Collicoat with his 3.9 kg brown trout (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Freshwater

On Sunday morning Justin and Simon Williams tried their luck at Wurdiboluc Reservoir, where – fishing from the rock wall near the car park – Simon caught a rainbow trout of 1.4 kg while Justin had to settle for a half dozen small redfin.

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park, reports that large brown trout are still on offer with Phillip Pirotta hooking a real beauty on a Rapala F11 one evening last week, only to lose it near the boat.

Undeterred, he headed out first thing the following morning and was rewarded with a brownie of 4.8 kg that – on this occasion – took a Tassie Devil.

Drop-shotting with a Tassie Eliminator, Peter Collicoat from Bellbridge picked up another beauty of 3.9 kg.

Redfin also remain on offer said John, with regulars like Joe Vito picking up fish to a kilogram or so last week using scrubworms for bait.

Lachie Wombell with  sample of the whiting being caught at Portland lately (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Lachie Wombell with sample of the whiting being caught at Portland lately (Picture: Bob McPherson).

George Gereige with a sweep from Cape Nelson (Picture: Bob McPherson).

George Gereige with a sweep from Cape Nelson (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Ryan asks:

Geoff, I recently caught a snapper with a hook in its mouth and trailing a short length of line. It had obviously been there a long time because the hook was corroded and the line had seaweed growing from it. I’ve been told that fish get rid of hooks in a short space of time; so what is the truth?

Ryan, fish that become hooked and escape with the hook imbedded, are stuck with it for quite some time; usually until the tissue around the hook forms a cyst, which eventually breaks away with the hook: A somewhat unpalatable fact for many.

A lot of unwanted or undersize fish are released by cutting the line, leaving the fish burdened with the hook. That is why having a suitable hook remover with you when fishing, and using it carefully to remove the hook – preferably while holding the fish with a wet towel or the like – is a good idea. Of course some fish swallow the hook and there’s little to be done about that.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Justin Burns with the six-banded moonlighter he caught from Cunningham Pier (Picture: Aisha Burns).

Justin Burns with the six-banded moonlighter he caught from Cunningham Pier (Picture: Aisha Burns).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

A variety of fish have been caught from Cunningham Pier and along the Geelong waterfront over the years. I’ve even caught a few offbeat numbers myself, particularly in my youth while fishing – and, dare I say – spear-fishing beneath the pier, but I’ve never encountered a six-banded moonlighter, a specimen of which Justin Burns caught while casting soft plastics from here at the weekend:

Apparently they’re widespread, but not that common

Last week, I reported a catch of snapper from the Corio Bay inner harbour: No fluke as it turned out, for early last week, and in bright moonlight, Andrew Phillips and George Uranus – who’d experienced a couple of dry runs in the outer harbour since last week’s report – fished offshore from the refinery after launching at Limeburners Point.

They lay at anchor there for three hours or so, catching nothing but a couple of banjo shark and a large spider crab before their first snapper, a fish of about 4 kg, took one of their pilchards at about 10.00 pm.

From then on the action was constant until they left at about 11.00 pm leaving them biting; each having caught their respective bag limits of fish from 3.5 to 5.2 kg.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that gummy shark have been turning up amongst anglers catches along the southern border of the mussel farm with Jonny and Mowie Maroenz taking them to 1.5 kg.

Pinkie snapper are still about as well with Matt Fry, who also caught a decent gummy shark, picking up ten of legal size and four flathead while fishing directly out from the boat ramp.

Lachie Wombell with another good size King George Whiting from Cape Grant (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Lachie Wombell with another good size King George Whiting from Cape Grant (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Lachie Wombell with one of the sweep that he and Bob McPherson caught at Cape Nelson last week (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Lachie Wombell with one of the sweep that he and Bob McPherson caught at Cape Nelson last week (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien managed to find the whiting last week, on Thursday, when they caught 24 in six metres of water off Curlewis using their reliable pipi and squid cocktail baits.

Trying again on Sunday afternoon, they anchored up in their previously successful spot and soon had six good size whiting on board, but after that, things went quiet.

Obviously the fish had moved, an event, which in turn had them prospecting nearby areas before reaching their eventual total of 26 fish, the biggest measuring 41 cm.

Jeff Richards of Indented Head reports that snapper are still being caught within the Portarlington harbour, and that a friend of his caught one of 4 kg, and witnessed the capture of another last week. These were caught from the internal breakwater – which begins at the end of Fisher Street – while casting toward the nearby barge mooring.

Shane Hogan of Drysdale with his Murray cod from Bundalong (Picture: John Clements).

Shane Hogan of Drysdale with his Murray cod from Bundalong (Picture: John Clements).

Paul Connor of Warrnambool with the 4 kg brown trout he caught from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: John Clements).

Paul Connor of Warrnambool with the 4 kg brown trout he caught from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: John Clements).

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that rainbow and brown trout to 1.5 kg are still being taken in good numbers, but Tim Beusman – who’d already caught a number of these – was disappointed to lose a brown trout of about 4.5 kg alongside his boat. However, Paul Connor of Warrnambool caught one of 4 kg while trolling a Tassie Devil.

Redfin remain plentiful said john with anglers like Les Broughton still picking up good catches of fish to a kilogram or so from the lake using scrubworms and minnow for bait.

As for John, he spent some time with Shane Hogan of Drysdale, and his father Tom last week while on the Murray at Bundalong near Yarrawonga where Shane took the largest of their three cod at 11.3 kg. The other two were both around the 6.5 kg mark.

Bill Athanasselis and Mick Kollaris on a file photo of a thresher shark that took a lure offshore from the mouth of the Surrey River near Portland some years ago.

Bill Athanasselis and Mick Kollaris on a file photo of a thresher shark that took a lure offshore from the mouth of the Surrey River near Portland some years ago.

Mason asks:

Geoff, I’ve seen you-tube footage of kayakers catching thresher sharks on lures and want to give it a try. Are thresher sharks about? If so, what lures do I use, and where do I fish for them?

Mason, I too have seen footage of thresher sharks being caught, and released, from kayaks – always in the company of other kayakers doing likewise – but never alone because this is a risky activity clearly demonstrated in some of this footage.

Thresher sharks are present at places along the west coast like Point Impossible with November and December good months to try: Lures like the larger Rapala CDs and X-Raps do the job, and from daybreak onward is when to fish for them.

Having caught threshers on lures myself – but never from a kayak – I can tell you that most – if not all – become hooked in the tail, from which you will need a gloved hand and a good set of pliers to affect release.

Lachie Wombell with a smple of the whiting he caught at Cape Grant last week (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Lachie Wombell with a smple of the whiting he caught at Cape Grant last week (Picture: Bob McPherson).

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

On the rocks: Gaiji Koyama with a nice flathead from the rocks at St Helens (Photo: Seiya Koyama).

On the rocks: Gaiji Koyama with a nice flathead from the rocks at St Helens (Photo: Seiya Koyama).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

With few reports from the Corio Bay inner harbour of late, it was encouraging to hear that visiting anglers, Harley Griffiths and Stanley Owen, picked up two snapper, each around the 4-5 kg mark. They were fishing with pilchards for bait offshore from the Corio refinery and also caught some respectable pinkies and several flathead.

Speaking of flathead, Gaiji Koyama picked up a nice one of 45 cm from the rocks at St Helens while fishing with his father Seiya on Saturday.

On Tuesday evening, night shift snapper hunters Andrew Phillips and George Uranus were out in their usual spot by 8.00 pm, between the channel junction off Curlewis and the Point Wilson Pier.

While the fishing was slow to begin with, George caught a nice snapper of about 5 kg at around 10.30, then Andrew caught another that weighed 7 kg shortly after that; both being caught on squid: Staying out until around 1.00 am, they added a good size gummy shark to their bag, but no more snapper.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire has seen plenty of pinkie snapper and leatherjackets being cleaned at the boat harbour lately; not many snapper though. However, there has been the occasional good catch of whiting

Tom Robinson and Keith Berry picked up a dozen nice fish offshore from The Dell on Thursday evening after returning a host of pea-dodgers. However, just before dark, the incoming tide encouraged fish to 40 cm or so, to the table.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that although onshore winds had muddied the waters, some clients – particularly those able to pick a break in the weather – took good catches of whiting, some better than 40 cm.

What is interesting said Rod, is that those doing best of all have been fishing on the drift, something that is not the usual approach for whiting, but technique leads by example so it’s best to take heed.

Legal size pinkie snapper have shown up as well said Rod, probably due to the discoloured water, but those to catch them over the 50 cm mark, have usually ventured out toward the Prince George pile, usually of an evening.

Barwon estuary

Fishing the incoming tide from The Sheepwash on Saturday morning, Simon and Jayden Werner had no trouble catching Australian salmon and mullet that were biting freely; some of which in turn were presented as live bait, hopeful of tempting a mulloway.

They caught two as it turned out, more or less one after the other at around 11.00 am, just before it began to rain; the larger of their two fish measuring 93 cm.

A result like that was worth a replay, so they set out with high hopes of a similar catch on Sunday, only to find there was nothing doing; nothing at all. Interestingly, on Saturday, the water temperature within the estuary was between 18 and 19 degrees, but on Sunday, for some reason, the water temperature had dropped to 15 degrees.

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that early last week, people were complaining about the heat. Come the weekend rain though, and with the track too heavy for most, those – like Terry Sheppard of Regal Marine – who were prepared to accommodate the weather, caught any amount of redfin to 800 grams or so.

Trout fishing was by no means spectacular, said John, but Phil Pirotta of Warrnambool took rainbow trout to 2 kg trolling Tassie Devils, while John Smithson took both brown and rainbow trout of a similar size using the same approach.


Chris asks:

Geoff, I couldn’t help noticing that you have, over the past two weeks or so, disagreed with the 40 cm length limit on pinkie snapper. What do you think it should be?

Chris, in my estimation, a pinkie of 40 cm (total length) would barely weigh a kilogram, while a fish of 60 cm would be approaching 3 kg, the generally agreed size over which they are referred to as snapper. I did make a submission recommending a size increase for pinkies – when such were invited – alas, to no avail.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Aaron Habgood with the 7.5 kg snapper he caught off Clifton Springs last week (Picture: Aaron Habgood).

Aaron Habgood with the 7.5 kg snapper he caught off Clifton Springs last week (Picture: Aaron Habgood).

Aaron Habgood with two crayfish he caught by hand (Picture Aaron Habgood).

Aaron Habgood with two crayfish he caught by hand (Picture Aaron Habgood).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Although pinkie snapper to 50 cm or so have been the main catch in the outer harbour, Aaron Habgood of Red’s Fishing Adventures, caught one of 7.5 kg from 9 metres of water off Clifton Springs last week.

After making an early start on Monday morning, Andrew Johnson anchored up after finding a promising signal some 30 metres south of the Point Richards Channel, hoping for a decent snapper.

As it turned out, there were snapper a plenty, all good size pinkies, most of which he returned unharmed, keeping three fish from 2.5 to 4.5 kg.

While the ratio of big snapper to pinkies is much better after dark, something to which night-stalkers, Andrew Phillips and George Uranus could attest, but they’ve put in the occasional unrewarded vigil over the past week or two. However, that wasn’t the case on Wednesday night.

After moving from their usual spot, north of the channel junction off Curlewis – mainly because of the number of banjo sharks and other unwanted fish taking their baits – they had their first snapper by 9.00 pm.

It was all hands on deck after that though with a total of five snapper from 3.5 to 5.8 kg – one short of their respective bag limits – coming aboard. Although they stayed until midnight hopeful of catching another fish to make up their legal total, that was their lot.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that pinkies have been plentiful in daylight hours, and among those to catch them were Jason Hockey and Stephen Budzienny who found a school east of the mussel farm.

Whiting have been a bit scarce said Mike, but on Friday afternoon Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien caught a dozen beautiful fish to 43 cm, while David Jeynes picked up several while fishing from his Kayak just out from the harbour.

Also seeking the whiting on Wednesday were and Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire of Indented Head and Jeff Richards who picked up half a dozen to 40 cm offshore from Indented Head.

Jeff also had another go at the whiting on Friday afternoon, this time with Chris Hateley of the Keysborough Angling Club. They took eight to 44 cm near Dead Man’s Stick, which is a kilometre or so inside the Prince George light pile.

With the bite slowing down, they moved out to the gutter inside the pile from where they picked up six pinkie snapper, all over the 50 cm mark, and – with the inappropriate length restriction of 40 cm on pinkies – were back at the ramp by 6.30 pm.

Aaron Habgood with a gummy shark that he caught offshore from Barwon Heads (Picture Aaron Habgood).

Aaron Habgood with a gummy shark that he caught offshore from Barwon Heads (Picture Aaron Habgood).

Colin Crook with the Bream Lea Gummy Shark (Picture: Rici Hedditch).

Colin Crook with the Bream Lea Gummy Shark (Picture: Rici Hedditch).

Offshore

Making an early morning start in 22 metres of water off Bream Lea on Saturday, Rici Hedditch and Colin Crook were disappointed to lose what they thought was a good size gummy shark. Later on though, they did catch a female gummy shark of about 10 kg that they released; both took yakka (yellowtail scad) fillets.

A gent of Murtoa with a 4.42 kg brown trout that he caught from Lake Purrumbete (Picture and info from Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

A gent of Murtoa with a 4.42 kg brown trout that he caught from Lake Purrumbete (Picture and info from Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Jackson Toff of Pakenham with a 50 cm, 1.9 kg redfin from Lake Purrumbete (Picture and info from Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Jackson Toff of Pakenham with a 50 cm, 1.9 kg redfin from Lake Purrumbete (Picture and info from Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that trophy size brown trout are still on offer with Milan Radocaj of Geelong catching one of 4.42 kg on a Tassie Devil, with yet another fish of 4 kg being taken by a gent from Murtoa.

Rainbow trout to 1.5 kg or so are also on offer said John, taking both on bait and lures, along with some large redfin; the biggest to date being taken by Jackson Toff from Pakenham whose fish measured 50 cm, weighed 1.9 kg and was taken on a scrubworm.

Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters, along with former test cricketer Merv Hughes and Jason (Stop the Bus) Kennedy, filmed forthcoming segments of Channel One HD “Fishing with Merv Hughes” at Lakes Wartook, Rocklands Reservoir and Lake Toolondo where good size redfin took centre stage.

Trevor also spent a couple of days at Lake Eildon with Michael Evans and Matthew Grinham, whose persistence in deteriorating weather was rewarded with several redfin, a golden perch and three Murray Cod to 70 cm; the biggest of which took a spinnerbait that Michael had cast to a snag.

Michael Evans with his cod from Lake Eildon (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Michael Evans with his cod from Lake Eildon (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Former test cricket star Merv Hughes with a redfin from Lake Wartook (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Former test cricket star Merv Hughes with a redfin from Lake Wartook (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Portland

Bob McPherson reports that there is not much doing close in at the moment with most inshore species only being taken in deeper water by trawlers. Even the bottom fishing in the deeper water is slow said Bob, with his most recent offshore trip with George Gereige producing only three blue eye trevalla and a pink ling.

Jason (Stop the Bus!) Kennedy and Caravan Industry Association CEO Rob Lucas with a nice redfin from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Jason (Stop the Bus!) Kennedy and Caravan Industry Association CEO Rob Lucas with a nice redfin from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Milan Radocaj with a 4.42 kg brown trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture and info from Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Milan Radocaj with a 4.42 kg brown trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture and info from Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Ben asks:

Geoff, while fishing for snapper off Point Wilson last week, I hooked what seemed to be a good size fish, but was bitten off by what could have only been a shark. The same thing happened to a friend of mine who was fishing nearby. Are there usually sharks about at this time of year?

Ben, from late November through to late January, large female sharks, predominantly bronze whalers, and sometimes other species as well, are present in Port Phillip, Corio Bay and Western Port, to bear their young. Having experienced such an encounter it’s best to move elsewhere.

George Gereige with a frothy pink ling taken offshore from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

George Gereige with a frothy pink ling taken offshore from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Andrew Byrne with a trophy size brown trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Andrew Byrne with a trophy size brown trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Damian Coter with a 5 kg brown trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Damian Coter with a 5 kg brown trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).


Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park at Camperdown, reports that the lake is still producing trophy size brown trout with Damian Coter and Andrew Byrne individually picking up fish – one of which was just on 5 kg – on lures fished on downriggers.

Naturally, there were a good many smaller fish taken as well – mainly rainbow trout – by anglers like Phillip Tirotta from Warrnambool who picked up fish to 1.5 kg using mudeyes for bait.

Although Lake Bullen Merri has accumulated a surface layer of blue-green algae, it’s still producing chinook salmon, said John, with Kane Broughton – who was staying up that way with his family – catching one of 3.7 kg at the weekend using a fillet of pilchard suspended just above the bottom.

Redfin as still going strong, said John, with Uri of St Albans Angling Club getting his fair share to 1.4 kg using scrubworms for bait.

A little farther afield, Steven Hill of Camperdown, and his companion Ron Webb, visited Lake Tooliorook last week, taking a mixed bag of rainbow and brown trout to 3.12 kg, on lures.

Linda Stewart with a couple of nice pinkies from Corio Bay (Picture: Murray Stewart).

Linda Stewart with a couple of nice pinkies from Corio Bay (Picture: Murray Stewart).


Corio Bay and the Bellarine Peninsula

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire, reports that there are plenty of good size pinkie snapper about during daylight hours, and among those to catch them on Sunday morning were Murray Stewart and wife Linda.

After launching at Clifton Springs, they anchored up in around 7 metres of water off the Pelican Shores caravan park at Leopold, and as it turned out, their baits of silver whiting were taken by good size pinkies before they’d even reached the bottom.

The thing is, with the improbable size restriction on pinkie snapper at 40 cm, they had their bag limit catches in no time and left them biting.

Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien made yet another trip off Clifton Springs for whiting, trying an area in around 7 metres of water where they’d caught them previously.

However, although the fishing was slow, they caught a dozen really good size fish to 42 cm by 2.00 pm. But then the wind came up from the south-east at around 20 knots, which persuaded them to head back in.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that whiting catches are on the improve, so much so that even folk fishing with whitebait for flathead have been picking up some good size specimens with fish over 40 cm by no means rare. However, the best bait by far said Rod is mussel, which is readily available from various sources at Portarlington.

Kelvin Maclean and Chris Stamalos with one of the gummy shark they caught offshore from Barwon Heads on Sunday.

Kelvin Maclean and Chris Stamalos with one of the gummy shark they caught offshore from Barwon Heads on Sunday.

Barwon estuary

Fishing the Sheepwash from his boat on Wednesday, Simon Werner found catching mullet and small, but legal size, salmon no problem. So, with the tide still trickling in, he broke out the heavier tackle and put one of those on for live bait. A good move as it turned out, for it wasn’t long before he caught a mulloway measuring 86 cm.

With a result like that, it was worth a replay, so on Friday; Simon initiated the process once more, this time catching a mulloway that measured 94 cm.

Offshore

Making an early start on Sunday, Chris Stamalos and Kelvin Maclean were hoping for something decent after anchoring in 31 metres of water off Barwon Heads on Sunday morning.

Their first sign of action came at 7.30 when one of their rods wrapped over; reel screaming to the tune of a 16 kg gummy shark. After that, they caught several slimy mackerel and a couple of large southern calamari, both of which provided first class bait; arguably resulting in their second good run at around 9.00 am, which resulted in the capture of a 22 kg gummy shark.

Ahmed asks:

Geoff, you always seem to have fishing reports from the same people: I see hundreds of people out fishing, so why do you keep mentioning the same ones?

Ahmed, I too see hundreds of people out fishing but suggest that most simply enjoy a day on the water and rarely catch fish. Among those who do, some take care to remain anonymous. However, I welcome well articulated fishing reports and quality photos from those who can provide same; including your good self.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Aaron Habgood with yet another good catch of snapper off Clifton Springs (Picture: Aaron Habgood).

Aaron Habgood with yet another good catch of snapper off Clifton Springs (Picture: Aaron Habgood).

Zoe Stanford with a sample of her whiting catch from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Zoe Stanford with a sample of her whiting catch from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Bellarine Peninsula/ Corio Bay

On Friday, Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien failed in their quest for whiting off Leopold, and in other places where they’d done well recently. So, after hours of catching virtually nothing, they headed back to Clifton for one last try before heading in.

That was around 3.00 pm, by which time the tide had began running in, and with it, the whiting came on the bite. They kept 27 ranging in size from 35 to more than 40 cm, and two flathead, each approaching 50 cm, while using pipis and squid for bait.

Andrew’s son Tim, along with companions Joel Trezise and Callum Olsen, also did well after crossing the channel and anchoring up north east of Point Richards on Sunday where their catch of snapper ranged from 2.5 to 4.5 kg. Hard to say how many they caught, but they kept only one each, releasing the rest.

The night shift remained productive for Andrew Phillips and George Uranus who made another successful trip off Point Wilson on Friday night. Andrew caught a snapper of 7.2 kg toward the high tide at around 8.00 pm, and George caught one of 6.5 kg at midnight.

Alf Cardarelli with the snapper he caught off Clifton Springs last week (Picture: Mike Windsor).

Alf Cardarelli with the snapper he caught off Clifton Springs last week (Picture: Mike Windsor).

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that while snapper remain the main attraction – as Alf Cardarelli could relate after catching one of 5 kg on Thursday – good size pinkies snapper are also present. And that’s something Terry Beasley and Peter Richardson from Cobden in the Western District could relate, having caught them from 35 to 72 cm using pilchards and squid for bait

Australian salmon have also been a strong presence in Corio Bay for some time now and are easily located by the aggregation of birds overhead; something that Simon Werner, daughter Kassidy, and friend Jake Callahan, took advantage at Point Wilson over the weekend, taking fish to a kilogram and better at will.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports on the first good catches of whiting this spring with clients bringing catches of up to a dozen fish, with some around the 40 c mark. They’ve mainly been taken on mussel and pipi. Apart from that said Ro, there’s been plenty of flathead taken as well, along with squid, which were fewer in number this week.

Offshore

With a break in the weather last week, Steve O’Keefe made an early start off Barwon Heads, where – in 43 metres of water – he picked up several snapper from 40 to 69 cm along with a gummy shark and a couple of other species.

George Bolton of Colac with his 4.55 kg brown trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

George Bolton of Colac with his 4.55 kg brown trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Jayden Wright with a rainbow trout that he caught from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Jayden Wright with a rainbow trout that he caught from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).


Freshwater

Steve also fished Lake Elingamite near Cobden where his catch included a 1.76 kg brown trout.

Lake Tooliorook near Lismore has been producing some fine fish lately, and among those to do well here last week were Jake Habib and Justin Cole. They kept ten rainbow trout from 2 to 3 kg, while releasing a good many others; all were taken on lures.

After their success, a return trip was in order , this time with Justin’s 3 year old son Mason, who – with a bit of deft coaching – caught a brown trout of 2.5 kg and a similar size rainbow.

Sammy Giles of Bannockburn also fished Tooliorook last week where his catch included a 2.7 kg rainbow trout that he also took on a lure

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that trophy size brown trout are still on offer with George Bolton of Colac picking up a beauty of 4.55 kg on a Tassie Devil. Tim Beusman of Geelong also caught one of 2.72 kg – while down-rigging with Tassies – along with several smaller browns and rainbows.

Gary Drew and Jason Eastman from Ballarat tackled Lake Purrumbete’s seemingly inexhaustible population of redfin, taking any number from 600 grams to 1.2 kg using minnow and scrubworm for bait.

Tim Beusman of Geelong with brown trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Tim Beusman of Geelong with brown trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Mason Cole 3, with the fruits of his introduction to fishing (Picture: Jake Habib).

Mason Cole 3, with the fruits of his introduction to fishing (Picture: Jake Habib).


Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that shoals of good size whiting are widespread from Portland’s North Shore, all the way down to Cape Nelson, and among those to catch them last week were Zoe Stanford and her father Phil, who – no doubt – have already dined on whiting fillets.


Graham asks:

Geoff, have you done any calculations on sink the rate for rubbers and various head combinations? For example; what weight of jig head would you use on a 6″ paddle tail rubber in 25 metres of water running at 2 knots using 10 kg braid?

Graham; such calculations are well beyond me. However, you may find the publication “Lures in Depth” by Bill Classon and Frank Prokop, helpful. It was published by AFN (03 9729 8788) in 1995 and is available from Amazon, and possibly AFN. Or, perhaps the manufacturer of your lure may be of some help: Keep me updated on your progress.

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