Geoff’s Fishing Report

Lachie Stephens 12, with the 8.5 kg snapper he caught off Clifton Springs on Sunday afternoon (Picture: Nick Stephens).
Lachie Stephens 12, with the 8.5 kg snapper he caught off Clifton Springs on Sunday afternoon (Picture: Nick Stephens).
Bill Athanasselis with his snapper from Black Rock on Sunday morning.
Bill Athanasselis with his snapper from Black Rock on Sunday morning.

Corio Bay/ Bellarine Peninsula

On Sunday afternoon Nick Stephens took his 12 year old son Lachie out off Clifton Springs hopeful of catching a snapper. They caught five as it turned out, in 40 minutes of hectic action, the biggest measured 98 cm, weighed 8.5 kg, and was Lachie’s personal best.

On Thursday afternoon, Andrew Phillips and George Uranus anchored up on the west side of the Wilson Spit hoping to catch a snapper or two, and on dusk they too did so, boating two fish, each about 2.5 kg.

Hoping for something larger though, they stayed on into the night and at about 11.00 pm – just as the tide began running off – they caught two more, one of 5 kg and another of 5.6 kg. Each of their four fish was caught on either silver whiting or squid.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that good whiting catches continue with Jan and Allan Cowdery taking a respectable catch of fish to 39 cm just out from the boat ramp using strips of squid for bait. Also onto the whiting were Andrew and Tim Johnson who picked up bag limit catches off The Dell during office hours on Thursday.

Good size flathead have also been present said Mike, and among those to do well on these were Chris Bowan and Luke Andrighetto who took fish to 45cm about half way out to the channel from the boat ramp.

Michael Evans with his 42 cm redfin from Wurdiboluc Reservoir (Picture: Michael Evans).
Michael Evans with his 42 cm redfin from Wurdiboluc Reservoir (Picture: Michael Evans).
Michael Evans with his 50 cm brown trout from Wurdiboluc Reservoir (Picture: Michael Evans).
Michael Evans with his 50 cm brown trout from Wurdiboluc Reservoir (Picture: Michael Evans).

Freshwater

Last week, Michael Evans fished from the rock wall adjacent to the Wurdiboluc Reservoir car park, continually casting various lures well into the evening. His catch included a 50 cm brown trout that took a 3# Ecogear power shad and a 42 cm redfin that took a Nories Wasaby spoon cast over the shallow weed beds nearby.

Taking a run out to Lake Bullen Merri over the weekend, Simon Werner, along with son Jayden and his friend Jemma Thorpe, took a boat in tow, but with plenty of action along the bank they didn’t bother to launch it.

Casting out unweighted pilchard fillets, they each took bag limit catches of chinook salmon to a kilogram or so that were chasing minnow right onto the shoreline.

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Caravan Park reports that trophy size brown trout are still on offer from the Lake as Alan Jones could attest after a successful weekend’s fishing with mudeyes under a float. Alan caught a good fish of 2.7 kg on Saturday morning, and – with the same approach on Sunday morning – caught a beauty of 5 kg.

Alan also found time to fish nearby Lake Bullen Merri where he caught a rainbow trout of 1.8 kg and three chinook salmon.

Michael Loats with a 6.5 kg snapper from the Lee Beakwater (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Michael Loats with a 6.5 kg snapper from the Lee Beakwater (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Chris Stone with a 3.6 kg kingfish that he caught from the Lee Breakwater (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Chris Stone with a 3.6 kg kingfish that he caught from the Lee Breakwater (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Bob McPherson reports that there may be kingfish on offer after Chris Stone caught a small one on a pilchard from the Lee Breakwater at the weekend.

Snapper have also been caught including one of 6.5 kg that Michael Loats caught from the breakwater on a strip of squid.

Alex Van Der Hulst with a golden perch from Lake Eildon (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).
Alex Van Der Hulst with a golden perch from Lake Eildon (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Ron asks:

Geoff, can you give me any guidance as to the proper use of a bubble float? I have asked various folk and received conflicting answers.

Ron, bubble floats continue to be used in various ways that differ from their intended purpose, hence your conflicted answers: An egg-shaped bubble float measuring say 30 X 40 mm, and featuring a displaceable tapered tube which allows water to be drizzled into the float to provide enough weight for casting, is the most useful design and size.

Bubble floats are threaded onto the line to which a second, much smaller float is threaded, and then fixed in position by crimping on a small split shot onto the line each side. This small float acts both as a bottom stopper for the bubble float and as a bite indicator, usually a metre or so above the hook.

When the bait is taken, the bite is signalled by the movement of the small, fixed-float only. This is because, when rigged in this way, the fish can pull line freely through the bubble float without resistance. Any appreciable movement of the bubble float when a fish takes the bait is symptomatic of incorrect rigging.

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Eleven year old Renae Batten with the snapper she caught off Clifton Springs while fishing with he father Rod (Picture: Rod Batten).
Eleven year old Renae Batten with the snapper she caught off Clifton Springs while fishing with he father Rod (Picture: Rod Batten).
Ben Young with a nice snapper taken off Clifton Springs (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).
Ben Young with a nice snapper taken off Clifton Springs (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Corio Bay/ Bellarine Peninsula

On Friday afternoon Tony Hargreaves took nieces Jamee and Jemma Beyer fishing off Clifton Springs.

Being their first time fishing from a boat, they were pretty excited to see the result of squid jigs going over the side and the capture of several southern calamari and an aero squid.

So, with a good supply of squid, both for both the table and for bait, they anchored up along the edge of the Point Wilson Spit where they hit pay dirt once more, catching eleven snapper from pinkie size to 3 kg, along with a nice flathead.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that snapper are about and among those to catch them were Trevor Holmes and Ben Young who took fish to 6 kg, making trips both in the early morning and evening: And on Saturday morning Rod Batten and his daughter Renae caught two snapper, one weighing 3.5 kg, off Clifton Springs on Saturday morning.

There’s no shortage of whiting either said Mike, as Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien demonstrated on Friday when they found a good patch off The Springs taking 26 beauties, the biggest measuring 41 cm, along with a couple of flathead of 45 and 50 cm.

Naturally, others also did well on the whiting in what appears to be probably, for most anyway, the best whiting fishing seasons in living memory, something that Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head would agree after cleaning over 200 whiting for clients on Sunday, and that’s not counting those who took away bag limit catches to clean themselves.

Aaron Habgood with last week’s catch of whiting from Queenscliff.
Aaron Habgood with last week’s catch of whiting from Queenscliff.
Aaron Habgood with one of the snapper he caught offshore from Port Phillip Heads last week.
Aaron Habgood with one of the snapper he caught offshore from Port Phillip Heads last week.

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Caravan Park reports that the fishing is good up that way at present with redfin a stand-out. Local angler Brian Nygaard scooped the pool last week taking 50 redfin to a kilogram or so on minnow fished just above the bottom. Kane Broughton and his family also caught their share using the same approach.

Trophy size brown trout are also on offer for those seeking them with the biggest sighted last week weighed 4.5 kg and was taken by Chris Redwarren of Ballarat.

John reports that nearby Lake Bullen Merri is still producing chinook salmon with Steven Hille of Camperdown and Mick Giles of the Bannockburn Angling Club among those to take bag limit catches to a kilogram or more using a variety of baits last week.

John also reports that Lake Elingamite near Cobden – where access for even small boats is often difficult – is well and truly operational following Spring rains and among those to benefit from a recent visit was Alan Grant who caught three respectable rainbow trout.

Aaron Habgood, and the young cardiology patients at the Bacchus Marsh, Lake Dewar cardiology boot camp where fishing ruled. (Picture: Aaron Habgood).
Aaron Habgood, and the young cardiology patients at the Bacchus Marsh, Lake Dewar cardiology boot camp where fishing ruled. (Picture: Aaron Habgood).
Aaron Habgood with yet another of those XOS squid off Queenscliff.
Aaron Habgood with yet another of those XOS squid off Queenscliff.

Have a heart

Prolific fishing reporter and former heart transplant recipient, Aaron Habgood, has just returned from the annual, young cardiac patient’s four day boot camp, which was held at Lake Dewar at Bacchus Marsh on this occasion. Aaron has attended this function regularly – along with a crew of cardiac specialists and nurses – since his recovery, ever reminding folk to sign up as organ donors, like those who saved his, and many other lives.

Aaron still made time early last week for taking his share of snapper from three to 6 kg in 40 odd metres of water off Port Phillip Heads, bag limit catches of whiting that he and his companions caught at Queenscliff, along with some of the biggest squid (southern calamari) that you are ever likely to see.

Steve Gack family benefit auction.
Steve Gack family benefit auction.

Fund raising auction

Many would know that Steve Gack, Australian manager of Stoney Creek Clothing and Daiwa Fishing Tackle representative, was tragically killed in a recent late night road accident after the car he was travelling in hit a stray cow on the Hume Highway near Barnawartha, the tragic event leaving a wife and four kids in completely unforeseen circumstances.

On Sunday November 27, a fund raising auction for their benefit, is to be held by the fishing tackle trade, along with Rex Hunt and other media personalities, at the Carlton brew house, 24 Thompson Street Abbottsford (Melway 2H C1) from 4.00 till 7.00 pm. Entry fee is $95.00 with a fantastic array of valuable goods to go under the hammer. The on-line link is https://www.facebook.com/GACKRAISERSteveGackfamily/

Anticipation: Jack Russell “Tex” is ready for action as Kevin McLoughlin brings a good size gummy shark alongside off Torquay,
Anticipation: Jack Russell “Tex” is ready for action as Kevin McLoughlin brings a good size gummy shark alongside off Torquay,
Tony Hargreaves with nieces Jamee and Jemma Beyer, and their excellent catch off Clifton Springs.
Tony Hargreaves with nieces Jamee and Jemma Beyer, and their excellent catch off Clifton Springs.

Romeo asks:

Geoff, I’ve gone out for snapper with pilchards but with no luck. I think it’s because my bait keeps coming off. Every time I wind in the pilchard’s gone: What can I do?

Romeo, the problem may be caused by how you are putting the bait on. When using a pilchard or similar baitfish you can – beginning about two thirds back toward the tail – use your hook as a needle to stitch your line around the backbone two or three times working toward the head. Having done so, place the hook into, then out from the same side of the bait just behind the head, finishing up with a half hitch over the tail.

An alternative is to wrap the bait to your hook and trace with bait elastic, as many do, but it can become a little messy after a while so you need a small pair of scissors to trim off the excess elastic after a while. Using small cable ties to secure your bait I do is another alternative you may care to try, but once again you need plenty of cable ties and a small scissors to trim off the tags.

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Tim Carroll with the 6.5 kg snapper he caught off Curlewis (Picture: Mike Windsor).
Tim Carroll with the 6.5 kg snapper he caught off Curlewis (Picture: Mike Windsor).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Early last week, Andrew Phillips and George Uranus settled in for an evening’s fishing in 8 metres of water between the Mountain View Quarries and the Wilson Spit, and – with generous baits of silver whiting and squid – they were hoping for a snapper or two.

The first rod buckled over just on dark, heralding the capture of their first fish, but the action was by no means fast and furious. In fact they were out until well after midnight for a catch of four snapper from 4.3 to 5.5 kg, along with some pinkies that they returned.

Also successful in much the same area were Daniel Stranger and Kevin McLoughlin who first caught some squid for bait off Curlewis. A good move as it turned out for their catch included a snapper of 5.8 kg.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that good numbers of snapper to 2.5 kg or so are coming in off Curlewis. Some have been a good deal bigger than that with the best sighted last week weighing in at 6.5 kg. Tim Carroll caught that one out toward the channel, also off Curlewis.

King George whiting have been about as well said Mike, and among those to catch respectable bags were Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien, who – in 5 metres of water off Curlewis – took a bag limit catch using small strips of squid for bait. Some of these were really good size fish measuring around the 40 cm mark.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that whiting have put a smile on angler’s faces off Indented Head, and off St Leonards where Aaron Habgood picked up a bag limit catch last week, his fish ranging in size from 35 to 43 cm. Aaron also picked up a good size snapper or two but admits to covering a bit of ground to find them.

Whiting have also been caught by anglers fishing from the pier at Portarlington, and – at about 2.00 pm on Sunday – one angler was seen to catch two snapper of about 3.5 kg apiece from the breakwater section of pier, one on each of his two rods: Such are the possibilities while the water remains discolored from our recent rough weather.

Kevin McLoughlin with a nice gummy shark that he caught from his new boat.
Kevin McLoughlin with a nice gummy shark that he caught from his new boat.
Kevin McLoughlin with one of the snapper he caught from Corio Bay last week.
Kevin McLoughlin with one of the snapper he caught from Corio Bay last week.

Freshwater

On Thursday, Garry Ridgeway met up with Camperdown fishing legend, Roger Tolland at Lake Bullen Merri, hopeful of catching chinook salmon, and indeed were encouraged as anglers came off the water that morning with bag limit catches.

Anchoring up in 20 metres of water they soon had a good stream of berley – consisting of pilchard pieces and poultry pellets – going, which was soon followed by some interest in the baits they’d suspended just above the bottom. They finished up with time to spare, each taking bag limit catches.

Trevor Holmes and wife Natalie took a trip to the Delatite arm at Eildon where they caught several nice golden perch to 52 cm. These were taken on Berkley black grubs slowly worked along the bottom, and on Jackalls.

Bream are active in the Curdies River at Peterborough, and it would seem there are more anglers than ever fishing for them. They were in evidence last week as both bait fishermen, and lure fishing enthusiasts casting from Kayaks, were equally successful.

Trevor Holmes with a nice golden perch taken from the Delatite Arm at Eildon (Picture: Victorian nland Charters).
Trevor Holmes with a nice golden perch taken from the Delatite Arm at Eildon (Picture: Victorian nland Charters).
 Natalie Holmes with her golden perch taken from the Delatite Arm at Eildon (Picture: Victorian nland Charters).
Natalie Holmes with her golden perch taken from the Delatite Arm at Eildon (Picture: Victorian nland Charters).

Jack asks:

Geoff, I was pleased to see that you referred to amateur fishermen in your question and answer last week. We were all amateur fishermen once, but now we are called recreational fishermen: How come?

Jack, the term amateur means that, although an individual may be totally committed to his or her sport or endeavor, their activity is unpaid. On the other hand, the term recreational infers that the activity involved is done as a form relaxation or escape from the work-a-day world; a hobby so to speak.

In reality though, some of us are indeed dedicated amateur fishermen while others go fishing purely as a recreation. What else must be clearly understood is that some of our number, those who work in the industry like paid fishing guides, fishing writers, tackle designers etc, are neither amateur nor recreational.

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Charlie Poulter and Sebastian Hill with a sample of their snapper catch off Point Wilson on Sunday.
Charlie Poulter and Sebastian Hill with a sample of their snapper catch off Point Wilson on Sunday.


Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Chris Poulter and Simon Hill had promised their 12 year old sons, Charlie and Sebastian, a trip out on the snapper when the rough weather eased up: That wasn’t going to happen though, so Sunday was the big day.

After buying some pilchards on the way down to the Clifton Springs boat ramp, they headed out through a stiff south-westerly chop to one of Chris’s “never fail” spots in about 10 metres of water off Point Wilson.

Here, they were blessed with some shelter from the wind that had swung more to the north, and three good size snapper that kept the lads busy before they returned to the ramp around mid day.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that whiting have been fantastic this year, and among those to catch them recently were Tib Polgar and Mal Beaton who took a catch of 26 purlers off Curlewis, many going better that 40 cm.

Also successful was Stuart O’Brien who took a bag limit catch off The Springs using freshly caught squid for bait, while Dennis O’Brien (no relation), took a similar catch off the Dell nearby with the same approach.

Flathead have also been plentiful this year, said Mike, with anglers like Craig Goodison, braving the rough and windy weather on Friday, and picking up good catches of respectable flatties just out from the boat ramp.

Kirt and Noel Behan, both Clifton Springs regulars, took out first and second place respectively in the recent St Leonards Yacht & Motor Squadron and Bellarine Pirates Angling Club’s competition. Their catches included some good size whiting and a 2.71 kg snapper, while another contender, Tony Scaffidi, caught an impressive 2.73 kg squid from Queenscliff.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head, reports that whiting are still being caught along the edge of the Prince George Bank in about 8 metres of water, where on Thursday, Brian and Jenny Cumming caught several, along with a 1.2 meter gummy shark and a 2 kg snapper.

Squid are still the main chance though, said Rod, something to which Andrew Phillips and Chris Stamalos could readily attest after taking a bag limit catch out here on Sunday; an event that prompted their decision to fish Corio Bay’s outer harbour that evening in the hope of catching a snapper or two.

Anchored up on the west side of the Wilson Spit as night fell, they were encouraged by the capture of a 2.5 kg spotted ling, and an obvious snapper that buckled Chris’ rod over before pulling free of the hook. However, as the night wore on, a virtual swarm of eleven-legged starfish moved in on their baits, ruining their chances of catching anything else.

Aaron Habgood with one of his gummy shark.
Aaron Habgood with one of his gummy shark.

Queenscliff

On Sunday, Daniel Stranger of Gone Fishing Charters found plenty of whiting for his clients in 6 metres of water off the Swan Island grass beds at Queenscliff, each having little trouble in taking bag limit catches on the outgoing tide.

Aaron Habgood was also onto the whiting, taking bag limit catches with the same approach. Gummy shark were also on Aarons hit-list with he and his companion notching up several to 10 kg or so from the Symonds Channel, and – on another occasion – doing the same out in 40 metres of water offshore from Port Phillip Heads. And, before I forget; Aaron picked yet another bag limit catch of those big squid from the Lonsdale Bight.

Scott Goleby and his son John spent a few hours fishing the Pine River at Brisbane over the weekend, but their catch was a little different to what you might have expected. Anyway, they released them unharmed (Pictures: Scott and John Goleby).
Scott Goleby and his son John spent a few hours fishing the Pine River at Brisbane over the weekend, but their catch was a little different to what you might have expected. Anyway, they released them unharmed (Pictures: Scott and John Goleby).

15503

Abraham asks:

Geoff, I’ve heard that longlining is to be permitted in Port Philip Bay: What is longlining, and is it more effective than other fishing methods?

Abraham, the term “longlining” defines an aspect of commercial fishing that involves deploying an extended length of line – to which a large number of baited hooks on leaders are attached at intervals – in the expectation of a good catch of fish, snapper in particular, when the line is retrieved. It is illegal for amateur fishermen to use longlines.

What you may have heard though, is that although the commercial harvesting of fish with nets is to be phased out, both in Corio and Port Phillip Bays – a process that is well underway – some commercial operators will retain longlining entitlements.

Fishing Report

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

On Thursday afternoon, Ivan Bereza and I arrived at Limeburners boat ramp to meet Ivan’s friend Dave from Lara for an evening’s fishing, but there was no sign of him.

A quick exchange on the mobile phone revealed that Dave had taken a run down to Curlewis to catch some squid for bait, and by then, was knocking on the door of his bag limit, which he achieved before eventually picking us up to try for a snapper or two.

We caught three as it happened, the biggest at 6 kg and left them biting at 7.30 pm, all being caught on Dave’s freshly caught squid within short run from the boat ramp.

Andrew Phillips and Keith Fry tried their luck off Point Wilson on Saturday night where they dropped a couple of snapper over the snaggy bottom. Their bad luck continued when a school shark bit them off beside the boat. However, they did catch a 3.5 kg elephant fish and several nice flathead.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that snapper have been taken off The Springs and among those to catch them were Noel and Kart Behan with fish to 6.9 kg. They caught those out toward the channel, while Aaron Habgood, Rob Hargreaves and Anthony Sari picked up another six snapper to 6 kg nearby on Friday evening.

With at least nine good size snapper being caught from the St Leonards Pier on Wednesday, following the northerly blow early last week, Jeff Richards and Ken Shea anchored up nearby on Thursday, hoping to pick of one or two more while the water remained discoloured.

First up they caught two nice flathead to 40 cm, but for most of the time, their snapper baits were stripped by pickers: So, out came the light tackle baited with pipi, and by dark they’d caught nine large whiting, the biggest measuring 44 cm.

During the northerly blow last week, Aaron Habgood fished in the shelter of the Queenscliff bight where they hit a patch of the very large squid that are often about at this time of year and took a respectable catch on baited jigs while fishing on the drift.

Offshore

On Friday, Kevin McLoughlin, brother Jeremy and Ben Malouf, picked a break in the weather and took a run out to 30 metres of water off Barwon Heads. As it turned out they didn’t have long to wait before rods were bending to the tune of several large gummy sharks – of which they caught five, releasing all but one – and two good size snapper.

Portland

Anglers fishing for large tuna off Portland had more than rough and windy weather to contend with last week, with a pod of killer whales taking advantage of hooked fish for an easy meal in 35 metres of water off Cape Bridgewater.

Among those to lose at least some of their catch, was Geelong angler Jason Bliss who took several photos of the marauding Orcas as they zeroed in on his fish. However, Jason did manage to boat one tuna weighing 125 kg.

Ollie asks:

What’s happened to the beach at the Geelong Grammar School? It used to be a great place to fish, now you just sink into the mud.

Ollie, as someone who has fished this formerly excellent beach at various times since 1958, first as a teenager on a pushbike, and as recently as a few weeks ago, I have never seen the beach – or what remains of it – in such a parlous state. In fact I suffered an injury while walking from my vehicle to the jetty one occasion recently when I sank in the mud, fell over, and damaged my knee.

I don’t know if there is anything to be done about it: Those with whom I’ve discussed the situation are of the opinion that recent flooding in Hovells Creek has caused both the beach, and what had remained of the sand spit, to be virtually washed away. I can only say that there is a good deal of anecdotal and photographic evidence that this beach and the sand spit had survived intact from early settlement until comparatively recent times.