Lucky Strike: The columnist with his snapper.

Lucky Strike: The columnist with his snapper.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Since last week’s report of James McCall’s snapper from Cunningham Pier, others have been taken from the Geelong Waterfront and elsewhere.

The largest I know of weighed 8.75 kg and was taken by Stuart Scott while fishing from his boat near Cunningham Pier at around nine o’clock on Saturday night. The bait used was a strip of mantle taken from a squid he’d caught that afternoon.

I caught a nice snapper myself, but just prior to that happy event which occurred just after dark, I was on the receiving end of numerous bites from an angry, and noisily protesting seagull that had managed to entangle itself in the ultra fine – and almost invisible – gelspun line that I had just bought. Fortunately, with no harm done to me, the bird, or my line, the separation was made.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that squid are in good numbers off The Springs. Among those to catch them on Monday was Brad Stephenson while Jake Musson caught his on Friday.

Daniel Johnson and Kieran Anderson also tried for squid off Curlewis on Monday afternoon, keeping a dozen or so for bait and the table. With fresh bait, they headed out off Swan Bay the following evening, hoping for a gummy shark or two, but only caught one before worsening weather saw them beat a hasty retreat.

Jeremy McLoughlin with his two whiting from 40 metres of water off Torquay (Photo: Kevin McLoughlin).

Jeremy McLoughlin with his two whiting from 40 metres of water off Torquay (Photo: Kevin McLoughlin).

Offshore

Anchored up in 40 metres of water off Torquay at the weekend, were Kevin and Jeremy McLoughlin. They were also hoping for a gummy shark or two, but things were a bit slow in that department, but Jeremy – who was fishing with small strips of squid on the bottom – bagged two beautiful whiting, each well over the 40 cm mark.

Freshwater

Lake Bullen Merri is still producing good size chinook salmon, as Tom Robinson and

Keith Berry could attest after catching several to 3.5 kg while suspending pilchard fillets and whitebait just above the bottom:

“Once your sinker touches the bottom” said Tom, “you need to raise it a metre or so before putting your rod in a holder and waiting for a bite – which may be barely noticeable – before striking”.

I’ve had enquiries about land based fishing for chinook salmon at Bullen Merri, but the only place I’ve known them to be caught land based was from Hoses Rocks at nearby Lake Purrumbete. Any further information on this subject would be appreciated.

Chris Woolley with the 114 kg tuna that he caught offshore from Cape Bridgewater (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Chris Woolley with the 114 kg tuna that he caught offshore from Cape Bridgewater (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Jason Cormio with his 81 kg tuna.

Jason Cormio with his 81 kg tuna.


Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that large tuna are still on the prowl around Cape Bridgewater: Successful anglers include Jason Cormio who, on Wednesday, picked one up of 81 kg from 70 metres of water off Bridgewater Bay; Chris Woolley caught another of 114.8 kg in 100 metres of water off Cape Bridgewater on Sunday.

Bob also reminds land based anglers that rough onshore weather at this time of year has consistently heralded the capture of big snapper from the Lee breakwater, and – with strong winds currently from the northerly quarter – prospects are good.

John asks:

Geoff, with snapper being caught from Cunningham Pier, as described in your column of last week, I recall that in my younger days we caught snapper from the rock wall between Cunningham Pier and Lewmarine: Would it still be worth fishing there?

John, things do change: Where you could once park along the Foreshore Reserve above the rock wall of which you speak, for free, you are now required to pay $2.70 an hour for that privilege: That’s except on weekends and public holidays of course, when you are likely to be mowed down by power-walkers with eyes affixed to the horizon and not where your rods and other fishing tackle might be.

In addition to that, the area where you, and I, were able to drive our sand spikes into the ground is now paved over, as I discovered on Saturday week when down that way taking the picture for last week’s column. However, you could drive your sand spikes into the manicured turf behind the paved pathway so folk could pass under your lines, but I fear our city fathers (or their female equivalents), may frown on that.

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James McCall and Eddie Szmidel with the 7.7 kg snapper they caught from Cunningham Pier on Saturday morning.

James McCall and Eddie Szmidel with the 7.7 kg snapper they caught from Cunningham Pier on Saturday morning.

James McCall with the 7.7 kg snapper that he caught from Cunningham Pier.

James McCall with the 7.7 kg snapper that he caught from Cunningham Pier.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

On Saturday morning, James McCall and Eddie Szmidel fished from Cunningham pier as many do, hoping for at least, a flathead or two.

Their lines were out by 8.30, but it was almost an hour before they got a bite: This was clearly no flathead though; it was in fact a good size snapper that James led down the to the rock wall where Eddie was waiting with the landing net. From there it greeted the scales for a verdict of 7.7 kg.

With a break in the weather last week, Harley Griffiths and Stanley Owen launched at St Helens, searching for the Australian salmon that have provided such great fishing lately.

The school of fish they eventually found, between Eastern Beach and Limeburners Point, were smaller than some they’d caught previously, but around the 500 to 700 gram mark, they provided great sport on light tackle and 10 gram Lazers.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that squid are still about in good numbers and that Matt Bull and Michael Evans took a respectable bag of fourteen about half way out to the channel from the boat ramp: Others caught them as well.

Daniel Stranger reports that his clients aboard “Gone Fishing Charters” were rewarded over the weekend with great catches of good size whiting from 6 metres of water out off the Swan Island grass beds. Most of the action was on the ebb tide, with pipis and small strips of squid the stand-out baits.

Gummy shark have also been very much on the menu said Daniel, with fish being taken both inside and outside of Port Phillip Heads. However, the biggest of all have come from the deeper channels that cut through the Great Southern Sand, and caught by those prepared to weather the large number of unwanted species that soon zero in on any good size bait.

Snapper are offshore as well, but sometimes it can be hard to find the bigger ones. Not for Jason Fairbridge though who picked up a beauty measuring 90 cm in 38 metres of water off Black Rock, but at only 7.7 kg it might have been a bit on the lean side.

Surf

Surf fishing enthusiast Tony Ingram took advantage of last week’s evening high tides to catch a number of good size Australian salmon to just on 1.5 kg from Bancoora Beach. Using cut pilchards for bait, then 40 gram Lazers, proved to be an exercise that revealed no difference in their eagerness to take either.

Freshwater

Early last week, Tom Robinson and Keith Berry spent Wednesday afternoon fishing West Barwon Dam near the Township of Forrest.

Although the water levels have risen, they still remain quite low and drifting weed – probably uprooted by recent high winds – created difficulties, especially when retrieving lures. Never the less, using mudeyes for bait, and casting various soft plastics, they caught a brown trout of almost 2 kg, several smaller rainbows, and two redfin.

Joel Buso with his big tuna taken off Cape Bridgewater (Photo Mark Scholte).

Joel Buso with his big tuna taken off Cape Bridgewater (Photo Mark Scholte).

 A pigmy sperm whale grounded at Portland. Inset: Dorsal fin – resembling a pointed finger – being one diagnostic feature in separating the pigmy sperm whale from the dwarf sperm whale. Photo Bob McPherson).

A pigmy sperm whale grounded at Portland. Inset: Dorsal fin – resembling a pointed finger – being one diagnostic feature in separating the pigmy sperm whale from the dwarf sperm whale. Photo Bob McPherson).

Portland

With rough weather early last week there weren’t too many fishing out off Portland, but Mark Scholte and Joel Buso made an early start, and at 8.30 am – in 45 metres of water off Cape Bridgewater – they hooked up on one of the lures they were trolling, and it soon became obvious that this was a barrel.

Eventually subduing their tuna in the rough sea conditions, they headed back to Portland where it greeted the scales for a verdict of 101 kg.

James asks:

Geoff, you have recently mentioned large tuna being caught close in off Cape Bridgewater. Would you consider this area to be a possible land based game fishing spot?

James, theoretically yes, it could be. Unfortunately though, there are few – if any – easily fishable rock ledges comparable to; say Green Cape in southern NSW. Although Cape Bridgewater provides deep water access, landing any big fish from Cape Bridgewater’s rough terrain would be very difficult.

However, there are several lower ledges where landing a good size fish may be possible in calm weather, but calm weather here is not the rule: So, in the interests of personal safety, I suggest being very cautious about attempting to fish from here.

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Aaron Habgood with the large, pregnant gummy shark that he caught and released (Photo: Aaron Habgood).

Aaron Habgood with the large, pregnant gummy shark that he caught and released (Photo: Aaron Habgood).


Bellarine Peninsula/Corio Bay

After being scheduled to run the beer trolley at their footy club’s weekend celebration day at the Curlewis golf club, Andrew Johnson and Steve Timmins were a little dismayed that an official check of their credentials left them unqualified for that task; but they were told they could still stick around if they wished.

Stick around on a calm day like what we had on the weekend? Blow that, they decided: Let’s go fishing!

Squid were the first item on the menu off Clifton Springs, and – after catching a half dozen of those – they went in search of the whiting. Not in vain as either as it turned out, for they caught 17 good ones while fending calls from thirsty footy club members trying find the beer trolley.

Andrew’s son Tim launched off Clifton Springs looking for a snapper, along with his Go-Pro to film the action which, in due course, took place in the vicinity of the Wilson Spit. The footage was impressive but the fish escaped: But was it a snapper? A severed trace indicated his opponent may have been a shark.

First order of business for Murray and Darcy Scott on Thursday afternoon was to catch some squid, which they did off Hermsley Road Curlewis.

With fresh bait and great weather, they anchored up off the Mountain View Quarries before going home. A good move as it turned out for at about 7.00 pm, Darcy caught a 7.5 kg snapper that rounded their day off nicely.

With the weather holding over the weekend, the pair took a run out into 50 metres of water off Torquay where their catch for the day included a gummy shark of 12.5 kg.

Speaking of gummy shark, Aaron Habgood and his companions caught a good few over several trips to the West and Symonds Channels last week; the biggest, a pregnant female that would have been at least 25 kg, was held up for a quick photo and then released.

Aaron also took a bag limit catch of whiting in 5 metres of water off St Leonards last week using pipis and squid for bait.

Jovan Pageot with his 2.8 kg Toolondo brown trout (Photo: Victorian Inland Charters).

Jovan Pageot with his 2.8 kg Toolondo brown trout (Photo: Victorian Inland Charters).

Freshwater

Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters worked hard for his client Jovan Pageot, first taking a run up to Lake Fyans rather than fishing Lake Toolondo in the prevailing calm and usually unproductive conditions, but took only a redfin.

Heading back to Toolondo in the afternoon seemed like a good idea, and – as it turned out – proved to be so with Jovan picking up a brown trout of 2.8 kg on an OSP bent minnow.

Michael Goldby with two of the blue eye trevalla that he and Bob McPherson caught off Portland last week (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Michael Goldby with two of the blue eye trevalla that he and Bob McPherson caught off Portland last week (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Mark Scholte with Monday’s tuna (Photo Bob McPherson).

Mark Scholte with Monday’s tuna (Photo Bob McPherson).

Portland

Bob McPherson reports that large bluefin tuna were present offshore from Portland last week, with some being taken close in to Cape Bridgewater. The successful anglers included Brendan Loizeau and Ben Love who were among the private operators to take fish to 121.7 kg. Charter Boat operators also found large tuna for their clients who were queuing up until after dark to weigh their fish.

Over the weekend though, with calm seas and a huge contingent of anglers on the water, Bob says he didn’t see a single large tuna caught and there were very few smaller fish as well.

However, as is sometimes the case, when the weather turned sour on Monday with almost nobody on the picnic ground, Mark Scholte and Joel Buso braved the high seas off Cape Bridgewater for a solid hook-up at 8.30 am. Bob weighed the tuna they brought back to Portland at 101 kg; a memorable catch given the weather.

Brian Nolan and Andrew Moffat with one of the mako sharks they caught off Sydney over the weekend (Photo: Kevin McLoughlin).

Brian Nolan and Andrew Moffat with one of the mako sharks they caught off Sydney over the weekend (Photo: Kevin McLoughlin).

 Brendan Loizeau and Ben Love with a 121.7 kg tuna from Sydney (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Brendan Loizeau and Ben Love with a 121.7 kg tuna from Sydney (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Upstate

Kevin McLoughlin, Brian Nolan and Andrew Moffat fished the Sydney Mako Comp over the weekend. They did rather well catching three mako shark, one of which they kept, the other two being released.

Anglers fishing The Cylinders at Thirteenth Beach: Barwon Heads Bluff is to the right with the now defunct staircase to the left.

Anglers fishing The Cylinders at Thirteenth Beach: Barwon Heads Bluff is to the right with the now defunct staircase to the left.

Bernie asks:

Geoff, the staircase at assembly point 31W leading down to The Cylinders at Thirteenth Beach was damaged last year by a weather event and has not yet been repaired. Do you have a progress report on the re-building of the staircase?

Bernie, I rang the Barwon Coast Committee of Management over this issue which has not been forgotten. One difficulty is that the pylons of the original structure were only at shovel depth and vulnerable to extreme weather events. In addition to that, seismic testing had shown the soil – in that same area –to be insufficiently stable for rebuilding of same. However, ongoing testing revealed soil of greater stability some 50 metres to the west which would be much more supportive of such a structure.

Another obstacle is the cost, which is estimated to be in the region of $90,000 – a substantial portion of which has been the subject of a claim made to the State Government – which has to be found before the work can go ahead.

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Aaron Habgood with one of his gummy shark from the Symonds Channel (Photo: Aaron Habgood). .

Aaron Habgood with one of his gummy shark from the Symonds Channel (Photo: Aaron Habgood). .

Lochie Habgood with his gummy shark (Photo: Aaron Habgood).

Lochie Habgood with his gummy shark (Photo: Aaron Habgood).

Bellarine Peninsula/Corio Bay

On Thursday afternoon Aaron Habgood, along with Lochie Habgood and Olivia Armstrong, fished the incoming tide in the Symonds Channel near Mud Island hoping for a gummy shark or two. Using fresh Australian salmon for bait, they caught three as it turned out, including a big one approaching 15 kg.

Aaron also fished off Queenscliff over the weekend where, as usual, he picked up a bag limit catch of whiting in 5.5 metres of water; these were also caught on the incoming tide.

Also successful on the whiting was Steve O’Keefe who made the journey across Port Phillip Heads to Point Nepean where he caught 17 whiting; the bigger ones measuring up to 42 cm.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that whiting are still a good chance off The Springs and among those to take respectable catches was Yan Macandog who fished out near the mussel farm where he also caught several good size squid.

Flathead are still the main catch though said Mike, and Tom O’Brien brought in fifteen that he caught on the drift in around 9 metres of water off Point Wilson.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head, reports that clients had a good day on Sunday with flathead and squid the main catch.

Fishing just offshore from the entrance of Swan Bay on Sunday, Bob Grundill, his son Luke, and Luke’s Grandad Bert, were hoping for a whiting or two which seemed to be in short supply. Never they less, they did not return empty-handed for they caught several good size squid and a number of leatherjackets.

Olivia Armstrong with her gummy shark (Photo: Aaron Habgood).

Olivia Armstrong with her gummy shark (Photo: Aaron Habgood).

Dallas D’Silva, director of VRFish with another good size brown trout taken while fishing from the bank of Lake Toolondo at first light on Friday morning (Photo: Victorian Inland Charters).

Dallas D’Silva, director of VRFish with another good size brown trout taken while fishing from the bank of Lake Toolondo at first light on Friday morning (Photo: Victorian Inland Charters).

Surf

Finding one of his favourite fishing spots at Thirteenth Beach busy with surfers last week, Tony Ingram decided to try his luck further up the beach and found a promising spot 150 metres or so to the left of the W40 car park along Thirteenth Beach Road.

Using pipis for bait and No 6 hooks in the hope of tempting a whiting, he was surprised to first catch a large leatherjacket before finding himself fast to a good size salmon that leaped clear of the water.

Rigging with larger hooks and using cut pilchards for bait, the salmon were keen to play and he caught half a dozen or so, releasing all but two; each weighing just over 1.5 kg. And, with the tide full just on dark, he hooked something a good deal larger than those, but after a few minutes the hook pulled free.

Craig Hicks with a nice brown trout from Lake Toolondo (Photo: Victorian Inland Charters).

Craig Hicks with a nice brown trout from Lake Toolondo (Photo: Victorian Inland Charters).

Paul Latimer with his brown trout from Lake Toolondo (Photo: Victorian Inland Charters).

Paul Latimer with his brown trout from Lake Toolondo (Photo: Victorian Inland Charters).

Freshwater

Fishing Lake Toolondo with Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Fishing Charters last week were Craig Hicks, Paul Latimer and Brad Stevens; all of whom caught good size brown trout on OSP Bent Minnows.

After attending a meeting pertaining to the water crisis faced by Lake Toolondo last Thursday, Dallas D’Silva of VRFish also fished Lake Toolondo from the bank at first light on Friday morning and was rewarded for doing so with two good size brown trout.

James Murphy looks pleased with his 110.7 kg tuna from Portland (Photo: Bob McPherson).

James Murphy looks pleased with his 110.7 kg tuna from Portland (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Brad Royce with his 123.5 kg tuna taken offshore from Cape Bridgewater.

Brad Royce with his 123.5 kg tuna taken offshore from Cape Bridgewater.

Portland

Bob McPherson reports that several large tuna were taken offshore from Cape Bridgewater on Sunday with the action coming from as close in as 10 metres of water. Among them was one of 110.7 kg taken by Darren Brown, James Murphy and Doug Bauer, and another of 124 kg taken by Simon Rinaldi’s crew aboard Red Hot Charters.

Alex Crunn with his silver trevally from Cairns.

Alex Crunn with his silver trevally from Cairns.

Upstate

Geelong angler, Alex Crunn, was sick and tired of the cold and windy weather we’ve had so much of lately and hopped on a plane to Cairns where he got a berth on a charter boat.

The caught quite a few different fish, but his prize catch was a silver trevally, just like the ones we catch here but it was a big one. Alex didn’t weigh the trevally but you can see from the photo how big it was.

Bree asks:

Geoff, I take offence at much of the content of your column on catching fish: You report captures of tuna at Portland which are, as you have sometimes mentioned, have to fight for hours with a sharp hook through their mouth. And, in addition to that, you have described, and published, photographs of children being introduced to the cruel activity of fishing. Don’t you appreciate the total impropriety of this activity in our day and age?

Bree, fish are commercially harvested in quantities far in excess of what we recreational fishermen catch, and by crews whose only respect for the fish is their dollar value. The tuna – to which you refer – when harvested on commercial longlines, remain hooked for far longer than those caught by recreational fishermen. And, in addition to that, I consider your attitude toward teaching kids to fish to be delusional.

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Aaron Habgood with the 30 kg school shark that he caught offshore from Portland at the weekend.

Aaron Habgood with the 30 kg school shark that he caught offshore from Portland at the weekend.

Bellarine Peninsula

With few boats out on the water on Wednesday, Dennis O’Brien and Peter Dawson certainly had elbow room off Clifton Springs where they eventually found a good patch of whiting out in 8 metres of water. All went according to plan and they finished up with their respective bag limit catches.

Fishing in six metres of water off the Swan Island grass beds at Queenscliff early last week, Aaron Habgood and his companion took bag limit catches of really good size whiting on the incoming tide using small strips of squid for bait.

With big tides pouring into the Queenscliff harbour last week, Jason Treloar and

Tony Ingram saved their attempt to catch silver trevally until the tidal flow eased off in the late afternoon. A good move as it turned out, for they didn’t have long to wait for the first of several respectable silver trevally that they caught using whitebait and pilchard fillets for bait.

Barwon Estuary

Fishing the Barwon estuary on the last of Sunday afternoon’s rising tide, Tom Robinson and Keith Berry also had success on silver trevally – some of which were approaching the kilogram mark – but it was bream they were really seeking.

While mullet, small Australian salmon, and silver trevally were happy to take the peeled prawn and sandworm they were using for bait, patience won the day, and on slack water after dark, they caught two bream, each measuring 36 cm.

Mario and Daniel Aquilina, and Daniel’s mate Brendan with their 102 kg tuna (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Mario and Daniel Aquilina, and Daniel’s mate Brendan with their 102 kg tuna (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Vince Arfi and Daniel Bateman with the 120 kg tuna that they caught last week (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Vince Arfi and Daniel Bateman with the 120 kg tuna that they caught last week (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Offshore

Picking a break in the weather on Tuesday, Simon Werner and Jamie Dixon fished in around 7 metres of water offshore where they took a total of 20 whiting to 46 cm. Also included in their catch were a number of respectable pinkie snapper.

Freshwater

On Sunday, Simon took a run out to Wurdiboluc Reservoir with a good supply of scrubworms hoping to pick up a nice trout in the discoloured water. He didn’t have long to wait for the first bite, but it wasn’t a trout. It was in fact the first of four eels he caught and released, the biggest of which would have weighed about 4 kg.

Earlier in the week, Daniel and Tim Johnson tried their luck on the West Barwon Dam near Forrest, casting soft plastics from the bank. While the fishing was slow they did catch a redfin and a rainbow trout, each of about a kilogram.

Portland

Bob McPherson reports that large tuna continue to be caught off Portland: On Wednesday – while trolling lures close in to Cape Bridgewater – Mario and Daniel Aquilina, and Daniel’s mate Brendan, picked up a nice one of 102 kg that kept them busy until nightfall and on Thursday, Vince Arfi and Daniel Bateman caught another of 120 kg in much the same area.

The weather closed in over the weekend keeping most offshore enthusiast ashore, but Aaron Habgood and his companions from Geelong, who were eager to make good use of their visit, headed out far enough off Portland for some bottom bouncing. They were well rewarded for doing so with several gummy shark and a 30 kg school shark.

Martial Mantis Shrimp (Photo: Blair Patullo).

Martial Mantis Shrimp (Photo: Blair Patullo).

Martial Mantis Shrimp (Photo: Blair Patullo).

Martial Mantis Shrimp (Photo: Blair Patullo).

Roland asks:

Geoff, I know what a manta is, but now I’ve heard of a manta shrimp; are they found locally, and if so, where?

Roland, Googling manta shrimp reveals the creature to be a mantis shrimp, so-named because its forelimbs resemble those of a praying mantis and indeed fulfil the same purpose.

The martial mantis shrimp, which grows to at least 150 mm is found in Port Phillip and Corio Bays, but because it excavates deep burrows in the mud or sand, is rarely seen. Locally, their remains are sometimes discovered in the stomachs of snapper that have been caught after foraging for crabs in territory also inhabited by mantis shrimp.

Other varieties – like the tropical peacock mantis shrimp – have evolved fist-like clubs at the elbow that are capable of delivering a punch of sufficient force to smash the shells of crabs and large snails. In addition to that, their forearms – when extended – taper to dagger-like, stabbing weapons. There are more than 400 species of mantis shrimp and some – like the Christmas Island variety – grow to the size of a lobster.

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Danny Skene with his 135 kg tuna from Portland (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Danny Skene with his 135 kg tuna from Portland (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Kevin Agius, Reg Kalkan and Justin Azzopardi  with their 150.8 kg tuna (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Kevin Agius, Reg Kalkan and Justin Azzopardi with their 150.8 kg tuna (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Geelong anglers to catch big tuna at Portland over the weekend included Mark Scholte and Dave Standing. Their fish weighed 133.8 kg and was hooked while trolling in 40 metres of water. It was in fact, the eleventh tuna over 100 kg that Mark has caught this year.

Also fishing off Portland on Sunday morning were Geelong anglers Danny Skene, Matt Carroll and Ben Jenkins, who – at ten o’clock – hooked up to what eventually turned out to be a 135 kg tuna. However, it wasn’t far short of 1.00 pm when they managed to boat it; Danny making the comment that he may stick to snapper after that bruising encounter.

Congratulations also goes to Tony Jones of Hamilton, who headed out by himself, and – single handedly – managed to boat a tuna that greeted the scales for a verdict of 126 kg.

Bob McPherson reports that the tuna – which are presently feeding on dense aggregations of pilchards along the west coast – were caught in water as shallow as 17 metres over the weekend and included two beauties, each weighing 150.8 kg: One was taken by Amy Jobson and Robbie Atamo who hooked their prize close in to the Cape Nelson Lighthouse while the other was taken just offshore from Cape Bridgewater by Kevin Agius, Reg Kalkan and Justin Azzopardi

Mark Scholte with the 133.8 kg tuna he caught offshore from Portland on Saturday (Photo: Dave Standing).

Mark Scholte with the 133.8 kg tuna he caught offshore from Portland on Saturday (Photo: Dave Standing).

Robbie Atamo and Amy Jobson with the 150.85 kg tuna that they caught offshore from Cape Nelson on Sunday (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Robbie Atamo and Amy Jobson with the 150.85 kg tuna that they caught offshore from Cape Nelson on Sunday (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Bellarine Peninsula

On Friday morning, Andrew Johnson and Peter Dawson were out off Clifton Springs looking for a whiting or two, but initially, couldn’t raise a bite. However, as the tide changed to run out at around 11.00 am, it was a different story.

From then on they had a hectic hour and a half’s fishing, and by early afternoon, they’d both taken bag limit catches of whiting from where they’d eventually anchored up in just on 7 metres of water. There were some beauties among them too, with Pete taking one of 43 cm.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that squid have been about with some anglers taking bag limit catches; among them Lachlan Hill who finished up with ten nice ones. Whiting have also been present said Mike, with John Fotias and his family taking a respectable catch off The Springs.

Aaron Habgood, like others fishing for whiting over the weekend down Queenscliff way, didn’t do too well with the slower tides that were running. Earlier in the week though, it was a different story when he and a companion took bag limit catches from five metres of water with their biggest fish measuring just on 50 cm.

Tony Jones of Hamilton with the 126 kg tuna he caught offshore from Portland at the weekend (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Tony Jones of Hamilton with the 126 kg tuna he caught offshore from Portland at the weekend (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Ant Vargato with his 45 kg tuna from Portland (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Ant Vargato with his 45 kg tuna from Portland (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Offshore

Taking a run off Torquay on Sunday morning were Kevin McLoughlin, Brian Nolan and Paul Carson, each hoping for some action with the fresh squid and mackerel that they had for bait. None were disappointed as it turned out for – anchored in 30 metres or so – they caught three gummy shark to 10 kg, one of which they kept, and a snapper of 3.7 kg.

Aaron Habgood with yet another sample of his and his crew’s regular whiting catches off Queenscliff. They caught these last week.

Aaron Habgood with yet another sample of his and his crew’s regular whiting catches off Queenscliff. They caught these last week.

Brian Nolan with the snapper he caught offshore from Torquay at the weekend (Photo: Kevin McLoughlin).

Brian Nolan with the snapper he caught offshore from Torquay at the weekend (Photo: Kevin McLoughlin).

Freshwater

Making a recent trip to the West Barwon Dam, Simon Werner, his son Jayden and Jayden’s friend Jemma Thorpe, and Rod Butcher, were delighted to see the water level had come up a metre or so since Simon’s previous visit.

However, while the boys gave their lures a thorough workout, Jemma caught the only fish for the day, a 1.2 kg brown trout that took a scrubworm fished on the bottom.

Brian asks

I hear the terms nippers and clickers from time to time; are they both the same animal?

Brian, they are both crustaceans but of different species: Clickers are pistol shrimp. Those in our part of the world are greenish in colour and may be found in the intertidal zone under shells and stones among seaweed and in small pools of water at low tide. The term “clickers” refers to the sound made when snapping their large claw shut.

On the other hand nippers refer to Bass yabbies which are pinkish in colour and live in burrows within the intertidal zone, which are sometimes quite deep. They are best gathered at low tide when their burrows are exposed, allowing the creature inside to be drawn out – usually along with quite a bit of sand or mud – using a yabby pump.

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Aaron Habgood and Cousin Rozzella with their whiting catch off Swan Island.

Aaron Habgood and Cousin Rozzella with their whiting catch off Swan Island.

Aiden Jarosinski with his 14 kg gummy shark off Anglesea last week (Photo: Kevin McLoughlin).

Aiden Jarosinski with his 14 kg gummy shark off Anglesea last week (Photo: Kevin McLoughlin).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

With inclement weather keeping most anglers off the water, there was a question as to whether the whiting were still to be found off Clifton Springs, and on Friday morning, that was something Andrew Johnson and Pete Dawson aimed to find out.

After making a number of moves with no reward, more than enough to send the average punter back to the ramp, they eventually found a good patch out in 7 metres of water from which they were each able to take bag limit catches using strips of squid for bait.

Passing on the drumbeats to friends Brodie Bell and Matt Hommelhoff, they too were out on the purple patch on Saturday for similar returns using the same approach, while on Saturday Afternoon, Andrew – along with son Daniel and Callum Olsen, picked up a respectable catch of squid off Curlewis, the biggest nudging the kilogram mark.

Also successful on the squid from Curlewis were Murray and Darcy Scott who tried several locations on the north side of Corio Bay for squid, but all they found was discoloured water and little else. Moving south they picked up bag limit catches off Hermsley Road.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that he’s only had a couple of boats out again this week, and squid have been the main catch along with flathead. Whiting have been scarce said Rod but some have been caught.

On Saturday, Jeff Richards and Chris Hateley had no trouble catching eight squid off Indented Heads before heading to one of their favourite spots about 2 km east of the West Channel Pile at St Leonards where they tried for whiting in 7 metres of water.

They had no success at first, not using squid for bait anyway, so they broke out a bag of pipis from the cooler and the change of bait did the trick. The whiting responded and by 3.30 pm they each had their bag limit catches and were heading back to the ramp.

Whiting have been good off Queenscliff as well, where – in perfect conditions early on Sunday morning’s outgoing tide – Aaron Habgood, Rowan Cozzella and two of Rowan’s cousins anchored up in 7 metres of water off the Swan Island grass beds. Here, using squid and pipis for bait, they each caught their individual bag limit catches.

Daniel Neal with his gummy shark taken off Port Phillip Heads last week (Photo: Jason Andrew)

Daniel Neal with his gummy shark taken off Port Phillip Heads last week (Photo: Jason Andrew)

Jason Andrew with the kingfish he caught outside Port Phillip Heads last week (Photo Daniel Neal)

Jason Andrew with the kingfish he caught outside Port Phillip Heads last week (Photo Daniel Neal)

Offshore

With a break in the weather over the weekend, Jason Andrew – along with friends Daniel and Billy Neal – headed out though Port Phillip Heads and anchored up in 40 metres of water hoping to pick up a gummy shark or two with their bottom fishing tackle.

They caught three as it turned out, the biggest around 12 kg, one of which they returned one of about 8 kg. They also caught several squid, but, a kingfish of about 3.5 kg came as a surprise though when it took a squid head fished on the bottom.

On Friday, Kevin McLoughlin and Aiden Jarosinski made an early start offshore from Anglesea in around 30 metres of water where they first berley up some yellowtail scad for bait: A good move as it turned out for they caught two gummy shark, one of 14 kg, the other of 10 kg which they released.

Storm Rosier with the large brown trout he caught on the fly at Lake Toolondo last week (Photo: Victorian Inland Charters).

Storm Rosier with the large brown trout he caught on the fly at Lake Toolondo last week (Photo: Victorian Inland Charters).

Jeremy Gadea with his XOS Toolondo redfin (Photo: Victorian Inland Charters).

Jeremy Gadea with his XOS Toolondo redfin (Photo: Victorian Inland Charters).

Freshwater

Michael Evans of Last Cast Fishing Tours took a run up to Newlyn Reservoir last week, which is just off the Midland Highway between Ballarat and Daylesford, to find the water low and discoloured by the water running off into the reservoir from recent rain.

Never the less it was worth a try, and after an hour and a half of casting a Nories Wasaby metal spoon, he caught a 48 cm, 1.75 kg redfin.

With no fear of the wind and rain early last week, Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters found excellent fishing for a number of clients with large brown trout smelting in the shallows providing fly fishing opportunities for Storm Rossier and Jeremy Gadea.

They were also successful trolling OSP bent minnows which accounted a couple of really large redfin and several addition brown trout. However, as often is the way, when the weather cleared up on Friday and Saturday, the fishing virtually shut down.

Sam Lombardo and Steffen Zortea with their 97 kg tuna from Portland on Saturday morning

Sam Lombardo and Steffen Zortea with their 97 kg tuna from Portland on Saturday morning

Michael Evans with his 1.75 kg redfin from Newlyn Reservoir (Photo: Last Cast Fishing Tours).

Michael Evans with his 1.75 kg redfin from Newlyn Reservoir (Photo: Last Cast Fishing Tours).

Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that some large bluefin tuna have turned up and the magic depth would appear to be 65 metres.

Sam Lombardo and Steffen Zortea picked up nice one of 97 kg on Saturday morning, while others hooked big fish but lost them for one reason or another.

Simon Rinaldi of Red Hot Charters can usually be relied on to bring home the goods, and on Friday, he found a good patch from which one of his clients boated a fish of 141 kg. Also on Friday, Sam Indovino and Margin Bimagic caught a 101.5 kg and Sam Indovino and Margin Bimagic caught another 101.5 kg.

Jamie’s sketch of his mulloway rig using a live mullet.

Jamie’s sketch of his mulloway rig using a live mullet.

Two of Jamie Behrens’ mulloway from the Maroochy River in Queensland last week. He caught those using live mullet for bait (Photo Jamie Behrens).

Two of Jamie Behrens’ mulloway from the Maroochy River in Queensland last week. He caught those using live mullet for bait (Photo Jamie Behrens).

Upstate

Still fishing the Maroochy River in Queensland, Jamie Behrens continues to catch mulloway of all sizes on live mullet he catches in a cast net.

For those who have enquired about the rig Jamie uses he has kindly sent in a sketch which shows a mullet rigged on two 6/0 Gamakatsu hooks; one hook at the head, the other down near the tail on a 27 kg trace. Above that, a water bomb balloon is attached to the line suspending the live bait above the bottom.

Graeme Simester with the 1.75 kilogram bream he caught from the Werribee River during the Keysborough Angling Club’s Sunday competition (Photo: Helen Simester).

Graeme Simester with the 1.75 kilogram bream he caught from the Werribee River during the Keysborough Angling Club’s Sunday competition (Photo: Helen Simester).

Werribee River

Chris Hateley reports that the Keysborough Angling club had a competition at the Werribee River on Sunday morning. Bream were the species caught and the biggest of those was taken by Graeme Simester; a beauty that weighed 1.75 kg.

While that was the biggest fish caught, some hooked larger fish that escaped. Speculation has it that these were not bream but mulloway which are present in the estuary from time to time.

Ali asks:

Geoff, my friends and I been out on the bay at least a dozen times this year looking for these so-called winter snapper: Where are they?

Ali, snapper seem to be scarce this winter so you and your friends are not the only ones to miss out. My advice would be to wait until the water temperature begins to rise, probably in the third week of August, before trying again; you may be more successful then.

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Aaron Habgood with a 20 kg gummy shark from the Symonds Channel (Photo: Aaron Habgood).

Aaron Habgood with a 20 kg gummy shark from the Symonds Channel (Photo: Aaron Habgood).

Bellarine Peninsula

On two occasions last week, Aaron Habgood fished in around 15 metres of water just south of Mud Island in the Symonds Channel hoping to catch a gummy shark or two.

Timing his arrival to catch the beginning of the incoming tide – in the middle of the day on each occasion – was a move that paid off handsomely with a catch of three gummy sharks in total weighing from 18 to 20 kg. These were caught on chunks of silver trevally fished on Gamakatsu octopus circle hooks.

Freshwater

Simon Werner and son Jayden fished the West Barwon Dam on Sunday to find the water level still very low. Never the less, they covered a good deal of ground walking along the bank casting lures, and eventually, at around mid day, Jayden hooked a nice fish on his 7 cm Rapala bibbed minnow which turned out to a rainbow trout of 1.5 kg.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports only having two boats out during the week, and in marginal weather conditions, but with one crew bringing in a reasonable catch of flathead and the other with a several squid; it wasn’t altogether a lost cause.

Owen , Ethan Merritt and Jamie Burt with their 124 kg bluefin tuna from Portland (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Owen , Ethan Merritt and Jamie Burt with their 124 kg bluefin tuna from Portland (Photo: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that despite the rough and windy weather, offshore enthusiast have been catching any amount of tuna to 18 kg or so, but no barrels.

However, on Saturday, New Zealanders Owen Kittox, Ethan Merritt and Jamie Burt hooked a big one in only 35 metres of water off Cape Sir William Grant. Unfortunately, the fish was lost when the hooks pulled after an hour or so, but undeterred, they returned to the same area on Sunday, and this time their luck held.

Initially, all they caught were a couple of small tuna, each around 14 kg, but in 65 metres they hooked another big fish which they eventually brought alongside. It proved quite a handful in the rough conditions, bending their gaff out of shape as they lifted it aboard, but at 124 kg it was a great catch and a true barrel.

Angus asks:

Geoff, I would like to know if there are any good spots for land based squid fishing near where I live at Barwon Heads?

Angus, the rock ledge below the Bluff used to be a good place for squid at low tide, but now it’s a so-called marine sanctuary where you can’t fish.

Squid have been caught from most of the piers around the Bellarine Peninsula, particularly St Leonards Pier where the best chance is at night. A cursory investigation would show the best spots which are indicated by the sepia stains on the pier.

Should you be prepared to fish from the rock ledge known as Bell Reef at Queenscliff – which is just below, and to the north east of the white Queenscliff lighthouse, and marked with a stone pillar and red portside marker – you may be successful there. However, safe access to this platform is only on the lowest of low tides which occur early in the mornings for the rest of this week. The afternoon low tides will probably not fall low enough to provide safe access here.

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mailto:michael-evans@live.com.au

mailto:michael-evans@live.com.au

Michael Evans with the 1.7 kg redfin that he caught from Wurdiboluc Reservoir on Saturday (Photo: Michael Evans).

Michael Evans with the 1.7 kg redfin that he caught from Wurdiboluc Reservoir on Saturday (Photo: Michael Evans).

Freshwater

Hamlyn Banks Primary School teacher, William Urquhart, who runs outdoor education programs for his students, took grades 5 and 6 fishing at the St Augustine’s waterhole in Highton after this water’s recent stocking with rainbow trout.

Fortunately, the fish co-operated and the students bagged 28 fish to 30 cm over two and a half hours with oversight from Fishcare volunteers. Most of the students caught fish, but more importantly, they had a great introduction to the enjoyment of fishing.

As well as at St Augustine’s waterhole, rainbow trout have been stocked in Bannockburn Lagoon which is good news for the school holidays. Unfortunately, the Cowies Creek Lagoon in Seagull Paddock has not been stocked because of water quality issues.

Michael Evans, of Last Cast Fishing Tours, fished Wurdiboluc Reservoir on Saturday afternoon where his prolonged efforts in casting a Nories Metal Wasaby Spoon paid off with a 50 cm redfin that weighed 1.7 kg.

Fortunately, said Michael, the disastrously low water levels of this water are now rising because of recent rains and the diversion of bore water into Wurdiboluc through the inlet.

Brian Nolan with the result of a double hook-up on gummy shark offshore from Torquay (Photo: Kevin McLoughlin).

Brian Nolan with the result of a double hook-up on gummy shark offshore from Torquay (Photo: Kevin McLoughlin).

Offshore

With an improved forecast in the weather for Sunday morning, Kevin McLoughlin and Brian Nolan made an early morning run offshore, and in about 30 metres of water off Torquay, baited up with squid and mackerel.

They didn’t have long to wait before experiencing a double hook-up on gummy shark, each around the 10 kg mark. They caught three altogether, keeping one and releasing the other two.

Simon Werner headed offshore from Barwon Heads on Sunday, hoping to find some action but returned empty handed; his only catch being a good size silver trevally that he caught inside the Barwon estuary before heading back to the boat ramp.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Kirt and Noel Brehan headed down to the Clifton Springs boat ramp on Saturday morning to find they were among the very few to venture out; not surprising with a north westerly blowing at around 15 knots. Anyway, they finished up with 24 good size whiting before calling it quits at around 11.00 o’clock.

Barwon estuary

After going to the trouble of acquiring a good supply of sandworm to augment their bait supply, and despite the bad weather, Keith Berry and Tom Robinson pushed on with a visit to the Sheepwash early last week, hopeful of catching a bream or two.

With the main body of water chopped up because of wind against tide, they headed into one of the tributaries leading off the Barwon toward the Wallington wetlands, which not only provided shelter from rough and windy weather, but less interaction from most of the other species in the estuary.

There wasn’t much doing at first, but as the incoming tide eased off in the late afternoon they caught a couple of decent size bream; one just on 40 cm. However, they persisted, and as the tide began trickling off toward evening, Tom’s rod bent over in a graceful arc, quite unlike the bite of a bream. In fact the fish was a luderick that weighed just over a kilogram and took a sandworm; this was soon matched by another for Keith in almost identical circumstances.

Jamie Behrens with a 17 kg mulloway that he caught from the Maroochy River (Photo Jamie Behrens)..

Jamie Behrens with a 17 kg mulloway that he caught from the Maroochy River (Photo Jamie Behrens)..

One of Jamie Behrens mulloway that weighed 14 kg, and a stargazer, that he caught in the Maroochy River. Both were caught on live mullet that he catches in a cast net (Photo Jamie Behrens).

One of Jamie Behrens mulloway that weighed 14 kg, and a stargazer, that he caught in the Maroochy River. Both were caught on live mullet that he catches in a cast net (Photo Jamie Behrens).

Interstate

Erstwhile Barwon Heads’ gun angler, Jamie Behrens, has lived in Maroochydore Queensland for some time now, and his fishing continues from blue water to estuary, all of which provide abundant returns.

Jamie sent me photos of half a dozen of mulloway that he’d caught from the Maroochy River on different nights last week ranging from 9 to 17 kg. He also sent in a picture of a stargazer that he caught, and which was the subject of our question last week.

On Friday night he took his 9 year old son Mitchell out with him and the lad caught a beauty of 18 kg. On Sunday night he took his 10 year old son Michael out with him and a double strike on the live mullet – that Jamie catches in a cast net – had them both fully occupied.

Michael’s fish weighed 11.5 kg and Jamie’s fish, which was 83 cm in length, had a tag; the details of which revealed that it was tagged in the Brisbane River in May last year at a length of 81 cm.

Just looking at the tourist blurb for Maroochydore, I couldn’t find any reference to fishing: How could they have possibly missed that!

(Lowest to highest), Kayleb Kennedy, Blaire Franklin and Kaitlin Liles, fishing at St Augustine’s water hole in Highton (Photo: William Urquhart).

(Lowest to highest), Kayleb Kennedy, Blaire Franklin and Kaitlin Liles, fishing at St Augustine’s water hole in Highton (Photo: William Urquhart).

Fishcare volunteer John McNeight with Rein Gee and his catch (Photo: William Urquhart).

Fishcare volunteer John McNeight with Rein Gee and his catch (Photo: William Urquhart).

Ali asks:

Geoff, I fished off the Jetty at St Helens recently where people were catching good size salmon, but I couldn’t get a single strike on the soft plastic lure I was using. I read about someone catching them on a 15 gram metal lure in your column a couple of weeks ago: Where can I get those?

Ali; while a good many salmon have been caught on soft plastics from the structures around Corio Bay lately, there is a limit to how far they can be cast. Metal lures – of the appropriate weight for the tackle you are using – may be cast much further, and this provides a distinct advantage when fishing land based.

Should you be using a balanced lure-casting outfit suited for 3 kg line, then a 15 gram metal lure – which you can buy from almost any fishing tackle outlet – is a good choice. Should your tackle be heavier than that, then a heavier lure may be required.

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Danny Skene with his 8.78 kg snapper from Corio Bay.

Danny Skene with his 8.78 kg snapper from Corio Bay.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Early last week, Daniel Skene’s first order of business was to catch some fresh bait in the hope of picking up a snapper or two that night, something he achieved taking respectable catches of both squid and garfish.

However, he did take along some frozen silver whiting, just in case the bait catching exercise failed, and as luck would have it, that was the bait that claimed an 8.78 kg snapper, the only fish he caught that night while fishing off North Shore.

Taking a run out off Clifton Springs early last week, Andrew Johnson and Brodie Bell caught not only 22 good size whiting but eight respectable squid.

They would have undoubtedly taken more except for being sprung bringing in fish by a passing boat, and – before very long – they were surrounded by several indiscreet hopefuls pulling up virtually alongside to the tune of outboard motors and anchor chains rattling over the side, so they called it quits.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire also reports that whiting and squid have been widespread, some being taken as far out as 9 metres of water where Max and Michael Cave, along with Tony Mollenhaur and Trent Riley, were among those to take both species out here.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that the whiting have declined in number since the previous week, but reports that there are still a few good size fish coming from the deeper water along the edge of the Prince George Bank.

Squid have been plentiful though said Rod, with good catches being made by several anglers including Jeff Richards and Ken Shae who picked up bag limit catches off St Leonards.

Fishing the Coles Channel off St Leonards in the rain last week, Aaron Habgood and his companion had no trouble scooping the pool last week with 40 whiting, 20 squid and two gummy shark with the ebb tide proving most productive.

Aaron Habgood with his, and his companions mixed bag of fish from St Leonards (Photo: Aaron Habgood).

Aaron Habgood with his, and his companions mixed bag of fish from St Leonards (Photo: Aaron Habgood).

Aaron Habgood with his, and his companions mixed bag of fish from St Leonards (Photo: Aaron Habgood).

Aaron Habgood with his, and his companions mixed bag of fish from St Leonards (Photo: Aaron Habgood).

Offshore

Local fishing duo Adrian Cole and Jarrod Maloney were greeted with near perfect conditions last week, when they headed offshore from Barwon Heads.

Anchored up in 40 metres of water off the Barwon Heads Bluff, Their first catch was a respectable gummy shark. They soon followed that with three more of the same, two snapper, each measuring 45 cm, and an Australian salmon measuring 65 cm. But as is often the case on our waters, the weather changed for the worse so they came back in.

Alan Grieg with his 2.9 kg brown trout from Lake Toolondo (Photo: Victorian Inland Charters).

Alan Grieg with his 2.9 kg brown trout from Lake Toolondo (Photo: Victorian Inland Charters).

Jarrod Maloney with one of his gummy shark taken offshore (Photo: Adrian Cole).

Jarrod Maloney with one of his gummy shark taken offshore (Photo: Adrian Cole).

Freshwater

Fishing on Lake Toolondo with Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters, Alan Grieg of Melton was hopeful of catching his first trout, a goal he dearly wanted to achieve after suffering some serious health issues.

It wasn’t the most productive day’s fishing, but eventually – after a prolonged session of trolling lures – Alan eventually hooked up to a trophy size, male brown trout of 2.9 kg. It was taken on an OSP bent minnow that he’d cast from the boat, and which he intends to have mounted as a reminder of his trip.

Bream fishing classic

On the weekend of July 2nd and 3rd, the Werribee South Fishing Club is hosting a bream competition on the Werribee River. Entry fee is $10.00, both for seniors and juniors, and must be paid before fishing. There are a good many valuable prizes to be won, including an entry prize of $100.00 For more information, please ring either Phil on 0411 215 146, Judd on 0425 719 512, Kane on 0408 254 405 or email secretary.wsfc@bigpond.com

Sam asks

Fishing for squid off Queenscliff last week, I hooked what I thought may have been a really large squid. To my great surprise, it was a large fish of about 3 kg that had taken my jig. It looked a bit like a flathead but was far too rotund in its body shape. It had small eyes right on top of its head, was brown in colour and had a noticeably up-slung jaw.

What would it be, and would it edible?

Sam, from your description, I can tell you that the fish was a western stargazer, and not the first I know of being caught on a squid jig. An ambush predator, they bury in the sand waiting for its unsuspecting prey to come within striking distance. They are edible, but need to be handled with some care because of the large, almost hidden, spine just above each pectoral fin.

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