Geoff’s Fishing Report

Lorne sharkers: Mick Kollaris and Bill Athanasselis with the bronze whaler shark they caught from the Lorne Pier in the early hours of Friday morning (Picture: Claire, the shark girl).

Lorne sharkers: Mick Kollaris and Bill Athanasselis with the bronze whaler shark they caught from the Lorne Pier in the early hours of Friday morning (Picture: Claire, the shark girl).

On Thursday, Bill Athanasselis and Mick Kollaris made the journey to Lorne, hopeful of catching a shark from the pier, something they’d done in previous years.

It was a long wait however, while sheltering from the intermittent rain as midnight came and went. But in the early hours of Friday morning, a howl from the reel had them at action stations, soon to be rewarded with a bronze whaler of about two metres long.

Michael Evans with a 3.4 kg brown trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters, South West).

Michael Evans with a 3.4 kg brown trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters, South West).


Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that with patchy weather last week, the going was tough for most. However, there were good size pinkie snapper about if you could find them, and among those who did were Noel McMillan and Tom Pool.

For the most part, whiting have been scarce off The Springs said Mike, but true to form on Friday, Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien eventually took their respective bag limit catches; their biggest fish measuring 44 cm.

Also doing well on the whiting early last week was Chris Stamalos who picked up 18 fish to 40 cm off the Swan Bay grass beds in the vicinity of the Coles Beacon at Queenscliff. And, as is usually the case here, they didn’t really come on the bite until around 7.30 pm.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that, while pinkie snapper continue their contribution to angler’s bags, squid have been the main species on offer lately, with the Governor Reefs a good place to begin.

And it was here that Steve and Joey Carr picked up their bag limit catch. However, that was after fruitlessly trying for a gummy shark in the deeper water off the Prince George Bank where they suffered the same fate as others who’ve fished here lately, and that’s being absolutely plagued with banjo sharks,

Michael Evans with two rainbow trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters, South West).

Michael Evans with two rainbow trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters, South West).

John Jovanovic with his chinook salmon (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters, South West).

John Jovanovic with his chinook salmon (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters, South West).

Freshwater

Early last week, Michael Evans of Victorian Inland Charters, and client John Jovanovic, visited Lake Bullen Merri where they had a great session on chinook salmon, both down-rigging with lures, and bait fishing with pilchard fillets suspended just above the bottom.

Not only did John catch his best ever chinook of 2.9 kg, he reset the bar twice more; first with a fish of 3.12 kg, and finally with another of 3.51 kg, that – at this stage anyway – is destined to go on the wall.

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that Lake Purrumbete is also fishing well and that Michael, who also fished here, caught a brown trout of 3.4 kg and two rainbow trout, each close to 2 kg.

Other successful anglers included Maz Stolowski of Werribee who caught a brown trout of 1.6 kg and a 1.4 kg rainbow, but redfin are still the main chance at the Lake, said John, with Joe O’Neil of Keilor Downs taking over 50 redfin to 800 grams on Baltic Bobbers.

Lachie Wombell with a blue grenadier that he caught offshore from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Lachie Wombell with a blue grenadier that he caught offshore from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Jordan Portman with his kingfish from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Jordan Portman with his kingfish from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).


Portland

Being blessed with better than average weather down Portland way last week, Bob McPherson and Lachie Wombell headed out into almost 500 metres of water where they had no trouble catching blue grenadier, pink ling and several other prized bottom fish.

Mind you, they were not the only folk out on the deep with Keryn Millard and her father Dean taking a great catch of pink ling to more than 13 kg while fishing nearby.

Tuna are still an item in the vicinity of the ship anchorage some 24 kilometres east of the Portland Harbour, said Bob, but as it turned out, and among those fishing for them in 20 metres of water, was Jordan Portman.

However, it wasn’t tuna that took Jordon’s lure, but good size kingfish that greeted the scales for a verdict of 14.2 kg after being cleaned.

Steve asks:

Geoff, I’ve noticed an abundance of large, pale-looking jellyfish in Corio bay. Do you know what they are, and if they are detrimental to the bay’s health.

Steve, the jellyfish you refer to are almost certainly those in the photo I sent you, which – in my youth – were referred to by some as German jellyfish because of the faint cross on their mantle: They’ve always been present to some degree, but probably never in numbers that would be detrimental to the bay’s health.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Michael Evans with a male brown trout of 3.8 kg from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters, South West).

Michael Evans with a male brown trout of 3.8 kg from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters, South West).

Michael Evans with a female brown trout of 3.8 kg from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters, South West).

Michael Evans with a female brown trout of 3.8 kg from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters, South West).

Queenscliff

Amy McNally and David Muldoon, both recently from Ireland and who’d not yet fished in Australia, certainly made the right connection in Darcy Scott, who arranged a squid fishing trip off Queenscliff on Thursday evening.

Needless to say, they each took their respective bag limit catches of squid, some of good size, while learning to dodge the spray of ink these tasty cephalopods can deliver.

But Darcy, who does his best work in the dark, was out in time to catch Saturday’s pre-dawn flood tide off Queenscliff’s Swan Island grass beds; a move that paid off with a bag limit catch of whiting, the biggest measuring 47 cm, all being caught on squid.

Tim Beusmans with another brown trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters, South West).

Tim Beusmans with another brown trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters, South West).

Michael Evans with a rainbow trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters, South West).

Michael Evans with a rainbow trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters, South West).

Freshwater

Michael Evans of Victorian Inland Charters (South West), made two trips on Lake Purrumbete last week, one by himself, and the other with Tim Beusmans.

Michael’s two best brown trout, one male, the other female, each weighed 3.8 kg, along with another brown of 3.3 kg, while Tim’s best fish, a female brown, weighed 4.26 kg.

These were all caught on Tassie Devils – along with a good many other smaller fish – either being trolled at the surface, or down-rigged to 12 metres or so.

Others to catch good size brown trout included Kurt Rundle who caught one of 3.5 kg on a mudeye suspended under a float.

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park mentions that redfin are on the bite at Rocklands Reservoir and that he and Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters really cleaned up here earlier in the week. Preferred baits were scrub worms and yabbies, while some took soft plastics.

John also reports that redfin remain the main chance on Lake Purrumbete with Les and Jeff Broughton picking them up to 800 grams or so on scrubworms.

Freshwater lure-fishing enthusiast, Rod Shepherd, also sought redfin on Lake Purrumbete early last week, and – while anchored up in 13 metres of water – first tempted a 41 cm rainbow trout while jigging a 3” Magbite shad.

However, it took a good deal longer to catch the first of what turned out to be a respectable bag of redfin as the shoals came and went.

Tim Beusmans with another brown trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters, South West).

Tim Beusmans with another brown trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters, South West).

Lachie Wombell with a whiting sample from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Lachie Wombell with a whiting sample from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

On Friday afternoon, Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien fished in 5 metres of water off Curlewis, and in less than two hours, took their respective bag limit catches of whiting to 40 cm using squid and pipi for bait.

Hoping for a repeat performance the following day, they arrived somewhat earlier to first, replenish their squid supply. However, after catching eight just out from the Clifton Springs boat ramp; their planned trip to Curlewis was curtailed by a stiffening breeze from the north-west, persuading their retreat.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that several good size flathead were caught by Peter Sierakowski and a companion who came upon a good patch on the drift off Point Richards; their larger fish measuring from 44 to 50 cm.

Mixed bags of fish were the order of the day though, with Andrew Martin and Nebz Ristic from Melton among those to take pinkie snapper, flathead and squid.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that squid have been the main catch, but a number of pinkie snapper from legal size to 36 cm have been caught as well, along with the occasional whiting.

Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters, and John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park, with a good catch of redfin from Rocklands Reservoir (Picture: Victorian Fisheries Authority).

Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters, and John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park, with a good catch of redfin from Rocklands Reservoir (Picture: Victorian Fisheries Authority).

Greg asks:

Geoff, I haven’t heard much about the barramundi fishery in Hazelwood Pondage lately: Did they survive the winter, or did they all die?

Greg, a January 2018 update from the Victorian Fisheries Authority says that “Intensive monitoring of the fishery between April 2017 and January 2018 has found that around 1,500 barra had survived the cold winter, some of which are now approaching the magical-metre-mark”.

In addition to that, the update goes on to say that – due to an agreement between VFA and Gippsland Water – land based anglers now have access to some 500 metres along the pondage channel bank, which is – from all accounts – a productive area to fish. This, along with the new road, car park and fencing with appropriate signage, would seem to be of genuine benefit to recreational anglers keen to rumble with a decent barra.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Joash Belousoff with the bluefin tuna he caught offshore from Barwon Heads.

Joash Belousoff with the bluefin tuna he caught offshore from Barwon Heads.

Alex Thompson with his 10.5 kg kingfish from Port Phillip Heads on Sunday (Picture Ben King).

Alex Thompson with his 10.5 kg kingfish from Port Phillip Heads on Sunday (Picture Ben King).

Offshore

Taking advantage of a recent break in the weather, Joash Belousoff, his father Paul and friend Nathan Bekker, headed out into 25 metres of water off Barwon Heads, trolling their deep-running, gold-coloured Rapala X-raps, and not in vain as it turned out, for a good strike resulted in the capture of an 80 cm kingfish.

They persisted in the same manner until early afternoon when they hooked up once more, this time to an obviously bigger fish. However, as the battle went on, and glimpses of their quarry eventually began to show, they realised that this was no kingfish but a bluefin tuna that once aboard, bottomed out their 30 kg scales.

Port Phillip Heads

Kingfish are still on offer at Port Phillip Heads, particularly for those prepared to catch fresh squid for bait beforehand, as did Ben King and his friend Alex Thompson on Sunday morning. Following a couple of tentative takes on the drift that just damaged their baits, a solid hook-up produced a 110 cm, 10.5 kg kingfish.

Michael Evans of “Victorian Inland Charters (South West)” with a chinook salmon from Lake Bullen Merri.

Michael Evans of “Victorian Inland Charters (South West)” with a chinook salmon from Lake Bullen Merri.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that regular anglers; Peter Clark and Des Mc Kiernan, again did well on the whiting, catching 21 to 40cm within 300 metres of the Dell on the out-going tide. They also fished over the Curlewis Bank where they caught six squid.

Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien also did well on the whiting, bagging out off The Springs on Friday, with most of their fish being taken after the incoming tide kicked in shortly after mid day.

Making an earlier start the following day, they were confronted with a strong easterly that created some doubt as to whether or not they should stay. But, stay they did until the flood tide began at around 1.00 pm, at which time they were also favoured by a change of wind from the south and yet another bag limit catch of whiting.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire reports that rough weather was the stumbling block last week with strong onshore winds and discoloured water. Never the less pinkie snapper from legal size to 40 cm turned up amongst angler’s catches whenever a break in the weather occurred.

Bill Thomas with a chinook salmon that he caught from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters (South West).

Bill Thomas with a chinook salmon that he caught from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters (South West).

Craig Cooper with his 3.6 kg brown trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Courtesy Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Craig Cooper with his 3.6 kg brown trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Courtesy Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Freshwater

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that trophy size brown trout are still on offer, and among those to catch them from Purrumbete last week was Craig Cooper of Colac with a fish of 3.6 kg on a Zman soft plastic.

Others included Tim Beusman of Geelong who caught two of 4.3 kg and 3.4 kg, Michael and Robert Evans of Geelong, who caught two fish of 4.1 and 4.67 kg, while Phillip Pirotta from Warrnambool caught another of 3.8 kg. Most were caught on lures being deep-trolled behind downriggers.

Chinook salmon were still on offer at Lake Bullen Merri over the weekend, and among those to catch them were Michael Evans of Victorian Inland Charters (South West), and client Bill Thomas who picked up four chinook salmon to 1.7 kg: Others to catch chinook salmon from Lake Bullen Merri, included Maz Solowski and Dane Jewell.

Jaimie asks:

The recent capture of a metre-long chinook salmon from Lake Bullen Merri recently would indicate a considerable a size gap between that one fish, and the others being caught. Do you have a view on this?

Jaimie, my understanding is that Snobs Creek Hatchery’s preferred regime is to provide one year old (yearling fish) for release.

Historically speaking though, informed opinion has it that chinook salmon that are released into the wild as fry, and at the beginning of their most critical growth period – rather than within the hatchery where their early growth is restricted under current feeding regimes – allows them to reach sizes comparable to the trophy size fish of the 70s or early 80s, and earlier still when this species was known as quinnat salmon.

Again, it is my understanding that a recent trial – where a selection of hatchlings were virtually force-fed for three months or so prior to their release as fingerlings – by fisheries management, was responsible for the large chinook captured from Lake Purrumbete last year, and the recent capture from Bullen Merri, of which you speak.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Blue on blue: Kevin McLoughlin with the 96 kg mako shark; one of three that he and Brian Nolan caught off Lakes Entrance on Friday night.

Blue on blue: Kevin McLoughlin with the 96 kg mako shark; one of three that he and Brian Nolan caught off Lakes Entrance on Friday night.

Ben Hussey and Shaun Martin with the two gummy shark they caught out near the Prince George Light (Picture: Rod Ludlow).

Ben Hussey and Shaun Martin with the two gummy shark they caught out near the Prince George Light (Picture: Rod Ludlow).

Offshore

With the forecast looking good for Gippsland on Friday, Geelong anglers, Kevin McLoughlin and Brian Nolan made the trip to Lakes Entrance, and – after arriving at about 8.30 in the evening – wasted no time in heading seaward for 85 kilometres or so where they’d previously experienced exciting encounters mako sharks, and on one occasion a broadbill swordfish that weighed 140 kg.

Laying a berley trail in the light of a waxing moon, it wasn’t long before they had their first mako shark alongside and eager to dine, and they obliged it with a slimy mackerel on a wire trace.

It was in fact the first of three makos they caught during their overnight sojourn on Bass Strait, the biggest of which they kept and later weighed at 96 kg.

James Kollaris with an Australian salmon that he caught from the Lorne Pier.

James Kollaris with an Australian salmon that he caught from the Lorne Pier.

Bill Athanasselis with a silver dory from Lorne.

Bill Athanasselis with a silver dory from Lorne.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

On Sunday evening, Chris Stamalos took a run out off the entrance of Swan Bay looking for whiting: A good move as it turned out, for – fishing into the night – he caught 13 beauties, the biggest measuring 45 cm and weighing 700 grams.

However, that was before the southerly breeze freshened from the west, pushing him off his mark: This, in conjunction with the slackening tide, persuaded his return to the ramp.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that a variety of fish were caught recently, particularly off the Curlewis Bank where Dennis O’Brien and Andrew Johnson picked up 30 good size whiting in 6 metres of water: They also caught a couple of nice flathead, the biggest weighing a kilogram.

Fishing in much the same area were Matthew and Kyle Cammaroto who took a mixed bag of fish on lures that included squid, flathead and pinkie snapper to 45 cm.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head, reports that the fishing has been patchy, but some folk have continued to catch large flathead in the shallows, the biggest measuring 52 cm, but squid have been scarce.

However, clients Shaun Martin and Ben Hussey soon caught a squid for bait, and then – fishing out near the Prince George Light – they caught two gummy shark of 5 and 5.5 kg on portions of it.

Todd Broughton of Bannockburn with a 93 cm brown trout from Purrumbete which he released (Picture: Courtesy of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Todd Broughton of Bannockburn with a 93 cm brown trout from Purrumbete which he released (Picture: Courtesy of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Josh White with a rainbow trout just over a kilogram from Purrumbete (Picture: Courtesy of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Josh White with a rainbow trout just over a kilogram from Purrumbete (Picture: Courtesy of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Surf fishing

Surf fishing enthusiast Tony Ingram fished the late afternoon high tide at Jan Juc with cut pilchards on Friday, and although he did better than most with several halfway decent salmon, the fishing was pretty slow.

Come the falling tide on dusk though, when others had given the game away, he caught a couple of good size pinkie snapper, and hooked what seemed like a bigger fish that unfortunately, escaped.

Freshwater

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that trophy size brown trout are still on offer: Todd Broughton of Bannockburn caught one measuring 93 cm that he released, and then another of much the same size that he kept, and later weighed at 4.4 kg.

Some respectable rainbow trout have been taken from Purrumbete as well, as Michael Evans of Victorian Inland Charters and Ken Carmen of Camperdown demonstrated over the weekend. They also caught any number of redfin of varying sizes.

Lachie Wombell with a good sample of whiting off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Lachie Wombell with a good sample of whiting off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Michael Evans of Victorian Inland Charters with a rainbow trout from Lake Purrumbete.

Michael Evans of Victorian Inland Charters with a rainbow trout from Lake Purrumbete.


Portland

“Hooked on Portland,” a fishing competition hosted by Regional Development Victoria, Fisheries Victoria, and the Glenelg Shire over the weekend, was not blessed with the greatest weather, but fish were taken in all eligible categories except for gummy shark.

The most meritorious captures included a yellowtail kingfish of 10.7 kg that was taken by Mark Nolte, and a 25 kg tuna that was taken by Mason Shultze. Junior anglers were also well represented by Jamieson Goldby with a snapper of 1.55 kg, Hamish Storrie with a 645 gram whiting, and Evan Diaz with salmon of 1.66 kg.

Bob McPherson and Lachie Wombell were not involved in the competition but, as has been their approach of late, found a good patch of whiting for the table.


Steve asks:

Geoff, can you tell me if yank flathead are present in Corio Bay, and if so, what are the current regulations on taking them?

Steve, yank – or southern blue-spotted flathead Platycephalus speculator – are indeed present in Corio Bay.

My 2018 Recreational Fishing Guide states that all flathead – except for dusky flathead Platycephalus fuscus, which have a minimum legal size of 30 cm, an upper slot size of 55 cm, and a bag limit of 5 – have a minimum size of 27 cm and a bag limit of 20.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Michael Evans of Victorian Inland Charters shows one of the several chinook salmon that he and his clients caught from Lake Bullen Merri over the weekend.

Michael Evans of Victorian Inland Charters shows one of the several chinook salmon that he and his clients caught from Lake Bullen Merri over the weekend.

Mick Grant with a nice chinook salmon from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture: Michael Evans: Victorian Inland Charters).

Mick Grant with a nice chinook salmon from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture: Michael Evans: Victorian Inland Charters).

Freshwater

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park at Camperdown, reports that Lake Bullen Merri continues to produce chinook salmon.

Among those to catch these include Michael Evans of Victorian Inland Charters (vicinlandcharters@outlook.com) who wired the bite for his clients, Graeme Findlay and Mick Grant, with a good stream of berley, followed by suspending their baits just above the bottom.

The action was not long in coming with several fish to 2.9 kg soon being tempted with pilchard fillets.

Also successful were Tony Farrugia of Oaklands Junction, and his son Charlie, who took chinook to 2.5 kg on Storm Micro Jigs.

Sammy Giles of Bannockburn also caught one of 2.4 kg.

At Lake Purrumbete, George Gillies of Winchelsea caught his share of redfin on minnow and scrubworm, while Leo Fowler and wife Coralee – who were also using worms for bait – topped off their redfin catch with a brown and rainbow trout, each weighing 1.5 kg.

Sammy Giles of Bannockburn with a chinook salmon of 2.4 kg (Picture: Courtesy Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Sammy Giles of Bannockburn with a chinook salmon of 2.4 kg (Picture: Courtesy Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Both squid and whiting played the game for Darcy Scott at Queenscliff on Wednesday evening with a bag limit catch of the former that included a couple around the 2 kg mark.

That was on the ebb tide, which continued until after dark, by which time – while anchored up over the Swan Island grass beds – he’d caught a dozen whiting, and what beauties they were; the biggest stretching the tape out to 49 cm.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that squid are also present in good numbers off The Springs, with respectable catches coming in from Curlewis to The Dell – but again – whiting have been the Joker in the pack

On Saturday, Andrew Johnson, along with Tony and Adam Mollenhauer, picked up twenty-odd good size fish at the eastern end of the mussel farm, while son Daniel – who was fishing with Kieran Anderson and Darcy Burke – caught yet another 35 off the Dell.

Others to do well on the whiting last week included Peter Clark and Des McKiernan who picked up 27 off Curlewis.

But flathead remain the main chance off The Springs, said Mike, with the aforementioned Peter and Des picking up some really good ones in the shallows, while Mario Muscat caught them to 42 cm out toward the shipping channel.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head, suggests there are plenty of whiting and squid about, but changeable weather has kept clients close to shore; a blessing for some who caught flathead to 54 cm; fish of this size being regularly found in the shallows.

Michael Evans with yet another chinook as the sun goes down on Lake Bullen Merri (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Michael Evans with yet another chinook as the sun goes down on Lake Bullen Merri (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Graeme Findlay with one of his chinook salmon from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Graeme Findlay with one of his chinook salmon from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that yellowtail kingfish are about but few have been caught; most of the offshore brigade being focussed on tuna, which are currently present around the ship anchorage down toward Lady Julia Percy Island.

It wasn’t so many years ago that those seeking kingfish would be out before dawn catching live fish or squid, for bait, and be anchored up anywhere along Portland’s north shore, shortly after daybreak, but that no longer seems to be the case, said Bob.

Fishing Comp

The Leopold Angling and Aquatic Club, at 711 to 729 Portarlington Road Leopold, is hosting a fishing competition on Corio Bay next weekend with fishing permitted from 6.00 am on Friday 26/01/18.

The event will run until 12.30 pm on Sunday, after which time no fish may be weighed or measured. Entry is free to club members, but non members must pay $20.00. Camping sites and the use of club facilities will be available at no charge.

Prizes in this event will be substantially determined by the allotment of raffle tickets for each, and every legal size fish presented. In addition to that, Bunnings vouchers to the value of $100.00 are to be presented for, what will be considered as first, second and third prizes. For more information please Email leopoldanglingandaquaticclub@gmail.com

Sharks are still about

On January 9, I answered a question as to why I had fewer reports of sharks being taken offshore lately than in years gone by, to which I replied they were probably still out there but receiving less attention from anglers than before.

Turns out I just received a video taken by reader Steve, showing four blue sharks that he tempted to the boat in 50 metres of water offshore from Torquay on Sunday after finding the bottom fishing slow.


Rod asks:

Geoff, I used to buy your rigs from Kmart but can’t seem to find them now. Are they still available?

Yes Rod; Kmart still sell a selection of my rigs under the supplier’s name “Jarvis Walker”. Some fishing tackle stores carry them as well. However, by Googling “Dinga” (https://www.dinga.com.au/), and entering “Geoff Wilson Rigs” you’ll see the whole range on offer.

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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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