Geoff’s Fishing Report

Justin Burns with his 95 cm Murray cod from the Murray River near Echuca. (Picture: Simon Williams).

Justin Burns with his 95 cm Murray cod from the Murray River near Echuca. (Picture: Simon Williams).

Freshwater

Justin Burns and Simon Williams, fished the Murray River near Echuca over the weekend, patiently casting lures into likely looking areas as they drifted downstream, a productive exercise as it turned out, for their catch included a 95 cm Murray cod that took Justin’s Custom Crafted lure, that was photographed and then released.

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park, reports that Chris Farrugia’s weekend catch included a 1.8 kg brown trout and a number of smaller rainbows, all being caught on a Tassie Devil down-rigged to 12 metres. Also successful was James Clark of Benalla with brown trout to 2 kg, also on Tassie Devils.

On Lake Bullen Merri, Purrumbete Angling Club was successful in competition with their Bullen Merri counterparts, the Broughton brigade; Les, Jeff and Kane, leading the Purrumbete club’s charge with their catch of chinook salmon to 1.7 kg, along with John Clements’ bag of rainbow trout that were taken both on lures and various baits.

Jeremy McLoughlin with a gummy shark of about 19 kg that he caught offshore from Torquay over the weekend (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Jeremy McLoughlin with a gummy shark of about 19 kg that he caught offshore from Torquay over the weekend (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Offshore

With good weather on Saturday, Andrew Phillips, Keith Fry and Ken Spokes made an early start of Barwon Heads, and were anchored up in 33 metres of water by 7.30 am.

Initially they caught a number of pinkie snapper better than 30 cm, but that bite slowed and was followed by a variety of unwanted species. Never the less, they continued berleying in the hope of attracting something more desirable, but that didn’t occur until 3.00 in the afternoon.

Unsure of what they’d hooked, they retrieved all of their other lines to avoid tangling with the hooked fish, which eventually turned out to be a seven-gilled shark of 60 kg that should keep the trio in fresh flake for some time.

Kevin McLoughlin and his brother Jeremy fished off Torquay on Saturday where they too had a good day, catching three gummy sharks, of which they kept one of about 10 kg. Of the other two, one was about half that size, but the other was a real beauty that would have been 18 or 19 kg.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that Australian salmon are still about in good numbers, and – with the calm weather we’ve experienced lately – they’ve been relatively easy to find. While they vary in size from shoal to shoal, some fish have been better than a kilogram and eager to take a variety of lures.

Flathead too, have been plentiful said Mike, and there’ve been some good ones among them with Alan Wilson, Fred Jones and Jeff Hardy taking fish to 44 cm out toward the No 2 Wilson Spit channel marker.

Fishing off Hermsley Road Curlewis, Mick and Mip Pugh took a mixed bag of fish that included 20 flathead, two elephant fish and the occasional banjo shark, all on bluebait.

Whiting remain scarce, sometimes requiring many moves to find a patch of good fish as Andrew Johnson readily admitted after fishing with Dennis O’Brien on Friday. However, they eventually found a good patch fish off The Springs at around 3.00 pm that yielded six fish to 42 cm before it shut down.

Fishing for squid on Sunday, this time with Kirt Brehan, was more successful with a catch of twelve really good size specimens, but again, only after making a good many moves to find them.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that flathead and squid have been the main catch, with some really big ones among the latter.

Among those to catch them in around 5 metres of water off Indented Head on Thursday were Jeff Richards and Ken Shae whose respective bag limit catches included five or six that would have weighed better than a kilogram. Their biggest squid weighed just over 2.5 kg.

Portland

Bob McPherson reports that tuna remain the focus for most offshore anglers, but among those to do well fishing the bottom include Jack Oliver whose mixed bag of fish included a 20 kg Samson fish, which came from 120 metres of water off Cape Nelson.

Ali asks:

Geoff I heard that bream are being caught at Laker’s Cutting, can you please tell me where it is?

Ali, Lakers cutting may be reached by taking the Bellarine Hwy as far as Fellows Road, which is just after the Queenscliff-Portarlington Road turn-off. Turning left here you will take you to the head of Laker’s shellgrit cutting just past the railway line. You can fish either side of the big drain, which runs under Fellows Road, or you can walk further down the beach toward Swan Bay to fish. However, I suggest you keep seaward of the fence line to avoid encroaching on private property, particularly since some of the holders of which have been confrontational with anglers in the past.

To access the lower half of Laker’s Cutting, you will have to continue down Fellows Road around to the right where it becomes McDonald Road. Parking your car at the end, you can walk down through the swamp to the water’s edge, but be aware that the north east side promontory adjoins a marine park, in which you are not permitted to fish.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Steve Evans and Jason Powell of "Bag out Charters" with the 108 kg tuna (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Steve Evans and Jason Powell of “Bag out Charters” with the 108 kg tuna (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Australian salmon are probably the easiest catch from Corio Bay at present with shoals of fish to a kilogram or so in both the inner and outer harbours, their presence being betrayed by birds working overhead.

Land based anglers have also caught them from the wall adjacent Cunningham Pier; a good spot to cast a lure.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that squid are still about in good numbers, but whiting are scarce with only a handful of anglers picking them up.

Those to do so include Dennis O’Brien, who took a bag limit catch early last week, and Andrew Johnson and Tony Mollenhauer, who on Saturday evening, took a catch that included half a dozen from 40 to 42 cm.

Those fishing for whiting between St Leonards and Queenscliff have had to contend with increased numbers of leatherjackets lately, but they are good to eat, as Martin Neilson and William Spitiri could attest after catching 40 of them off Swan Bay on Saturday.

Whiting have been scarce off Indented Head as well as Jeff Richards and Chris Hateley can relate after putting in a fruitless late afternoon session, but – as they’d already caught their respective bag limits of squid – they didn’t return empty handed.

Michael Goldby with one of the pink ling that he and Bob McPherson caught off Portland over the weekend (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Michael Goldby with one of the pink ling that he and Bob McPherson caught off Portland over the weekend (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Offshore

Early on Sunday morning, Murray Scott, his son Darcy, and Scott Teesdale took a run out from Barwon Heads, along with a good many others, but – as we discussed on May 30, with tides falling much lower than predicted – some of the larger game fishing rigs had obvious difficulty. Because of this, there is an urgent need for another boat ramp to be built where the old slipway used to be, just downstream from the bridge.

Returning to Ocean Grove boat ramp on Sunday afternoon, the heads and frames of four large tuna, that weren’t there in the morning, were hard to miss; so at least some were able to benefit from our growing offshore tuna fishery.

As for Murray and his crew, they caught a dozen or so snook in the vicinity of Claremont Reef before being rewarded with two gummy shark to 7 kg in a bottom bouncing session off Torquay.

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park, reports that large brown trout, including one of 5.2 kg taken by Darren Busfield of Colac, came from the lake last week. Another of 4.5 kg was weighed in by a fly fisherman from Ballarat who prefers to remain anonymous.

Redfin still remain the main catch at Purrumbete said John, and over the weekend, Tom Stanford of Bannockburn took his 7 year old son Harry out on the lake, along with eleven year olds Lachie Groves, Sammy Giles and Ryan Perkins, all of whom caught respectable catches of redfin using live minnow for bait.


Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that small tuna are still the main focus for offshore anglers, but not all of them are small. Steve Evans and Jason Powell on “Bag out Charters”, soon realized a client had hooked something out of the ordinary, which after a lengthy battle, turned out to be a 108 kg tuna.

Bob, along with George Gereige and Michael Goldby, took advantage of good weather at the weekend to go bottom bouncing in 500 metres of water where they caught a variety of fish including several large pink ling.

Ollie asks:

Geoff, I see land based snapper from Corio Bay being posted on facebook but no location given in relation to their capture. Can you give me any insight as to where I might try?

Ollie, at this time of year there are several possibilities. However, snapper have been caught along the Geelong Waterfront from Cunningham Pier to the Yarra Street helipad, and also from the jetty adjacent to the Geelong Yacht Club.

During the years when I was more predisposed to fishing land based, I caught quite a few from the small jetty, and beach, in front of the Geelong Grammar School during the winter, including one of 7.5 kg last August. The first half of the incoming tide is a good time to fish here, the change being an hour or so later than at Geelong wharves.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Team effort: Chris Farrugia, with his sons Charlie and Cooper and the 4.6 kg brown trout he caught from Lake Purrumbete on Friday morning (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Team effort: Chris Farrugia, with his sons Charlie and Cooper and the 4.6 kg brown trout he caught from Lake Purrumbete on Friday morning (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Freshwater

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that on Friday morning, Chris Farrugia, along with his sons Charlie and Cooper, fished Lake Purrumbete where – down-rigging at 12 metres with a Reidy’s bibbed minnow– Chris caught a 4.6 kg brown trout using 2 kg tackle; a possible ANSA line class record.

John fished nearby Lake Bullen Merri with his brother Robert last week, down-rigging with Nories Laydown minnows and Tassie Devils, for a mixed catch of chinook salmon and rainbow trout to 1.5 kg. They also fished with glassies and pilchards for bait, suspending them just above the bottom for much the same result, while anglers fishing from the bank nearby, were catching them as well.

Ballarat and Geelong Angling Clubs fished on Lake Purrumbete at the weekend for redfin. Geelong proved victorious with 44 kg of fish with Norm Armstrong of Geelong catching the largest redfin of 884 grams.

Ashley Caldwell from Geelong actually caught the biggest redfin at 1.3 kg, but he wasn’t in the competition.

While Wurdiboluc Reservoir is well known for the magnificent fish it produces, it poses difficulties for most, especially when water levels are low. However, Michael Evans regularly catches big fish from here, the latest being a 62 cm brown trout that he tempted with a bibbed minnow, and of which he sent in a photo.

Clint Hotchin with a brown trout he caught from Lake Toolondo recently (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Clint Hotchin with a brown trout he caught from Lake Toolondo recently (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Michael Evans with his 62 cm brown trout from Wurdiboluc Reservoir (Picture Michael Evans).

Michael Evans with his 62 cm brown trout from Wurdiboluc Reservoir (Picture Michael Evans).


Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that the Indented Head Boat Ramp is now open for business with flathead and squid and the main species being caught.

Among the successful anglers was Jeff Richards, who on one occasion, fished with Ken Shae for a bag limit catch of squid, and on another, with Chris Hateley for the same.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that flathead remain the main catch from the outer harbour with Graeme Gittens among those to catch them, picking up sixteen respectable fish toward Point Wilson using pilchards and whitebait.

However, although whiting have been scarce for most anglers, said Mike, Andrew Johnson and Brodie Bell managed bag limit catches off Curlewis late on Saturday afternoon, with their biggest fish measuring 43 cm.


Offshore

With the arrival of large tuna offshore from Port Phillip Heads no secret, anglers Brodie Bell and Kirt Brehan of Clifton Springs, launched from Barwon Heads on Sunday morning to find a school of really good size tuna leaping from the surface in around 40 metres of water offshore from The Bluff.

After repeatedly trying to get a strike there, it appeared that the tuna were heading west, and that is the direction they took to be rewarded with a massive surface strike, which saw the fish partially clear the water as it took the lure. Unfortunately though, as is sometimes the case, the hook pulled free after a few minutes and the big fish escaped.

The mako shark that Tony Jones’ caught off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

The mako shark that Tony Jones’ caught off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Southern Right Whale photographed from the Rocks in front of Pivot at Portland by Bob McPherson.

Southern Right Whale photographed from the Rocks in front of Pivot at Portland by Bob McPherson.


Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that tuna from 8 to 12 kg are plentiful offshore, but Tony Jones of Hamilton was looking for more variety, and – after catching two tuna – he fished on the drift, catching a variety of fish from flathead to knifejaw in 70 to 100 metres of water. Tony also had a game fishing outfit at the ready, with which he caught a mako shark of about 55 kg, releasing another.

Kevin asks:

Geoff, I’ve read that you can catch more fish by putting aniseed oil on your bait. Is this true, and where would I get it?

Kevin, there is nothing to prevent you from using food flavourings on your bait, including aniseed oil. In fact you can buy it from some tackle stores and certainly on the internet.

I confess that having tried aniseed on two occasions when fishing, once was as a youngster on Wood’s Jetty, which used to be below Glenleith Avenue, Drumcondra, but has long since been demolished, and the second time was at Wonboyn Lake in southern NSW.

On the first occasion, after smothering my bait with aniseed oil, I was probably the only one on the jetty that didn’t get a bite. While on the second occasion, I used aniseed flavoured berley which attracted so many mullet you could barely see the bottom. However, despite their abundance, they proved hard to catch.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Learning the trade: Michael Redpath with his 18 month old grandson Jaxon, fishing for carp in Seagull Paddock, North Geelong (Picture: Liffy Jennings).

Learning the trade: Michael Redpath with his 18 month old grandson Jaxon, fishing for carp in Seagull Paddock, North Geelong (Picture: Liffy Jennings).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Jeff Richards, whose usual fishing partners have been indisposed of late, has taken to early morning walks out onto the new Portarlington breakwater where a variety of fish have been caught including snapper, whiting and silver trevally. Some the snapper, mostly those around the 2.5 kg mark, have been taken on the inside of the breakwater in the vicinity of the green starboard piles at the harbour entrance.

Rod Ludlow of the Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Heads also recommends Portarlington pier as a great place to fish, adding several mores species, including barracouta to the list of fish being caught here, but – as is often the case – it is the early birds who are getting the metaphorical worm.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that while squid and flathead have been the main catch, whiting have been hard to find for the average angler. However, those dedicated to putting in the time and effort have been catching them.

On Friday, Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien made another early start off Clifton Springs, covering a lot of ground between The Springs and Curlewis to find only small fish on offer.

However, their luck changed around 4.00 pm when fellow anglers, Brodie Bell and Damien Aquilina, called them over to a really good bite off The Springs: Their biggest fish measured 45 cm and they were only too happy to share their good fortune. Also, fishing in much the same area was Stuart O’Brien whose biggest fish also measured 45 cm.

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that the Lake continues to produce some great fish for those prepared to put in the time and effort. Among them was Dan Mackerel of Colac who caught a 4.1 kg brown trout on Wednesday evening casting a Daiwa Double Clutch into a likely area, and – on Friday evening – Lee Ryan caught another brown of 3.8 kg trolling a Tassie Devil.

Anthony Webb with the chinook salmon he caught from Lake Purrumbete

Anthony Webb with the chinook salmon he caught from Lake Purrumbete

Chinook are still to be caught from the lake as demonstrated by Anthony Webb’s who caught a 3.7 kg specimen on a pink Tassie Devil.

Small to medium size rainbow trout, along with redfin, are still the main catch said John, as he and eleven year old Josh Fraser from Norlane demonstrated. They caught several rainbows from 1.2 to 1.7 kg downrigging at nine metres with a Tillen King Cobra, as did Mick Giles of Bannockburn using the same approach with a 450 pattern Tassie Devil.

Catches in Lake Bullen Merri have dropped off though, with many of the chinook salmon now in their darker spawning colours as witnessed by Simon Werner, who – along with his son Jayden, and his friend Jemma Thorpe – spied quite a few of them from the South Beach jetty. They tried various methods to tempt them, but as is usually the case when they’re in this condition, showed no interest. However, their luck changed after taking a run out onto the lake with the capture of two rainbow trout and three chinook salmon using both bait and lures.

Justin Burns with a 76 cm Murray Cod from Lake Mulwala (Picture: Katryna Burns)

Justin Burns with a 76 cm Murray Cod from Lake Mulwala (Picture: Katryna Burns)

Justin Burns with one of his golden perch from Lake Mulwala (Picture: Katryna Burns).

Justin Burns with one of his golden perch from Lake Mulwala (Picture: Katryna Burns).

Justin Burns, along with wife Katryna, daughter Aisha 13 and son Jai 10, took a run up to Lake Mulwala near Yarrawonga over the weekend, catching, and then releasing, several Murray Cod to 76 cm and seven golden perch to 2 kg or so trolling Jackall lures.

There are still plenty of school tuna to 12 kg or so to be caught off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

There are still plenty of school tuna to 12 kg or so to be caught off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Kelvin asks:

Geoff, I’ve noticed that the autumn tides fell much lower than normal this year; can you provide any explanation?

Kelvin, they have been lower than usual and you are not the only one to notice that. The low tide on April 6 was the lowest I’d ever seen in Corio Bay, well below the predicted level of 0.3 metres at Port Phillip Heads would suggest.

My enquiry to the Tide Centre in South Australia was answered by assistant manager, James Chittleborough, who said that while he had no definitive explanation, he did look into this issue and discussed it with a colleague who, in turn, alluded to a similar enquiry from Stony Port on Western Port. It was further suggested that the negative residuals for both April 6 and May 11 this year were probably due to increased barometric pressure.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

On Saturday morning, Andrew Johnson, along with Dennis and Brodie Bell, headed out off Clifton Springs, hopeful of catching whiting, but after making several moves, those they caught were very small, ranging from undersize to not worth keeping.

Never the less they persisted, but with much the same result. However, approaching day’s end, they tried one last time off The Dell at Clifton Springs where they hit pay dirt, and – with night closing in – caught 43 whiting that ranged in size from 38 to 43 cm.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that whiting have been a bit scarce but David Hoey found a good patch off The Dell where he picked up fish to 38 cm, along with six good size squid.

Flathead have also been about in good numbers and among those to catch them was Alf Cardelli who also caught a 75 cm elephant fish out toward the No 5 Wilson Spit Channel marker using salted pilchards for bait.

Offshore

Taking advantage of calm weather on Sunday morning, Andrew Phillips, Keith Fry and Colin Starick headed out off Barwon Heads, and commenced a drift in 32 metres of water.

They were hoping to catch a good size gummy or school shark, but getting past the pinkie snapper and barracouta was a challenge. Never the less, they did catch two snapper, each weighing 3.7 kg, along with their respective bags of pinkies to 38 cm and a 5.5 kg cuttlefish.

Freshwater

On Friday, Daniel Johnson put in a productive session at Wurdiboluc Reservoir, fishing along the rock wall between the viewing platform and the pumping station. He caught three rainbow trout from 45 to 50 cm on a 3” Berkley soft plastic, and lost one that was noticeably larger.

Daniel mentioned that casting range was an issue, with all of his strikes happening during the first metre or two of his retrieve.

John Clements reports that Lake Bullen Merri is still producing chinook salmon, both on bait fished just above the bottom, and on lures with Chris Farrugia among those who caught a number of rainbow trout and chinook salmon in a catch and release exercise.

At Lake Purrumbete, John reports that large brown trout are still on offer for those with the skills to catch them; among them was Geelong angler Chris Bates who caught one of 3.92 kg casting a Daiwa Double Clutch minnow, and Maki Sarik from Melbourne who caught another of 4.1 kg trolling a Nories laydown minnow.

Redfin are still on the go at Lake Purrumbete said John, and among those to catch them was Justin Adair of Bacchus Marsh who caught a number of fish to 1.2 kg on soft plastics.

Trevor Holmes with one of the very large redfin he caught from Lake Toolondo recently (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Trevor Holmes with one of the very large redfin he caught from Lake Toolondo recently (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters reports that large redfin, some better than 2 kg, have been caught at Lake Toolondo, a situation which has attracted boat traffic from far and wide: This hasn’t threatened the fish, said Trevor, but they have been laying low.

Never the less, a trip on the lake with Clint Hotchin and his son Cooper last week produced a couple of respectable brown trout.

Paul asks:

Geoff, I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind, my first is: Do you think that rigging a running sinker on gelspun braid would cause excessive wear?

Paul, it is possible – theoretically at least – that could be a problem. With the same concerns, I have used Sled sinkers for this purpose with gelspun lines. Sleds are available from WAM in New Zealand who may contacted by email on sleds@bigfoot.com

Geoff, my second question is in regard to using a fluorocarbon shock leaders for casting with gelspun line: I find the knot just snaps as it goes through the guides. Can you recommend a solution?

First Paul, your shock leader may be too short to allow your rod to straighten sufficiently before your join goes through the guides. The standard length of commercially available shock leaders is 13 metres, but one measuring three rod lengths should be sufficient.

Shock leader connections are best made with the Plaited Splice, of which an animated version is displayed on YouTube, along with its incorrect description as a knot.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Freshwater

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports fishing Lake Bullen Merri with Bill Classon for a respectable catch of rainbow trout to 1.5 kg and chinook salmon to 2 kg, while anglers fishing from the bank were also successful.

Young blood: Three year old Billy Andrews with a 1.4 kg rainbow trout that he caught from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture: Brad Andrews).

Young blood: Three year old Billy Andrews with a 1.4 kg rainbow trout that he caught from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture: Brad Andrews).

Among them were Brad Andrews and his three year old son Billy who fished here on Friday and Saturday mornings, where – with a bit of coaching – Billy caught both chinook salmon and rainbow trout, the biggest weighing 1.4 kg, using glassies for bait.

While Lake Purrumbete is still producing the occasional large brown trout, said John, rainbow trout to 1.5 kg or so have more common. However, redfin are still the main catch with scrubworms and minnow the best baits.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

On Saturday, Justin Burns and wife Katryna went lure fishing on Corio Bay; initially an exercise that didn’t seem promising.

But they persisted, and eventually – between the old Alcoa Pier and Leopold – they caught a variety of fish including several really good size whiting to 40 cm or so and rock flathead, using 2” Berkley Crabbys to bring home the goods.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that last week’s good weather attracted anglers from far and wide including New Zealander Kenny Carson who fished with Les Gillespie. Between them, they caught ten squid and ten flathead out near the mussel farm.

Also fishing out here were Simon Werner and Jake Callahan who struggled to find the squid at first, but eventually located a good patch around midday from which they caught some absolute purlers from one to 2 kg.

David Batty and Peter Walker took bag limit catches of whiting off The Springs; good ones too, with the biggest measuring 41 cm. Then, fishing out deeper and using pilchards for bait, they caught several flathead to 40 cm and a gummy shark.

On Wednesday, Andrew Phillips and George Uranus fished offshore from Point Richards from late afternoon until evening where they too hit a good patch of whiting, taking their respective bag limits of fish from 28 to 41 cm using pipi and squid for bait.

Also seeking the whiting were Andrew Johnson and Brodie Bell who were out off The Springs by 8.30 am on Friday, but – try as they might – they didn’t get a sniff of a whiting until around mid day. However, with the tide coming in during the early afternoon, their fortunes changed for the better with a catch of 30 fish from 35 to 40 cm.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that squid have rarely been better around the Peninsula than they are at the moment, with both quantity and quality at a premium.

Among those to do well on these tasty cephalopods on Friday were Jeff Richards and Ken Shae who each took their respective bag limit catches of squid that averaged over a kilogram apiece; the biggest weighing 2 kg.

Jamie Peel, Jayden Peel, Chris Zammit and Darren Zammit with their 100 kg tuna from Portland on Saturday (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Jamie Peel, Jayden Peel, Chris Zammit and Darren Zammit with their 100 kg tuna from Portland on Saturday (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that several barrel size bluefin tuna were caught last week, the biggest weighed 120 kg and was caught by Emro Abazovic and his crew off Cape Bridgewater.

Emro Abazovic with the 120 kg tuna he and his crew caught close in off Cape Bridgewater (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Emro Abazovic with the 120 kg tuna he and his crew caught close in off Cape Bridgewater (Picture: Bob McPherson).

David asks:

Geoff, can you tell me if sardines, like those we buy in tins, are the same as the pilchards we use for bait?

David; Wikipedia describes the terms pilchard and sardine as imprecise because they are used to describe various fish in different localities

On one of my trips to South Australia, I noticed that a packet of pilchards I brought also bore the Latin name for the species; Sardinops neopilchardus; a categorization by Viennese ichthyologist, Dr Franz Steindachner in 1879, as I was to discover.

Following your question, I Googled Australian sardine, which revealed that title for a NSW, DPI article classifying the Australian sardine as Sardinops sagax, but it also mentioned its former classification was Sardinops neopilchardus. Interestingly, the article was accompanied by an excellent illustration of a pilchard by Bernard Yau.

Further reading on this subject may be found by Googling “When is a pilchard not a pilchard? When it’s a sardine!” It reveals an excellent article on this very subject by Jamie Merrill in the UK Independent, November 2, 2014.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Danny Skene with a sample from last week’s snapper catch off Point Richards.

Danny Skene with a sample from last week’s snapper catch off Point Richards.

First order of business for Danny Skene last week was to catch some squid, which he did in spades off Clifton Springs with some big ones among them. Then, with the weather holding toward evening, he headed out toward the channel off Point Richards where he took a bag limit catch of three good size snapper in short order.

On Thursday morning, Andrew Phillips and George Uranus also fished off Point Richards from around 9.00 am for whiting, but getting past the small ones was a challenge. They made a couple moves in the hope of finding some bigger fish, a strategy that paid off with 25 keepers; mostly between 28 and 33 cm, but they also caught several larger fish to 42 cm.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that squid are about and among those to catch them last week were Adam Niko and Alex Surdich who caught 15 using red and white jigs just out from the boat harbour. Simon Werner and Jake Callahan did likewise here on Thursday with their biggest specimen weighing just over 2 kg.

Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien were out off Curlewis by 8.30 am on Thursday, but – despite their best efforts – neither squid nor whiting came to the party, not initially anyway. Eventually though, they made contact with some large squid and concentrated their efforts on those.

But then, a call from Andrew’s friend Peter Dawson, who’d found a good patch of whiting off The Springs, had them change tactics once more, resulting in their respective bag limit catches of whiting to 38 cm during the early afternoon ebb tide.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that whiting have become scarce, but squid remain plentiful, along with flathead which are the main catch.

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that fishing has slowed up at both crater lakes, Bullen Merri in particular, where very few fish have been taken. John blames the weather, but also suggests it might have something to do with some 20,000 juvenile chinook salmon being released into these waters last week.

Doug Lucas of Colac took the only recent large fish; a 5.2 kg brown trout that took a Lofty’s No 60 on Lake Purrumbete at around 4.00 pm on Thursday. However, while rainbow and brown trout to a kilogram or so have also been taken on bait and lures, redfin still remain the main catch from this water.

Chris Rigg with a 2 kg redfin from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Chris Rigg with a 2 kg redfin from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters reports that last Wednesday, Tim Chamberlain, Wayne Rigg, and Wayne’s dad Chris, had a great day out on Lake Toolondo catching 24 good size redfin, the biggest of which measured 46.5cm and weighed a touch over 2 kg. They also caught several brown and rainbow trout to 1.3 kg.

11 year old Dana Worthy with her first brown trout (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

11 year old Dana Worthy with her first brown trout (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Among Trevor’s Sunday clients was 11 year old Dana Worthy who hooked and landed her first brown trout at Toolondo on Sunday while casting and retrieving a Pegron tiger minnow.

Portland

Steve Garner, John Grey and Matt Garner of Keppel Prince Engineering at Portland, along with Bob McPherson and some of the firm’s clients who were visiting from Western Australia, boarded Red Hot Charters.

Matt Garner hooked up to a “barrel” in 70 metres of water off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Matt Garner hooked up to a “barrel” in 70 metres of water off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

While trolling lures in 70 metres of water, their first five tuna were soon brought alongside. However, number six didn’t come in quite so easily; in fact it took two and a half hours before Matt Garner managed to bring a real “barrel” alongside, but – with the double on the reel – the hook on the lure pulled free.

Rowan asks:

Geoff, if you remember we recently discussed Stony Creek Reservoir, No 1 being opened to fishing by Barwon Water. Well, during a web search I found the following: “Management arrangements in relation to this water have changed. Now managed by Parks Victoria and the future of recreational fishing activity is under review.”

Rowan; my reading that awkwardly worded document suggests that Stony Creek Reservoirs 2 and 3 – which are on the opposite side of the road to Reservoir 1 – are also being considered as recreational fishing venues: Fairly logical, I would have thought, considering the State government’s $46 million commitment to have one million anglers fishing in Victoria by 2020.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Copy Copy: Kallie Engels, and sister Sjoukje 17, in action on the whiting off Clifton Springs at the weekend (Pictures: Tib and Rita Polgar).

Copy Copy: Kallie Engels, and sister Sjoukje 17, in action on the whiting off Clifton Springs at the weekend (Pictures: Tib and Rita Polgar).

Bob McPherson took this photo of a killer whale that was stealing fish from their lines in 500 metres of water off Portland.

Bob McPherson took this photo of a killer whale that was stealing fish from their lines in 500 metres of water off Portland.

Corio Bay Bellarine Peninsula

On Friday afternoon, Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien were out in seas that were rough enough to deter all but the very keen. But whiting were about, and in 4.5 metres off Clifton Springs; they caught 22 good ones before cleaning up the boat; a process interupted by Dennis’ rod buckling over with the catch of the day; a whiting that measured 45 cm.

While cleaning their fish, Andrew’s friend Peter Dawson happened by, and was booked in for the next day’s whiting foray, which from the outset was none too productive. Never the less, they persisted, and just prior to the evening tide change, they came on the bite, and – with a tally of 30 – they called it quits.

Australian salmon have been about, and on Sunday, Justin Burns and Simon Williams had no trouble catching fish to a kilogram on a cast and retrieve mission with lures, just offshore from the Limeburners Point boat ramp. Eventually, they broke off the engagement to catch some flathead for the table on the drift.

Early last week Andrew Phillips and George Uranus returned with bag limit catches of squid from Point Richards, making it back to the ramp just before the rain poured down.

Inspired by that success, Andrew returned on Sunday, this time with James Robinson: Again, they took bag limit catches of squid; mixed bags this time as it turned out with quite few aero or flying squid, which seemed to be out in the deeper water.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that on Sunday, whiting aficionados Tib and Rita Polgar, took Kallie Engels, along with sister Sjoukje 17, out off Clifton Springs as an eighteenth birthday celebration for Kallie, and although it was their first boat trip – and in a choppy sea – they caught several whiting and can’t wait to do it again.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that while squid have been the main catch, a variety of fish have been taken, including slimy mackerel and barracouta.

Also of interest said Rod, are the numbers of snapper to 2.5 kg or so being taken from the breakwater extension to the Portarlington pier, probably because of the discoloured water.

Natalie Holmes with the 2.58 kg redfin she caught from ... Well husband Trevor won’t let her say, so your guess is as good as mine (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Natalie Holmes with the 2.58 kg redfin she caught from … Well husband Trevor won’t let her say, so your guess is as good as mine (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Cole Sheppard with a 15 kg albacore he caught offshore from Lakes Entrance (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Cole Sheppard with a 15 kg albacore he caught offshore from Lakes Entrance (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that some good size fish have been caught from Lake Purrumbete: These include a 4.1 kg chinook salmon taken on Thursday by Cobden angler Gerard Loving on a mudeye suspended beneath a float.

On Saturday, the Sunbury Angling Club had an outing on the lake, and – although no names are available – their biggest fish was a 4.3 kg brown trout that was taken while trolling a Tassie Devil.

Gary Drew and Jason Eastman from Ballarat demonstrated that the lake’s population of redfin are still healthy by catching 100 weighing up to a kilogram using minnow for bait.

Brian Nolan with a school shark that he caught off Portland last week (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Brian Nolan with a school shark that he caught off Portland last week (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Lachie Wombell with yet another pink ling taken offshore from Portland (Picture Bob McPherson).

Lachie Wombell with yet another pink ling taken offshore from Portland (Picture Bob McPherson).

Portland

On April 18, I reported that fifteen year old Hugh Johnstone of Portland took the lead in the four week Portland tuna competition with a fish of 60 kg; a catch that enriched him by $500.00. With the competition now over and no bigger tuna taken since, he’s taken the grand prize of $5000.00, which you can bet on being invested in more fishing tackle.

Jake Donaldson with a school shark that he caught last week (Picture:  Sam Donaldson).

Jake Donaldson with a school shark that he caught last week (Picture: Sam Donaldson).

Sam Donaldson with a whiskered gummy shark that he caught at Kangaroo Island last week (Picture: Jake Donaldson).

Sam Donaldson with a whiskered gummy shark that he caught at Kangaroo Island last week (Picture: Jake Donaldson).

Kangaroo Island

Jake and Sam Donaldson headed off to Kangaroo Island last week, an area they’d fished a time or two; hopeful of a good result. And, judging by the photos they sent of some of their bigger fish, it’s certain that they will be going back again at the first opportunity.

Sam Donaldson with a Gummy shark that they caught at Kangaroo Island last week (Picture: Jake Donaldson).

Sam Donaldson with a Gummy shark that they caught at Kangaroo Island last week (Picture: Jake Donaldson).

Sam Donaldson with a Blue Morwong that he caught at Kangaroo Island last week (Picture: Jake Donaldson).

Sam Donaldson with a Blue Morwong that he caught at Kangaroo Island last week (Picture: Jake Donaldson).

Ollie asks

Geoff, I’ve just discovered I’ve been breaking the law throughout my fishing career by using some my catch of squid for whiting bait and flathead for snapper bait. Is it really true that I can’t use any of my catch as freshly-caught bait before returning to shore?

Ollie, you wouldn’t be Robinson Crusoe: Anglers fishing from boats target squid for whiting bait and other fish, including flathead, for snapper bait, and on the same outing: It’s one of those anomalies in the Fisheries Act that have engendered the old saying: “Fishing rules are made by people who don’t fish for people who can’t fish.”

Naturally, I can’t recommend that you break the law, even should it not reflect reality. Bear in mind though, that since this restriction could not be applied to land based-anglers, since they are already ashore, it clearly discriminates against those fishing from boats.

Levi Berry and Sam Donaldson with yet another catch from Kangaroo Island last week. (Picture: Jake Donaldson).

Levi Berry and Sam Donaldson with yet another catch from Kangaroo Island last week. (Picture: Jake Donaldson).

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Gladiator: Brian Nolan with the broadbill swordfish he and his companions caught from Bass Strait last week (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Gladiator: Brian Nolan with the broadbill swordfish he and his companions caught from Bass Strait last week (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Offshore

With a break in the weather last week, Geelong anglers Kevin McLoughlin, Brian Nolan and Andrew Moffat launched from Cape Conran in East Gippsland hoping to coax a broadbill swordfish from Bass Strait.

At the edge of the Continental shelf, they rigged a squid appropriately for a deep water drift, and wasn’t long before they hooked a good one that played up a treat. Unfortunately though, the hook pulled at the surface and the mighty fish swam free.

However, around mid day, their second bait was taken. This time there was no mistake, and – after three gruelling hours on the rod – Brian had a swordfish alongside that eventually weighed 140 kg.

Cod almighty: Brett Harding with the 112 cm Murray Cod that he caught from the Murray River at Cobram on a Bardi grub (Picture: Brett Harding).

Cod almighty: Brett Harding with the 112 cm Murray Cod that he caught from the Murray River at Cobram on a Bardi grub (Picture: Brett Harding).

Freshwater

Bannockurn angler Brett Harding has caught any amount of Murray cod, and there’ve been some big ones among them, but last week he caught his biggest so far; a beauty measuring 112 cm from the Murray River in the Cobram Regional Park.

Brett, who knows the area well, made an early start in his small boat, casting a bardi grub or two into likely areas, and at 7.30 am he was rewarded with the monster cod, which – after he took a photo or two – was released.

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports two outstanding catches from the lake: One was an 8.22 kg Chinook salmon that Jason Castles of Sunbury caught on a rainbow coloured Pegron trolled behind a downrigger, while the other was a 5.44 kg brown trout caught by Andrew Smith of Warrnambool while trolling a pink Tassie Devil.

John also mentions that he and Mick (one more) Giles from Bannockburn harvested another mind boggling catch of redfin from Purrumbete, and mentions that scrubworms are the best bait for the big ones.

John also mentions that Lake Purrumbete has been producing chinook salmon, both on bait and on lure, the Daiwa Double Clutch being a favourite, with Tom Hogan of Drysdale picking them up to 2 kg and better.

Also fishing Lake Purrumbete, Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters had no trouble finding chinook salmon to 2.3 kg for his clients using both bait (fillets of pilchard), fished just above the bottom, and by trolling various lures including the Daiwa Double Clutch.

Trevor also reports that Shane Stevens took an outstanding brown trout from Ballarat’s Lake Wendouree while casting an OSP Bent Minnow: It measuring 71 cm, weighed 3.7 kg, and is now in the hands of the local taxidermist.

Chris Mifsud, Darren McMahon and Andrew Scilluna with the 68 kg tuna that they caught offshore from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Chris Mifsud, Darren McMahon and Andrew Scilluna with the 68 kg tuna that they caught offshore from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Gone Fishing Charters client, David Li, with a sample of their day’s tuna catch off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson.

Gone Fishing Charters client, David Li, with a sample of their day’s tuna catch off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson.


Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Andrew Phillips and George Uranus were out off Point Wilson in their usual snapper spot on Thursday evening when, right on sunset, George – who was using a strip of squid for bait – caught a snapper of 4 kg.

Meanwhile, Andrew who was bitten off by something, re-rigged with a wire trace: A good move as it turned out, for he caught a 14 kg seven-gilled shark that should enhance his supply of flake.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that flathead remain the main chance and among those to catch them offshore from the boat ramp were Anthony Matheson and his family; their biggest measuring 42 cm.

After catching several squid, whiting aficionados Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien had a slow start off The Springs, but their luck changed at Curlewis where they caught ten whiting, including two that measured 43 cm apiece. The action stopped on the tide change, but they soon found them again and finished with their respective bag limits.

Other species to be caught said Mike, included an elephant fish measuring 85 cm that was caught by Matt Reid of Ballarat, along with a number of garfish and good size squid taken offshore from The Dell.

Aaron Habgood with one of the Gummy Shark he caught from Bass Strait at the weekend (Picture: Aaron Habgood)

Aaron Habgood with one of the Gummy Shark he caught from Bass Strait at the weekend (Picture: Aaron Habgood)

Michael Goldby with a sample of his and Bob McPherson’s blue eye trevalla catch (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Michael Goldby with a sample of his and Bob McPherson’s blue eye trevalla catch (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Offshore

Aaron Habgood and his companion took a run offshore from Barwon heads over the weekend, and – in around 40 metres of water – caught four gummy sharks, the largest around 20 kg – as well as a 7 kg snapper; an excellent result considering they caught them in a two hour period.

Bob McPherson reports that tuna are still the main attraction offshore from Portland, and lately, some bigger fish have been showing up. To date, the biggest caught so far weighed 68 kg and was caught by Chris Mifsud who was fishing out of Portland in 100 metres of water with Darren McMahon and Andrew Scilluna.

It’s a dog eat dog world out there as revealed by the bite taken from this gemfish by one of its own kind (Picture: Bob McPherson).

It’s a dog eat dog world out there as revealed by the bite taken from this gemfish by one of its own kind (Picture: Bob McPherson).

George Gereige with a 14.1 kg pink ling that he caught out wide from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

George Gereige with a 14.1 kg pink ling that he caught out wide from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).


Andrew Asks:

Geoff, I use an 80lb monofilament leader for gummy sharks, but keep getting bitten off by what I believe are school sharks. I would use a wire trace except that I’ve been told gummy sharks won’t take the bait on wire. What are your thoughts?

Andrew, I too have heard the same, but it contradicts the facts; I suggest you use a wire trace and reap the benefits.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Legendary lure maker, Peter Pakula, congratulates fifteen year old Hugh Johnstone on the capture of a 60 kg bluefin on a Pakula lure at Portland (Picture Bob McPherson).

Legendary lure maker, Peter Pakula, congratulates fifteen year old Hugh Johnstone on the capture of a 60 kg bluefin on a Pakula lure at Portland (Picture Bob McPherson).

Portland

Fifteen year old gun angler Hugh Johnstone now leads the Portland tuna competition with the capture of a 60 kg bluefin on 15 kg tackle during Easter, an event that has enriched his bank account by $500.00.

Hugh, who was fishing with his brother Sam and Adam and Manuel Vella, also intends to claim a junior, line-class IGFA record for the catch, which was taken on a Pakula lure.

As it turned out, legendary lure maker Peter Pakula was a guest of the tournament and, at the dinner, Hugh was also a guest of honour sitting alongside Peter who had done a tackle talk the previous evening.

Bob McPherson and colleague Michael Goldby also had an interesting day off Portland with a mixed bag of mainly blue-eye trevalla. However, Michael also caught a southern frostfish nearly two metres long and a 40 cm fish that was eventually identified by Roger Swainston, co-author of Fishes of Southern Australia, as a banded cucumberfish (Paraulopus balteatus).

Michael Goldby with a banded cucumberfish (Paraulopus balteatus) that he caught offshore from Portland and was subsequently identified by Roger Swainston, co-author of Sea Fishes of Southern Australia (Picture Bob McPherson).

Michael Goldby with a banded cucumberfish (Paraulopus balteatus) that he caught offshore from Portland and was subsequently identified by Roger Swainston, co-author of Sea Fishes of Southern Australia (Picture Bob McPherson).

How big? Michael Goldby with a southern frostfish that he caught offshore from Portland over Easter (Picture Bob McPherson).

How big? Michael Goldby with a southern frostfish that he caught offshore from Portland over Easter (Picture Bob McPherson).


Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Early on Thursday morning, Andrew Phillips and George Uranus headed close in off the Mountain View Quarries, near the wreck site of the Aneiura, where they had no trouble taking bag limit catches of whiting, including some over the 40 cm mark.

Pinkie snapper moved in as well, and they caught several of those before it became clear that there were bigger fish among them, cutting their lines off over the rough ground.

Changing to heavier tackle, and larger hooks baited with cut pilchards, it wasn’t long before they also caught their respective bag limits of snapper over the 40 cm mark.

Fishing off Point Richards last week, Tim Johnson caught a snapper of 4 kg and several pinkies; but a moment of excitement occurred when he hooked what was obviously a shark of some kind that almost spooled him of line before breaking free.

Andrew Johnson, along with Brodie and Dennis Bell fished off Clifton Springs over Easter, and on one occasion, in 4.5 metres of water, they picked up their respective bag limit catches of whiting, many of them around the 40 cm mark, using strips of squid for bait.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that flathead to 45 cm are about and among those to catch them was Nick Wren who also picked up some respectable whiting and squid.

Others to do well on the squid included Harry Walker and James Teague who found a good patch off The Dell.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that squid are abundant and among those to catch them were Jeff Richards and Ken Shae who had no trouble taking bag limit catches as did a good many others.

However, the whiting have a become rather scarce said Jeff, after taking a catch of only six last time he tried his usually productive spot on the Prince George Bank.

Offshore

On Sunday, Simon Werner and daughter Kassidy took advantage of good weather and fished offshore from Barwon Heads near the wreck of the Orungal. They had a good result, taking several pinkie snapper to just on 40 cm, and several whiting, the biggest of which measured 45 cm.

Mark asks:

Now that the Hazelwood Power station has been closed, are there any plans for maintaining the barramundi fishery in the pondage?

Mark: One would not expect the Hazelwood barramundi fishery to survive the winter in the absence of the power station’s warm water discharge. However, it has been suggested that up to 40 megalitres of water a day, at 45 degrees Celsius, could be pumped from the adjacent open cut coalmine into the pondage.

In the long term, this may depend on the coalmine’s future, given that developers want to divert the Morwell River into the mine to form a high-end lake resort for fun, frolic and hi-jinx. Of course, a fishery could also be established there, but not for barramundi.

It was also suggested that geothermal water could sustain the Hazelwood fishery, which government sources estimate to have already attracted 5000 or so anglers who’ve already contributed some $700,000 to the local economy; a great return on the approximate $150.000 investment made to set up the fishery. And, in consideration of that significant return, future southern barramundi fisheries must already be a topic of discussion.

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