Geoff’s Fishing Report

Greg Staynes with the bluefin tuna that he caught offshore from Point Lonsdale at Port Phillip Heads on Thursday.
Greg Staynes with the bluefin tuna that he caught offshore from Point Lonsdale at Port Phillip Heads on Thursday.
Aaron Habgood with his big gummy shark off Port Phillip Heads (Picture: Aaron Habgood).
Aaron Habgood with his big gummy shark off Port Phillip Heads (Picture: Aaron Habgood).

An early start paid off for Jarrod Quin of Ocean Grove Charters, and his client Greg Staynes on Thursday morning when they encountered a shoal of bluefin tuna off Port Phillip Heads from Point Lonsdale at around 6.30 am on the incoming tide.

Manoeuvring into position, they soon had a double hook-up on the Pakula micro uzi lures they were trolling; dropping one while Greg remained tight on his, which eventually greeted the scales at Queenscliff for a verdict of 10.2 kg.

Lockie Wombell with yet another good size whiting off Blacknose Point at Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Lockie Wombell with yet another good size whiting off Blacknose Point at Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Lockie Wombell with a good size blue eye trevalla taken offshore from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Lockie Wombell with a good size blue eye trevalla taken offshore from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that anglers are spoiled for choice with tuna to 20 kg or so within 15 km east of the harbour, and with kingfish on offer as well.

Lockie Wombell with a good size gemfish taken offshore from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Lockie Wombell with a good size gemfish taken offshore from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
One of Lockie’s gemfish after being “chonked” on the way up (Picture: Bob McPherson).
One of Lockie’s gemfish after being “chonked” on the way up (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Bob invents new word

Meanwhile Bob, and his pal Lockie Wombell, have been hard to tempt away from the whiting in the lee of Cape Grant and off Blacknose Point. However, with some good weather last week, they headed out wide into 480 metres of water where they caught both blue-eye trevalla and gemfish, one of the latter, Bob describes as being “chonked” on the way up. Well, there’s a bit of “chonking” going on lately with so many sharks about.

Aaron Habgood with his whiskered shark (Picture: Aaron Habgood).
Aaron Habgood with his whiskered shark (Picture: Aaron Habgood).
Cameron Habgood with his thresher shark prior to release (Picture: Aaron Habgood).
Cameron Habgood with his thresher shark prior to release (Picture: Aaron Habgood).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that the fishing has slowed down as it usually does at this time of year, but there are still a few pinkie snapper about, particularly around the channel junction off Curlewis, along with a few whiting in much the same area.

Peter Clark found a shoal of whiting out here in six metres of water, while most of the other whiting seekers fed the toadfish that were soon onto their baits. Likewise, with the snapper scarce, rays have been taking those larger baits intended for snapper.

Historically the best place to find good size snapper in January is out on the deep mud off Portarlington, Indented Head and St Leonards where Jason Treloar and Tony Ingram picked up three fish, the biggest just on 6 kg on Friday morning’s high tide change.

Using the freshly caught mackerel they’d manage to berley up after putting down the anchor in just on 20 metres of water off St Leonards, they had their first fish by 8.30 or so, the other two following within the next half hour. But after losing their next couple of fish – almost certainly “chonked” by a shark – they called it quits.

Whiting fishermen are still doing well off the Swan Island Grass beds in 6 metres of water at Queenscliff, Here, Aaron Habgood and his crew continue to prevail, as was clearly evidenced by some of the photos he sent in.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire reports that flathead have been the main catch with fewer whiting and squid greeting the cleaning table up until now, but gummy shark have been plentiful with Jake Callahan and his son Beau among those to find them off Indented Head as did Steve and Joey Carr.

And, speaking of gummies, Daniel Stranger of Gone Fishing Charter struck pay dirt in 15 metres of water off Queenscliff for his client Casey Bandy who caught one that would have been at least 20 kg; he also dropped another of possibly the same size.

Aaron Habgood and his brother Cameron fished offshore from Port Phillip Heads where they too encountered large gummy sharks; Aaron also caught a much less common whiskery shark of 15 kg, which is similar to a gummy except for some markings on the body – and significantly – a mouthful of razor sharp teeth. Cameron also caught a small thresher shark that was also released.

Unknown lady angler with a 2 kg chinook salmon from Lake Bullen Merri week.
Unknown lady angler with a 2 kg chinook salmon from Lake Bullen Merri week.
Basil Wentworth with a 1.3 kg redfin from Lake Purrumbete (Picture John Clements).
Basil Wentworth with a 1.3 kg redfin from Lake Purrumbete (Picture John Clements).

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Caravan Park reports taking a 1.5 kg redfin amongst his catch on Thursday evening. Others to catch them include Basil Wentworth and Stan Rae who also racked up a good tally on live minnow.

However, it was the Bannockburn crew of Ryan Perkins and Sammy Giles, both 10, Harry Stanford 6 and Lachlan Grove, who really cleaned up from the jetty. Although most of their fish were a bit on the small side, they did include a couple of nice ones around the kilogram mark.

John Clements 1.5 kg redfin from Lake Purrumbete on Thursday evening (Picture John Clements).
John Clements 1.5 kg redfin from Lake Purrumbete on Thursday evening (Picture John Clements).
Lachlan Grove with his Monday morning’s redfin from Lake Purrumbete (Picture John Clements). .
Lachlan Grove with his Monday morning’s redfin from Lake Purrumbete (Picture John Clements). .

Rudi asks:

Geoff, my son and I were trolling our new Rapala X Raps offshore from Thirteenth Beach with no real expectation of hooking anything, but we had an almighty strike that nearly emptied the reel before the hooks pulled free: What could it have been?

Rudi, in my opinion it was probably a thresher shark, a species often found relatively close to shore at this time of year. They often leap from the water when hooked in the mouth, but those caught on lures are usually hooked by the tail and don’t jump.

Another possibility I suppose, is that it could have been a tuna; there have been a few of those about as well, but I’d bet on it being a thresher shark.

Geoff’s Fishing Report

David Lees with the bream he caught from the Barwon estuary upstream from Lake Connewarre (Picture Sean Dennis).
David Lees with the bream he caught from the Barwon estuary upstream from Lake Connewarre (Picture Sean Dennis).
Kevin McLoughlin with another small mako shark taken off Black Rock and then released (Picture Kevin McLoughlin).
Kevin McLoughlin with another small mako shark taken off Black Rock and then released (Picture Kevin McLoughlin).

Barwon River

After going to the trouble of collecting some crabs for bait, David Lees and Sean Dennis took their small boat upstream from Lake Connewarre toward the second break on the Barwon estuary. Here, David’s catch included a bream of 1.14 kg; a good fish certainly, but perhaps not as big as one that Sean hooked, but which unfortunately, escaped.


Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

With fresh squid for bait, snapper aficionados Andrew Phillips and George Uranus were anchored in 8 metres of water just west of the Wilson Spit by 4.00 pm last Tuesday, and their first fish, a snapper of 4.9 kg, was in the landing net within half an hour.

With a second snapper of 4.2 kg coming aboard at 6.30, and the north westerly wind following the outgoing tide, they looked set for a comfortable evening’s fishing. But then, the wind swung to the east, strengthening as it did so, so they came back in.

Fishing for snapper at the weekend, this time on the east side of the Wilson Spit, were Simon Werner, son Jayden, Jemma Thorpe and neighbour Alan. They also caught several snapper, the biggest being taken by Jemma at 4.5 kg.

Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien found the whiting slower than usual off The Springs over the weekend, catching only a dozen good size fish between them; but that would have kept most of the punters happy.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire also reports that the exceptional fishing we’ve experienced until now, dropped off over the weekend but holiday makers and locals are still catching enough flathead, whiting and squid to ensure their return.

Mike also mentions that the additional vehicle and trailer parking space at the ramp is now completed.

Rod Ludlow at Beach Lea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that no place was safe on New Year’s Eve; with many illegal fireworks landing too close for comfort at Indented Head. Apart from that though, said Rod, the whiting still about.

Among those to catch them were Ken Shae and George Hill who were dead ringers for bag limit catches on Friday morning in 4 metres of water off Indented Head, but the worsening weather had them heading back to the ramp with just fifteen good ones.

Marcus Pearson with one of the sharks, a small mako taken in 50 metres of water off the Black Rock outfall (Picture Kevin McLoughlin).
Marcus Pearson with one of the sharks, a small mako taken in 50 metres of water off the Black Rock outfall (Picture Kevin McLoughlin).
Brian Nolan and Marcus Pearson with another of the sharks – a bronze whaler this time – that they caught in 50 metres of water off the Black Rock outfall (Picture Kevin McLoughlin).
Brian Nolan and Marcus Pearson with another of the sharks – a bronze whaler this time – that they caught in 50 metres of water off the Black Rock outfall (Picture Kevin McLoughlin).

Offshore

Fishing offshore from the Black Rock outfall in 50 metres of water over the weekend were Kevin McLoughlin, Marcus Pearson and Brian Nolan. With baits of squid suspended under balloons they caught two small mako sharks, one of which they released.

Then Marcus hooked an obviously bigger fish from the bottom on a line rigged for a gummy shark. It eventually turned out to be a good size bronze whaler that kicked up a treat before they managed to subdue it.

Freshwater

John Clements reports that Lake Bullen Merri is still producing chinook salmon for anglers, while either bait fishing or trolling lures. John also mentions that regular angler Andrew Kompa, caught several while deep trolling pilchard fillets behind a downrigger.

At Lake Purrumbete, redfin have been on the bite said John, with Norm Armstrong catching 30 to a kilogram or so on minnow fished at the bottom. A large number of smaller redfin have been also been caught from the jetty, with the Bannockburn crew of Ryan Perkins and Sammy Giles, both 10, and Harry Stanford 6, racking up a decent tally.

Lockie Wombell with four nice whiting taken close in to Cape Sir William Grant (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Lockie Wombell with four nice whiting taken close in to Cape Sir William Grant (Picture: Bob McPherson).
George Geriege, also with a good sample (Picture: Bob McPherson).
George Geriege, also with a good sample (Picture: Bob McPherson).


Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that really good size whiting are on the bite and that he, Lockie Wombell and George Gereige, have had no trouble bagging out off Blacknose Point and below the cliffs of Cape Grant using local pips for bait. Others have done well along the north shore as far down as Snapper Point.

Bob also reminds readers that yellowtail kingfish are due to turn up in the immediate future with several small specimens being taken already, along with one of 13 kg taken by Corey Joosen on a soft plastic down toward the abalone farm.

Lockie Wombell with a sweep; a regular by-catch while fishing for whiting under the cliffs of Cape Grant.
Lockie Wombell with a sweep; a regular by-catch while fishing for whiting under the cliffs of Cape Grant.
George Geriege and Lockie Wombell with a “double” off Portland over the weekend.
George Geriege and Lockie Wombell with a “double” off Portland over the weekend.

Late mail

Bob had mentioned that tuna had been sighted among shoals off kingfish off Portland’s north shore, and on Monday, send me pictures of four tuna to 20 kg or so that were caught that day by Manuel and Adam Vella. The pair also released another two tuna. These were taken on lures in 17 metres of water along Portland’s north shore.

Four tuna to 20 kg or so that were caught on Monday by Manuel and Adam Vella amongst a shoal of newly arrived kingfish along Portland’s north shore (Pictures: Bob McPherson).
Four tuna to 20 kg or so that were caught on Monday by Manuel and Adam Vella amongst a shoal of newly arrived kingfish along Portland’s north shore (Pictures: Bob McPherson).

Ahmed asks?

Geoff, where could we expect to find some good freshwater fishing at this time of year?

Ahmed, Lake Tooliorook near Lismore and Deep Lake near Derrinallum, both located along the Hamilton Highway, have been stocked with trout, and there are redfin in Tooliorook as well.

Heading out to Camperdown, Lake Purrumbete is worth a try, both for trout, chinook salmon and redfin, and – further up the road – you will find the turn-off to Lake Bullen Merri where trout and chinook salmon are both present in good numbers.

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Murray Scott with a sample of his snapper catch from Corio Bay.
Murray Scott with a sample of his snapper catch from Corio Bay.
Jeff Broughton of Geelong displays a couple of the redfin he caught from Lake Purrumbete last week (Picture: John Clements).
Jeff Broughton of Geelong displays a couple of the redfin he caught from Lake Purrumbete last week (Picture: John Clements).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

An early start usually means an early finish, and that is applicable to fishing as Murray Scott could readily attest.

Being on the water by 4.00 am, He and Scott Smart were no sooner at anchor in 8 metres of water on the west side of the Wilson Spit than they were in business. By sun up they’d caught most of their respective bag limits of three large snapper and were back at the Avalon boat ramp by 7.15.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports, that despite the slump we’ve usually seen at the onset of Christmas in previous years, there have been few disappointments this time around with large snapper, pinkies and whiting all well and truly on offer.

Among those to be successful on pinkies were Greg Harris and Gerard Karstens who made an early start just south of the No 18 buoy that marks the channel junction off Curlewis. Using squid for bait, they had no shortage of action and were back at the ramp by 7.30 am with their respective bag limit catches of pinkie snapper to 40 cm.

Whiting too continue to reward both the specialists seeking them and those who just enjoy a good day on the water. Among those to get among them were Colin, Brent, Jordan and Donna Doyle who bagged 37 prime specimens using fresh mussels for bait.

Andrew Johnson’s larder, being well stocked with fresh fish, agreed on a catch and release adventure off Point Richards early on Friday morning with friend Steve Leaumont who was visiting from Townsville over Christmas.

An early start had rods bending left and right with snapper to around 3.5 kg being caught until just after daybreak when the action slowed down a little. Then, making a move into 13 metres of water, more or less straight out from the Portarlington Pier, they caught four nice flathead to 43 cm.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports being well on the way to tennis elbow after cleaning almost record numbers of fish for clients, mainly flathead, so last week he had no time to do the necessary job of running his new outboard motors, a job our regular reporter, Jeff Richards from Indented Head, put his hand up for.

Taking a rod rigged with a deep running lure to break the monotony of the running-in procedure, Jeff had multiple strikes along the Prince George Bank between the Prince George light pile and Dean Man’s Stick. They turned out to be good size snook which went into the smoker, along with a flathead of about 1.5 kg which also took the lure.

Gary Brown with another good size cod from Bundalong on the Murray (Picture: John Clements).
Gary Brown with another good size cod from Bundalong on the Murray (Picture: John Clements).
Josh Brown likewise (Picture: John Clements).
Josh Brown likewise (Picture: John Clements).


Freshwater

Lake Purrumbete Caravan Park proprietor John Clements, reports that trout have been quiet in the lake, but redfin show no sign of slowing down with Jeff Broughton catching a dozen from 800 to 910 grams on live minnow fished at the bottom.

John has just returned from Bundalong on the Murray, where it joins Lake Mulwala. Here, fishing with Gary, Josh and Neil Brown, they caught a total of 7 Murray cod between them – all of which were released – ranging in size from 7 to 20.4 kg, using bardi grubs for bait.

Neil Brown with an eleven kilogram cod from the same trip (Picture: John Clements).
Neil Brown with an eleven kilogram cod from the same trip (Picture: John Clements).
John Clements with a 20.4 kg cod from the Murray near Bundalong (Picture: John Clements).
John Clements with a 20.4 kg cod from the Murray near Bundalong (Picture: John Clements).

Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that whiting are well and trully on the bite and that he and Lockie Wombell got onto them on Saturday fishing in 5 to 7 metres of water between Blacknose Point Lawrence Rock. They also caught a number of silver trevally to a kilogram or so, with their biggest whiting measuing better than 40 cm, all being caught on either cuttlefish or local pipi.

Lockie Wombell with one of the whiting he and Bob McPherson caught off Blacknose Point on Friday (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Lockie Wombell with one of the whiting he and Bob McPherson caught off Blacknose Point on Friday (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Archie asks:

Geoff: Is there any difference between stingarees and stingrays, or are they all the same?

Archie, as a rule, stingarees are smaller than stingrays and usually display a more rounded body shape; the feather-shaped fin at the tip of the tail (not present in stingrays) being diagnostic. The spotted stingaree is the most common local variety.

Our most common stingrays are the roughly diamond-shaped, southern eagle ray and the (sometimes very large) smooth stingray. Other species of large rays, like the black thorntail ray – easily distinguished by its very long tail – are sometimes present as well.

As you know, both stingarees and stingrays have one or more barbed spines on the tail which are coated with toxic slime; a defence system, not only capable of severely wounding a victim, but inducing long term and painful aggravation to any such wound.

(References: Sharks and Rays of Australia by P. R. Last and J.D. Stevens, and Sea Fishes of Southern Australia by Barry Hutchins and Roger Swainston).

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Red alert: Harvey Kilpatrick with the 63 cm snapper that he caught offshore from Portarlington last week (Picture: Greg Kilpatrick).
Red alert: Harvey Kilpatrick with the 63 cm snapper that he caught offshore from Portarlington last week (Picture: Greg Kilpatrick).
Brian Nolan and Andrew Moffat with their 80 kg mako shark taken near Lady Julia Percy Island (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).
Brian Nolan and Andrew Moffat with their 80 kg mako shark taken near Lady Julia Percy Island (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Launching at Point Richards last week, Greg Kilpatrick and his 12 year old son Harvey, went looking for fish on the sounder, but with no luck there, they anchored up in 8 metres of water and began berleying.

After about 40 minutes, pinkie snapper came on the bite and kept them busy throughout the afternoon, but then Harvey hooked a better fish that, at 63 cm, was the biggest of the five they kept, and his biggest snapper to date.

Launching off Point Richards at daybreak on Friday, Andrew Johnson and Will Davis, headed out to a usually reliable snapper spot for this time of year, and – in eleven metres of water – the sounder lit up, heralding the capture of six snapper to 4.5 kg.

Simon Werner, son Jayden and his friend Jemma caught a 6 kg fish among the pinkies they caught off Clifton Springs on Sunday.

However, they got a shock when a large shoal of snapper burst to the surface beside their boat, symptomatic of the fact that large sharks, mainly bronze whalers, give birth to their young – one of which Jayden caught that day – in Corio Bay at this time of year.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that good size pinkie snapper have been widespread with Steve Finning and Josh Lansbury-Lowe bringing in a dozen or so from Point Wilson using salted pilchards for bait. The pair also spotted a nearby shoal of Australian salmon, adding quite a few of those to their catch as well.

Whiting are still on the bite said Mike, with old hands Garry Ridgeway and Laurie (Doc) Alexander wasting no time bagging out near the mussel farm before executing a repeat performance on the squid.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that patchy weather has been the only stumbling block to good catches of squid and whiting.

Saturday in particular was tough going, but Andrew Phillips and Keith Fry were out off Indented Head by daybreak, and – fishing on the drift – they soon began picking up a squid or two. Eventually they had to put sinkers on their lines, so quick was the drift, but they caught 14 squid before virtually being blown off the water.

Whiting have been a bit slow said Rod, but on Friday, while fishing with squid for bait in 4 metres of water off Indented Head, Ken Shae and George Hill picked up 14 thumpers between them, their biggest measuring 44 cm.

Hugh Johnstone with a sample of the whiting that he, Tony Busher, and Bob McPherson caught off Blacknose Point over the weekend. (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Hugh Johnstone with a sample of the whiting that he, Tony Busher, and Bob McPherson caught off Blacknose Point over the weekend. (Picture: Bob McPherson).
 Dorz West with her Murray Cod, also on a spinnerbait (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).
Dorz West with her Murray Cod, also on a spinnerbait (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Offshore

Taking a run offshore from Portland, Kevin McLoughlin, Brian Nolan, and Andrew Moffat finished up near Lady Julia Percy Island where Brian hooked a mako shark that threw the hook. Not to be deterred, and despite its narrow escape, the mako returned to the bait and eventually greeted the scales for a verdict of 80 kg.

Good size whiting are on the bite at Portland and over the weekend, Hugh Johnstone (son of Johnno Johnstone, the new proprietor Portland Bait and Tackle), Tony Busher, and Bob McPherson picked up some really nice ones off Blacknose Point. Others reportedly did well along Portland’s north shore.

Cod almighty: Tony Blackford caught this 90 cm Murray Cod from Coller Bay, Lake Eildon, casting a four-bladed, black and orange, spinnerbait into the snags over the weekend (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).
Cod almighty: Tony Blackford caught this 90 cm Murray Cod from Coller Bay, Lake Eildon, casting a four-bladed, black and orange, spinnerbait into the snags over the weekend (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).
Trevor’s 80 cm cod on the spinnerbait (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).
Trevor’s 80 cm cod on the spinnerbait (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Freshwater

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Caravan Park reports that the lake has gone a bit quiet of late, but nearby Lake Bullen Merri continues to produce chinook salmon to a kilogram or so.

These have been taken both by anglers fishing from boats, and by those fishing land-based, either from the bank or from the jetty near the angler’s clubhouse. Pilchard fillets and whitebait have been producing the goods, but some have been caught from the bank on lures as well with Nories Laydown Minnow a standout.

Arriving at Coller Bay, Lake Eildon in preparation for the weekend’s clients, Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters headed out for a cast or two, but it was his third cast that came up tight on a Murray cod that gave no ground. Eventually becoming snagged, the cod escaped, but at least Trevor got his spinnerbait back.

Seemingly undamaged, the spinnerbait was cast out again for yet another heart-stopping strike. This time the fish was caught, measured at 80 cm, photographed, and then released.

Taking clients Tony Blackford and Chris Eddy into the strike zone next day, it wasn’t long before Tony caught a pearler that measured at 90 cm. That was followed by Chris bringing a similar size fish to the boat where it straightened out the spinnerbait’s hook in its final lunge for freedom.

It would seem the cod were becoming educated because – although their spinnerbaits were followed back to the boat a couple of times by mega size cod – they reneged on the gulp, and it soon became apparent they were having no more of the game.

An evening run with clients Charlie Koelman and Dorz West produced no more attention from the bigguns, but their captures included cod to 58 cm that were also caught on spinnerbaits, making a great end to an amazing day.

Also at Lake Eildon, Trevor took out Ben Humphrey and his mate Danny who were flicking out Ecogear ZX35 vibes on light tackle: After doing it tough for a while Ben landed this nice golden perch of 48 cm on the vibe (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).
Also at Lake Eildon, Trevor took out Ben Humphrey and his mate Danny who were flicking out Ecogear ZX35 vibes on light tackle: After doing it tough for a while Ben landed this nice golden perch of 48 cm on the vibe (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Murray Scott and Ben King with a sample of their snapper catches.
Murray Scott and Ben King with a sample of their snapper catches.
Murray Scott with a sample of his snapper catch.
Murray Scott with a sample of his snapper catch.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

An early start from Avalon paid off for Murray Scott over the weekend, when – anchored up on the west side of the Wilson Spit in around eight metres of water – he had his bag-limit of snapper to 7 kg before sunrise.

He was by no means the only successful angler to arrive back at the Avalon boat ramp where Scott Smart, and his nine year old son Billy, also returned with snapper, as did Ben King with another bag-limit catch; each of their fish being caught on squid.

On Wednesday evening, Andrew Phillips and George Uranus had also anchored up in 8 metres of water on the west side of Wilson Spit hopeful of catching a snapper or two: They caught three as it turned out; the first, a fish of 3.5 kg was taken on dusk and followed by two more of 4.2 and 5.2 kg at 10.00 and 10.45 respectively.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that some species that are usually long gone by now are still present: Kim Gorell and Peter Beard picked up a couple of nice snook over the grass beds at The Springs, while Dick from Ballarat’s catch of silver whiting and flathead also included a dozen rock cod.

Following last week’s gale force winds, Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien tried their luck on the whiting off Point Wilson, but – although the ten that they caught were in the 38 to 40 cm range – they were a bit slow.

Then, they got a call from Noel and Kirt Behan who were into the whiting off Curlews; so, by early afternoon, they topped off their bag-limit over there; but these fish weren’t as big as those they’d caught earlier off Point Wilson.

At Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head, Rod Ludlow reports that whiting and squid were well and truly on the bite until Thursday’s gale force winds and rough seas. Among those to catch both on Wednesday were Jeff Richards and Ken Shae who caught eleven good size squid before the mid afternoon low tide change, after which they headed out into 4 metres of water after the whiting. A good move as it turned out, for – with the tide running in – they caught their bag-limit of thumpers, their biggest fish measuring 44 cm.

Mini mako: Sean Mayall with the mako shark he caught offshore from Port Phillip Heads (Photo Brad Andrews).
Mini mako: Sean Mayall with the mako shark he caught offshore from Port Phillip Heads (Photo Brad Andrews).
Good Start: Nine year old Billy Smart with the snapper he caught from Corio Bay over the weekend.
Good Start: Nine year old Billy Smart with the snapper he caught from Corio Bay over the weekend.


Offshore

Offshore from Port Phillip Heads in 28 metres of water, clients aboard Gone Fishing Charters were picking up mixed bags of fish, when Brad Andrews hooked a small mako shark of about 20 kg. Having already caught quite a few of those, Brad passed the rod to his friend Sean Mayall who finished up with mako on the menu.

Ben King at the Avalon boat ramp with a sample of his bag-limit catch.
Ben King at the Avalon boat ramp with a sample of his bag-limit catch.
Bailey Vermolen with the 7.8 kg snapper he caught from the Lee Breakwater at Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Bailey Vermolen with the 7.8 kg snapper he caught from the Lee Breakwater at Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).


Portland

Bob McPherson reports that good size snapper continue to be caught from the Lee Breakwater at Portland by those with the right approach: Among the successful anglers last week was Bailey Vermolen who caught one of 7.8 kg using squid for bait.

Gemfish

Further to Ashleigh’s question regarding gemfish regulations last week, I have since been informed that there is to be a daily catch limit of 5 (with no minimum length) introduced next year: Details are to be published in Victoria’s 2017 recreational fishing guide.

Brendan asks:

Geoff, I’ll be fishing off Portarlington during over Christmas with my friend who has a boat, and would really like to catch either a large snapper or gummy shark. I am not really sure where to fish or how to rig my line. Can you help please?

Brendan, assuming you’re shipshape with all of your safety gear, I suggest that fishing anywhere off the Prince George Bank, or even directly out from the Portarlington Pier – preferably in at least 12 metres of water – your chance of catching either species is good.

As for rigging your line, I suggest using a 50 cm trace of about twice the breaking strain of your main line with a hook (size 4/0 to 6/0) at one end and a swivel at the other. Your sinker – either a medium size ball or bean – is threaded onto the line to which your trace is tied; the hook baited then cast well out from the boat. After that, it’s a waiting game.

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Daniel Stranger with a sample from his last week’s snapper catch.
Daniel Stranger with a sample from his last week’s snapper catch.
Banjo Hilton 6, looking pleased with the snapper he caught off Clifton Springs.
Banjo Hilton 6, looking pleased with the snapper he caught off Clifton Springs.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Daniel Stranger and Andrew Fromholtz were at anchor in 8.2 metres of water off Point Wilson by 5.00 am on Thursday morning; a good move as it turned out for by 8.30 or so, they’d caught their bag limit of large snapper, some well over 80 cm, along with some respectable pinkies..

Also making an early start, Murray Scott picked up three snapper from four to 7 kg, on Saturday. The first came aboard around 5.00 am after a promising alert on the West side of the Wilson Spit. The other two were at half hour intervals after that.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that whiting are still going well off The Springs, and Curlewis, with Dale Connelly and Phil Butel among those to take their share.

Fishing off Clifton Springs on Thursday afternoon, were Andrew and Daniel Johnson and Brodie Bell who took 40 whiting in 5.8 metres of water off the Dell. They would have caught more save for a shoal of suicidal pinkie snapper to 1.5 kg or so that moved in and took over the bite for at least half an hour.

However, as quickly as they came on the bite, they departed, and – fishing into the dusk – the trio topped up their whiting catch.

On Saturday, Andrew and Daniel spent some time wading shallows below Beacon Point, casting soft plastics in the hope of picking up a good size flathead or two: They caught six as it turned out, the biggest measuring just on 60 cm.

Rod Ludlow of Bellarine Boat Hire reports that strong tides during the week made for good fishing with of whiting and squid easy to come by.

Among those to do well on the squid were Andrew Phillips and Chris Stamalos who fished on the drift out as far out as 8 metres of water, where on Thursday, their luck held out until the wind strengthened in the afternoon, so – counting their blessings, and thankful for a good catch – they headed back to the ramp.

Aaron Habgood found the whiting in 6 metres of water off Swan Island last week where he and Australian cricketer, Cameron White, both took bag limit catches using squid for bait.

They had no trouble finding those XOS southern calamari in the Lonsdale Bight again either, with some of the specimens to come aboard, big enough to frighten those of timid disposition.

Jeff Richards managed a couple of trips on the whiting off Indented Head after his encounter with the medical profession some weeks ago, firstly with Ken Shae on Thursday and then with Chris Hateley and Ken Shae again on Saturday. While there were no bag limit catches involved, the quality of the fish they caught from 4 metres of water was truly astounding with several over 40 cm; the biggest of which measured 43 cm.

From the left: Matt, Patrick, Steph, Lachie and Tom with the blue shark they caught off Port Phillip Heads at the weekend.
From the left: Matt, Patrick, Steph, Lachie and Tom with the blue shark they caught off Port Phillip Heads at the weekend.

Australian cricketer Cameron White with his and Aaron Hapgood’s whiting catch off Queenscliff last week.
Australian cricketer Cameron White with his and Aaron Hapgood’s whiting catch off Queenscliff last week.

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Caravan Park reports that large brown trout are on offer from the lake and among those to accept the challenge was Peter Harasymenko who caught one of 3.8 kg trolling a Rapala bibbed minnow last week.

John reports that chinook salmon are still on the bite at nearby Lake Bullen Merri, the only obstacle to a bag limit catch being the number of small fish that John reminds everyone to release with great care.

Redfin remain abundant in Lake Purrumbete as John’s recent catch of 50 on live minnow, fished near the bottom would indicate, along with similar catches of same by several others including Brian Nygaard and Geoff Broughton.

Aaron Habgood with a sample of the XOS squid he’s been catching from the Lonsdale Bight.
Aaron Habgood with a sample of the XOS squid he’s been catching from the Lonsdale Bight.
Lucas Faravoni with the 8 kg snapper he caught from the Lee Breakwater on Sunday (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Lucas Faravoni with the 8 kg snapper he caught from the Lee Breakwater on Sunday (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that Lucas Faravoni was among those to catch snapper from the breakwater on Sunday when the fresh squid he was using for bait tempted a beauty of 8 kg. Others have been taken as well, mostly by local identities who regularly fish for them here.

Ashleigh asks:

Geoff, after a session of deep water, bottom-bouncing off Portland, we were told that gemfish are now totally protected: Surely that can’t be right, can it?

Ashleigh, I checked both the current recreational fishing guide, and the internet, without finding any mention of a ban on the taking of gemfish, so I guess they’re still fair game.

Geoff’s Fishing Report

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

Corio Bay/ Bellarine Peninsula

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freshwater

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

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

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

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

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

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

Portland

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

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

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

Ron asks:

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

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

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

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

Geoff’s Fishing Report

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

Corio Bay/ Bellarine Peninsula

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freshwater

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

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

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

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

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

Have a heart

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

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

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

Fund raising auction

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

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

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

Romeo asks:

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

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

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

Geoff’s Fishing Report

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

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freshwater

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

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

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

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

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

Jack asks:

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

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

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

Geoff’s Fishing Report

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


Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Queenscliff

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

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

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

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Abraham asks:

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

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

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