Geoff’s Fishing Report

September 28, 2016 by

Chris Stamalos with his snapper from Corio Bay.

Chris Stamalos with his snapper from Corio Bay.

George with a 7.3 kg snapper from Altona (Picture: Daniel Curmi).

George with a 7.3 kg snapper from Altona (Picture: Daniel Curmi).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Strong north easterly winds did not stop Tony Hargreaves from launching at Clifton Springs early last week, first to catch some squid – which he managed without any difficulty – before heading down toward Point Henry for the evening high tide change: A good move as it turned out for at 5.50 pm his reel howled off heralding the capture of a 7.5 kg snapper, and of which Tony sent in a photo.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that several snapper have been caught off The Springs and among those bag them was Paul Agterhuis who picked up a nice one of 6.1 kg using a pilchard for bait on Saturday.

Squid have been the main catch though, said Mike with Bruce Symonds coaching his granddaughter Hayley on in the art of dodging the ink expelled as these tasty cephalopods are brought aboard.

On Friday evening Kirt Brehan and Brodie Bell took snapper of 3 and 5 kg fishing the edge of the Steampacket Channel in calm conditions off Point Richards. The following day, Andrew Johnson encountered Kirt and his father Noel who suggested the three of them go out to the same area.

A good move as it turned out, for Kirt and Noel anyway, who caught fish of 6.2 and 5.3 kg, Andrew had every opportunity with three good runs, but with no return in the snapper department.

Paul Agterhuis with his 6.1 kg snapper (Picture: Mike Windsor).

Paul Agterhuis with his 6.1 kg snapper (Picture: Mike Windsor).

Zane McCurdy with his and Aaron Habgood’s catch of whiting

Zane McCurdy with his and Aaron Habgood’s catch of whiting

On Sunday evening, Chris Stamalos and Kelvin Maclean fished near the channel junction off Curlewis, initially for a good catch of flathead and a couple of gummy shark, and at 10.30 pm, Chris added a 6.3 kg snapper to their bag.

Snapper seem to be widely distributed: On Wednesday evening, Daniel Curmi and his friend George took three snapper of 7.3, 6.5, and 4 kg. 4.0 kg. It was their first trip for the year and the fish were caught in only three metres of water off Altona.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that during the occasional good spells of weather we’ve had lately, clients have had no trouble catching squid with flathead a good second string to their bow.

Whiting have been good for some, with Steve O’Keefe and his son Finley picking up some nice ones off St Leonards on Saturday evening despite the fairly rough conditions. They also soaked a couple stem jigs baited with Australian salmon and mullet that accounted for several good size squid and a cuttlefish.

The following evening, Steve took his 13 year old daughter Tarni out to the same area where they had no trouble taking bag limit catches of good size whiting using the squid and cuttlefish Steve and Finley caught the previous evening, for bait.

Further south, off the Swan Island grass beds, Daniel Stranger had no trouble finding good size whiting for his clients aboard Gone Fishing Charters, and others caught them here as well: On Sunday evening, Aaron Habgood and Zane McCurdy also took bag limit catches of whiting in more or less the same area.

Aaron has covered a bit of ground lately, recently heading offshore from Portland where he, along with Terry Fulford, Anthony Saric and Nathan Lewis, caught two big tuna, the largest weighing in at 147 kg which would be the biggest fish recently weighed at Portland.

Mark Scholte, Luke Baldasso and Clinton Lesko were also successful last week with a 100 kg bluefin tuna, this time in 64 metres of water south of Lawrence Rock while trolling a green and black Bonze lure.

Ben Mumberson with a sample of the snapper he and two friends caught off West Beach Adelaide while on charter.

Ben Mumberson with a sample of the snapper he and two friends caught off West Beach Adelaide while on charter.

Aaron Pazsa and Andrew Farrugia with their tuna taken off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Aaron Pazsa and Andrew Farrugia with their tuna taken off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

South Oz

Ben Mumberson’s recent fishing charter trip out from West Beach Adelaide in calm conditions with two friends, began with the drama of a great white shark taking their first three snapper. After that, the shark, its hunger obviously satisfied, moved on, allowing them to each boat their bag limit catches, a total of 6 snapper, all over the 10 kg mark.

Luke Baldasso and Clinton Lesko with their tuna taken off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Luke Baldasso and Clinton Lesko with their tuna taken off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Aaron Habgood with his two tuna; 147 and 105 kg, taken off Portland early last week.

Aaron Habgood with his two tuna; 147 and 105 kg, taken off Portland early last week.

Kevin asks:

In a recent discussion, the point was raised that when using threadline reels (egg-beaters), right handed anglers should have the handle on the left side of the reel: Is that correct?

Kevin, threadline reels were initially developed for casting small metal lures, like Devons and spoons, on shallow streams for trout. Changing hands after the cast often allowed the lure to sink to the bottom and become snagged. For this reason, right-handed anglers – those at the top of their game anyway – cast with their right hand and wound with their left hand to retrieve the lure, and left-handed anglers, vice versa.

However, while this principle remains sound in the application of light tackle – whether that be lure fishing in streams for trout or in other forms of finesse fishing – there is probably no disadvantage in changing hands when using the larger threadline reels, particularly when bait-fishing.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

September 21, 2016 by

Gummy chums: (Anticlockwise from left) Eli McCrae, Clint McCrae and Finn Shortman with a sample of their of their gummy shark catch.

Gummy chums: (Anticlockwise from left) Eli McCrae, Clint McCrae and Finn Shortman with a sample of their of their gummy shark catch.

Aaron Degroot with his tuna from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson)

Aaron Degroot with his tuna from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson)

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Hugh Lofting’s fictional children’s book and movie character, Dr Dolittle, who talked to the animals, was by no means unique as Paul Raduka demonstrated before last week’s rain shut most fishing activity down,

A pelican dived on a bait Paul had cast out from the Grammar School Beach and became hooked by the bill. A tug of war could have been disastrous, but after several minutes of gently coaxing the pelican ashore, Paul was able to remove the hook and send the compliant bird on its way, an event witnessed by several bystanders.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that after catching his share of squid, Corey Towers put out a sample for bait and hooked a gummy shark that he estimated at 15 kg. Unfortunately, it escaped beside the boat.

Doug O’Brien and Daniel Benson also took a good catch of squid off The Springs, but the shark they hooked was of the seven-gilled variety that has caused so much fuss lately. It was too big for the boat, said Doug, so they were more than happy to part ways.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that clients Ahmed and Andrew took a bag limit catch of whiting last week, and that squid are there for the taking: Keith Fry and Andrew Phillips took 17 of the tasty cephalopods off here on Sunday evening.

Mark Scholte with yet another big tuna from Portland (Picture: George Hemmings).

Mark Scholte with yet another big tuna from Portland (Picture: George Hemmings).

Amy Jobson and Robert Adamo with their bluefin tuna off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Amy Jobson and Robert Adamo with their bluefin tuna off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Offshore

On Saturday, Clint and Eli McCrae and Finn Shortman, headed out through Port Phillip Heads aboard Gone Fishing Charters with Daniel Stranger. Their initial drop in 27 metres of water produced the first of five good size gummy shark along with several pinkie snapper and squid; all being caught on the heads and leftovers of a salmon catch by fellow column contributor Aaron Habgood.

Fishing down past Anglesea at the weekend, Kevin McLoughlin and Brian Nolan also put out some generous baits of squid and mackerel, and they too were well rewarded with gummy shark from 12 to 16 kg, and a school shark of 20 kg.

Freshwater

Simon Werner and Rod Butcher fished Wurdiboluc Reservoir again on Sunday afternoon where newly released rainbow trout are still a nuisance, taking any bait presented; but they did catch a nice rainbow trout of 1.3 kg on a mudeye.

Mark Stewart with his 100.4 kg tuna.

Mark Stewart with his 100.4 kg tuna.

George Lirantzis with his 130.8 kg tuna from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

George Lirantzis with his 130.8 kg tuna from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Fishing off Portland in the rain on Saturday were Geelong anglers Mark Scholte and George Hemmings who were hoping for yet another big tuna. However, the curtain of rain was an impediment to sighting surface activity; a sure give away to feeding fish.

Never the less, with encouragement from a heads-up on the sounder they persisted, and – at 3.00 pm, and more or less on the tide change – Mark hooked up to a purler from 77 metres of water that Portland contributor Bob McPherson weighed ashore at 125 kg.

Another Geelong angler, Mark Stewart, picked up a lively fish of 100.4 kg on Monday morning which kept him busy for three hours. Unable to get aboard by himself he was assisted by a nearby crew with that final step.

Richard Abela and his crew took another run offshore from Portland early last week, and – as they seem to do regularly – found the tuna off Cape Bridgewater where it was George Lirantzis’ turn in the hot seat with a tuna of 130.8 kg. A second, similar size fish was released. Naturally, others caught them as well, too many to mention in fact as this run of fabulous fish continues.

Marco asks:

Geoff, we went for tuna off Portland recently and lost the only strike we had when the whole wind-on leader and lure disappeared off the line, even though we were only on strike drag: So what could have happened?

Marco, while the standard connecting splice on a wind-on leader has good tensile strength, it is vulnerable to compression, and compression can occur in spades should a hooked fish that is taking line, cause the lure to slide back up to the connecting splice and be struck by another fish. And, as you can imagine, the impact of two big fish going in opposite directions, can easily generate enough compression to disconnect the leader.

The safest approach is to have your lures rigged on shorter traces, say two metres, with a swivel attachment to the wind-on leader. This limits the distance that the lure can travel, keeping it well clear of the leader splice.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

September 14, 2016 by

Double barrel: Nick Lazarevski and his 10 year old son Daniel who caught a potential sub junior, world record bluefin tuna of 116.4 kg and for which a claim has been submitted.

Double barrel: Nick Lazarevski and his 10 year old son Daniel who caught a potential sub junior, world record bluefin tuna of 116.4 kg and for which a claim has been submitted.

Big Red: Edly Rose with his 9.5 kg snapper.

Big Red: Edly Rose with his 9.5 kg snapper.

With several photos of snapper being provided lately, it’s clear that rising water temperatures have livened things up on the Bay. The largest fish portrayed weighed 9.5 kg and was caught by Edly Rose who wouldn’t divulge the location of his catch, but as we all know, there are, or shortly will be, enough to go around.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that among those to catch snapper off Clifton Springs last week was Kirt Behan whose biggest fish weighed 5.5 kg. However, flathead and squid still remain the main chance.

Andrew Johnson fished with Brodie Bell, formerly of Ararat, off The Springs on Saturday where they had no trouble taking bag limit catches of squid on the drift: And on Sunday, Brodie fished with his brother Aiden off St Leonards where they caught 30 whiting, their biggest fish measuring 44 cm.

A good result certainly, but with snapper on the radar, Brodie, along with his father Dennis this time, headed out to one of Andrew’s “never fail” spots near the Wilson Spit where Dennis did indeed catch his first snapper, and which – by all estimates – would have been about 4 kg. They would have stayed out longer, but the wind came up after dark so they did the sensible thing and came back in.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that squid are plentiful and there are some good ones among them.

Among those to take bag limit catches off Indented Head were Jason Treloar and Tony Ingram, who took advantage of Wednesday’s calm weather to drift along with the tide taking squid, large and small on any, and all of the jigs they tried.

Corio Bay

Making an early start on Corio Bay on Wednesday, Tom Robinson and Keith Berry were hoping to catch a snapper or two, but even after finding some promising signals on their sounder they had no takers. However, with surface activity nearby, they settled for Australian salmon to a kilogram which were willing to take any lure presented.

Freshwater

Simon Werner, who – along with son Jayden and friend Rod Butcher – fished Wurdiboluc Reservoir at the weekend, reports that the water level has risen dramatically over the past few weeks. Unfortunately, despite the improved conditions, they were plagued with newly released rainbow trout that devastated their supply of mudeyes, but they did catch a couple of larger specimens that would have weighed a kilogram or so.

Matthew and Phil Britten with a 95.1 kg tuna that took a Rapala X-Rap.

Matthew and Phil Britten with a 95.1 kg tuna that took a Rapala X-Rap.

Joe De Bono and Simon Micallef with their 117 kg bluefin tuna that was taken offshore from Cape Bridgewater.

Joe De Bono and Simon Micallef with their 117 kg bluefin tuna that was taken offshore from Cape Bridgewater.

Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that the recent capture of a 116.4 kg bluefin tuna by 10 year old Daniel Lazarevski, which has been submitted for a sub-junior (small fry) world record claim, was found to be carrying two CSIRO tags.

The information from those tags has now revealed that this tuna was tagged in the Great Australian Bight in early 1991 as a 73 cm juvenile. So, not only was this fish an absolutely remarkable capture for a 10 year old, it now represents a CSIRO record for the length of time that a re-captured bluefin tuna has remained at liberty after being tagged. This indicates that bluefin tuna in the 100 kg range, like those presently being taken off Portland, could be approaching 30 years of age.

Conrad asks:

Geoff, is there anywhere that you would have a reasonable chance of catching a decent snapper land-based near Geelong at this time of year?

Conrad, snapper have been taken from the Geelong Waterfront recently: even from Cunningham Pier. One or two have been taken during the day, but fishing during the late evening or the early morning is usually best.

The rocks below The Esplanade at North Shore are also worth a try, particularly from the structure alongside Lascelles Wharf, an initiative of the North Shore Residents Association, and which – unlike most of that section of shoreline only being accessible at low tide – provides access throughout the tide cycle.

One aspect of land based snapper fishing of which you should be aware, is that snapper move in very close to shore during an onshore blow, and remain in such locations while the water remains discoloured. In these conditions, large snapper may be caught during daylight hours.

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Aaron Habgood with yet another great catch of whiting off Queenscliff.

Aaron Habgood with yet another great catch of whiting off Queenscliff.

Tim Johnson with his 7.5 kg snapper from Corio Bay (Picture: Daniel Johnson).

Tim Johnson with his 7.5 kg snapper from Corio Bay (Picture: Daniel Johnson).


Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Setting out from Clifton Springs on Sunday, Tim and Daniel Johnson, and Callum Olsen, anchored just north of the channel junction off Curlewis where they baited up with pilchards hoping for a snapper.

Callum hooked a seven gilled shark which was cut free near the boat, but then – just as the tide began coming in at around 11.30 am – Tim’s reel sounded the alarm, heralding the capture of a 7.5 kg snapper.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that flathead and squid are still the main catch, but whiting are about as well with clients picking up some nice ones from 8 to 10 metres of water along the edge of the Prince George Bank.

Speaking of whiting, Aaron Habgood and a companion took no prisoners in 6.5 metres of water off the Swan Island grass beds late last week, both returning to Queenscliff with bag limit catches using squid strips for bait.

On Sunday morning, Andrew Phillips and Keith Fry, who were fishing off St Leonards, were both on the verge of their respective bag limits of squid, when Keith realized he was running late for the meal being provided by his progeny on Father’s day, so – with 17 good ones in the fish box – they headed back to the ramp.

Eric Box with his 2.3 kg brown trout from Konongwootong Reservoir (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Eric Box with his 2.3 kg brown trout from Konongwootong Reservoir (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Brian Nolan and Kevin McLoughlin with their 114.5 kg tuna taken offshore from Portland.

Brian Nolan and Kevin McLoughlin with their 114.5 kg tuna taken offshore from Portland.

Freshwater

John Lennon of the Lake Purrumbete caravan park, reports that the lake has produced some nice fish lately:

At around 6.00 pm one night early last week, Travis Beal headed out onto the north side of Lake Purrumbete in his Kayak armed with a supply of bullhead gudgeon for bait that he fished beneath a float. A good move as it turned out for he caught two brown trout; one of 3.8 kg and another of 4.4 kg before returning at around 10.00 pm.

Lake Purrumbete has also produced some respectable chinook salmon as well: Last week, Ivan Radin picked up a beauty of 4.6 kg on a glassie (sandy sprat) suspended just above the bottom in 9 metres of water. Les Broughton was also successful, catching another good size chinook salmon with the same approach.

Trevor Holmes of Victorian Fishing Charters, and Eric Box, headed off to Konongwootong Reservoir near Coleraine last week where the pair fished land based from the lake wall.

Eric, who is no slouch at catching trout despite being 85 years of age, caught a lovely 2.3 kg male brown trout on a mudeye fished on a bubble float rig.

Wurdiboluc reservoir has been a tough nut to crack for most of those fishing here lately, but over the weekend, Michael Evans caught yet another good size redfin from here that measured 47cm and weighed 1.65kg. The lure used was an Ecogear 3” powershad soft plastic.

Alex Guida, John Haddad and Pat Riggerpastore with their double barrel from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Alex Guida, John Haddad and Pat Riggerpastore with their double barrel from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Alex Guida and John Haddad with another 120 kg tuna from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Alex Guida and John Haddad with another 120 kg tuna from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Bob McPherson reports that barrel size tuna are still being caught off Portland with 70 metres of water off Cape Bridgewater being the hottest area.

While the list of successful anglers is far too long for inclusion, Geelong anglers Kevin McLoughlin and Brian Nolan bagged a beauty of 114.5 kg on 15 kg tackle over the weekend. Kevin had the fish to the boat in two hours, and with Brian’s firm grip on the leader, it was game over: And that is saying something considering some heavy tackle encounters have lasted a good deal longer than that.

Steve Raskatos and Dean Oakley with their 98.6 kg tuna (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Steve Raskatos and Dean Oakley with their 98.6 kg tuna (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Zane Ferrugie with his 99 kg tuna (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Zane Ferrugie with his 99 kg tuna (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Ollie asks:

Geoff, are the tides getting higher in the bay or is it just my imagination?

Ollie, you are not alone in making that observation: I retrieved my 2007 tide chart to discover that the highest tide predicted for Port Phillip Heads in September of that year was 1.58 metres at 2.10 am on 30/09/07, and there were 12 tides predicted to fall below 0.20 metres, the lowest being 0.00 metres at 7.58 pm, again on 30/09/07.

Tidal predictions for 2016 list September 21, 22, and 23 as three dates when high tides will reach 1.7 metres, and there are no predictions for any tides to fall below 0.20 metres. So yes, on the basis of that, and the other monthly comparisons I made using my charts, the tidal heights at Port Phillip Heads would seem to have risen appreciably since 2007.

Should all of these tidal predictions originate from the same data, thus validating my comparison – something that a serious examination would verify – then the 2008/09 channel deepening project, during which the Nepean Bank was decimated by the “Queen of the Netherlands” and the ongoing erosion this monstrous ecological vandalism has set in progress, poses a grim warning against any such projects in the future.

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Brian Nolan with the big gummy shark that he tagged and released off Black Rock last week (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Brian Nolan with the big gummy shark that he tagged and released off Black Rock last week (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Aaron Habgood with Sunday’s catch of whiting off Queenscliff.

Aaron Habgood with Sunday’s catch of whiting off Queenscliff.

Offshore

Launching off Torquay last Tuesday night, Kevin McLoughlin, Brian Nolan and Paul Carson headed over to Black Rock where they anchored up in 30 meters of water and put four baits out.

By sundown, they had their first gummy shark aboard which was photographed and released, but their next fish escaped in a tangle of lines. Baiting up with a whiting head heralded an engagement with their final fish; a monster gummy shark of at least 25 kg that was photographed before being tagged and released following a dogged fight.

Robert Adamo and Amy Jobson with their 82 kg tuna (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Robert Adamo and Amy Jobson with their 82 kg tuna (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Damian Spokes, Matthew Hillman and Craig Boam with their 124.6 kg tuna. (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Damian Spokes, Matthew Hillman and Craig Boam with their 124.6 kg tuna. (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

With water temperatures beginning to rise, flathead and snapper are both on the move in Corio Bay’s inner and outer harbours:

On Friday morning, Andrew Johnson and Tony Mollenhauer launched at Clifton Springs hoping to catch a snapper. They first tried the west side of the Wilson Spit where Andrew’s son Tim had recently dropped a good fish, but they had no luck there and moved south to the channel junction off Curlewis where they also drew a blank.

However, it was their next move, which took them closer to Point Henry, where at 12.10 pm; they eventually put a 7.5 kg snapper, which took a pilchard, into the fish box.

Flathead are about and Dean Campbell reports catching couple of nice ones from St Helens. He also sent in a picture of his friend Matt McCarthy with yet another good size specimen from here.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that Mark Ness picked up some nice flathead on Friday, as did Charlie and Justin Schembri from Ballarat who finished up just shy of their respective bag limits.

Squid too have been going well said Mike, with Simon Werner and Jake Callahan taking bag limit catches in four metres of water off The Springs on Sunday; their biggest was over a kilogram with a several others half that size.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head also reports that squid and flathead – some of the latter up to 45 cm – have been the main catch of late with a few whiting coming in from the deeper marks along the edge of the Prince George Bank.

Speaking of whiting, Aaron Habgood was out off Queenscliff again on Sunday, and as usual, picked up a respectable bag of fish from 38 to 48 cm using pipis and squid for bait. These were taken in six metres of water off the Swan Island grass beds during the evening flood tide.

Jim Robinson with one of the chinook salmon he caught from Lake Purrumbete; it weighed 4.2 kg.

Jim Robinson with one of the chinook salmon he caught from Lake Purrumbete; it weighed 4.2 kg.

Freshwater

John Lennon of the Lake Purrumbete caravan park, reports that the lake has produced some nice fish lately:

On Sunday evening at around 6.00 pm, Travis Beal headed out onto the north side of Lake Purrumbete in his Kayak armed with a supply of bullhead gudgeon for bait which he fished beneath a float. A good move as it turned out for he caught two brown trout, one of 3.8 kg and another of 4.4 kg before returning at around 10.00 pm.

Lake Purrumbete has also produced some respectable chinook salmon as well. Jim Robinson of the Bellarine Light Game and Sportfishing Club has caught some beauties, including one of 4.2 kg and of which he sent me a photo.


Eildon ANSA Convention

Geelong’s Bellarine Light Game and Sportfishing Club prevailed in both the senior teams event (282.2 points), and junior teams event (161.3 points) at the ANSA convention at Eildon at the weekend. Winning senior male was Clinton Aydon of Otway Sportfishing Club with 154.54 points and senior female winner was Libby Gibson of Bellarine. Junior male winner was George King of Drysdale Sportfishing Club with 75.55 points and Junior female winner was Ellie Gibson of Bellarine with 107.85 points. Both sub junior male winner Anthony DiSanto, with 80 points, and sub junior female, Teresa DiSanto with 91.65 points were from Southern Boat Fishing Club.

Heaviest carp, 1.87 kg, was taken by Emily Whitford, heaviest golden perch, 1.4 kg, was taken by Clintom Aydon, heaviest brown trout, 2.0 kg was taken by Paul Magnay, and the heaviest rainbow trout, 2.1 kg, was taken by Evan Koka.

Surf

Fishing Bancoora Beach on Saturday evening’s high tide, Tony Ingram caught several salmon better than a kilogram using both lures and cut pilchards for bait toward dark.

Staying on into the night, he sacrificed one of his salmon for bait, hoping to catch a gummy shark or perhaps a mulloway. He had no luck there unfortunately, catching only a skate and a draughtboard shark for his trouble.

Team effort: (clockwise) Richard Abela, Kevin Debono, Jason Tedesco, Nick and Daniel Lazarevski with one of the large tuna they caught west of Cape Bridgewater last week (Picture: Chris Hall).

Team effort: (clockwise) Richard Abela, Kevin Debono, Jason Tedesco, Nick and Daniel Lazarevski with one of the large tuna they caught west of Cape Bridgewater last week (Picture: Chris Hall).

Darren Brosnan caught this butterfly mackerel off Portland: It weighed 37.8 kg last week.

Darren Brosnan caught this butterfly mackerel off Portland: It weighed 37.8 kg last week.


Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that barrel size tuna are still present offshore. Among those to catch them last week were Richard Abela, Kevin Debono, Jason Tedesco and Nick Lazarevski, who – aboard “Dreamcatcher 11” – caught two of 132 and 117 kg: These were taken on Thursday in 50 metres of water to the west of Cape Bridgewater.

Fishing offshore from Portland regularly produces a surprise or two, in this case for Darren Brosnan who caught a butterfly mackerel that weighed 37.8 kg last week.

Michael Purcell with his 90.2 kg tuna taken off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Michael Purcell with his 90.2 kg tuna taken off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Peter Kiploks with his 104.5 kg tuna (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Peter Kiploks with his 104.5 kg tuna (Picture: Bob McPherson).


Steve asks:

Geoff, the current Victorian Government’s Recreation Fishing Guide gives the following bag/possession limits for: Mullet 40, King George whiting 20, Australian salmon 20. So if l were to go fishing by myself and caught 40 mullet, 20 king George whiting and 20 salmon, which is a total of 80 fish, would it be legal to take this catch home?

Steve, I have no accreditation to answer questions on fishing regulations, and Googling “Victorian Fisheries Bag Limits” for an answer was confusing. However, the site provided a recommendation to call 136 186 for clarification on this issue.” I did that, and was put through to Melanie Curtis “Regional Media and Communications Manager,” who – in due course – obtained the following answer to your question from an un-named spokesperson for Fisheries Victoria and who forwarded it to both you and me:

“Thanks for your question regarding bag and possession limits for fish species in Victoria. Each of the limits set apply to individual species of fish. Therefore yes, you may retain the bag limit for more than one species.”

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Lucky Strike: The columnist with his snapper.

Lucky Strike: The columnist with his snapper.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Offshore

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

Freshwater

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jason Cormio with his 81 kg tuna.

Jason Cormio with his 81 kg tuna.


Portland

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

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

John asks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surf

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

Freshwater

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

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

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

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

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

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

Portland

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

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

James asks:

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

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

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

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

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


Bellarine Peninsula/Corio Bay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freshwater

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

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

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

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

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

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

Portland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upstate

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

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

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

Bernie asks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bellarine Peninsula/Corio Bay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freshwater

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

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

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

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

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

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

Portland

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

Alex Crunn with his silver trevally from Cairns.

Alex Crunn with his silver trevally from Cairns.

Upstate

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

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

Bree asks:

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

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

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

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

Bellarine Peninsula

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

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

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

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

Barwon Estuary

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

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

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

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

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

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

Offshore

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

Freshwater

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

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

Portland

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

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

Martial Mantis Shrimp (Photo: Blair Patullo).

Martial Mantis Shrimp (Photo: Blair Patullo).

Martial Mantis Shrimp (Photo: Blair Patullo).

Martial Mantis Shrimp (Photo: Blair Patullo).

Roland asks:

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

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

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

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

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