Geoff’s Fishing Report

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

Offshore

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

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

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

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

Freshwater

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Mifsud, Darren McMahon and Andrew Scilluna with the 68 kg tuna that they caught offshore from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Chris Mifsud, Darren McMahon and Andrew Scilluna with the 68 kg tuna that they caught offshore from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Gone Fishing Charters client, David Li, with a sample of their day’s tuna catch off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson.
Gone Fishing Charters client, David Li, with a sample of their day’s tuna catch off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson.


Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

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

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

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

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

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

Aaron Habgood with one of the Gummy Shark he caught from Bass Strait at the weekend (Picture: Aaron Habgood)
Aaron Habgood with one of the Gummy Shark he caught from Bass Strait at the weekend (Picture: Aaron Habgood)
Michael Goldby with a sample of his and Bob McPherson’s blue eye trevalla catch (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Michael Goldby with a sample of his and Bob McPherson’s blue eye trevalla catch (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Offshore

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

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

It’s a dog eat dog world out there as revealed by the bite taken from this gemfish by one of its own kind (Picture: Bob McPherson).
It’s a dog eat dog world out there as revealed by the bite taken from this gemfish by one of its own kind (Picture: Bob McPherson).
George Gereige with a 14.1 kg pink ling that he caught out wide from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
George Gereige with a 14.1 kg pink ling that he caught out wide from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).


Andrew Asks:

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

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

Geoff’s Fishing Report

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

Portland

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

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

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

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

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


Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Offshore

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

Mark asks:

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

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

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

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

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Marcus Pearson and Josh Lalic with the 94 kg mako shark (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).
Marcus Pearson and Josh Lalic with the 94 kg mako shark (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Offshore

On Wednesday night, Kevin McLoughlin, Marcus Pearson and Josh Lalic fished offshore from Port Fairy hoping for a shark. The moon had set by around 1.00 am, so it was totally dark when at 3.00 am, their 15 kg outfit screamed off, heralding a three hour battle with a 94 kg mako shark that did not end until daybreak.

Matt Wright and Aaron Habgood with their whiting catch off St Leonards (Picture: Aaron McLoughlin).
Matt Wright and Aaron Habgood with their whiting catch off St Leonards (Picture: Aaron McLoughlin).
Well taken: Cricket legend Merv Hughes with a nice chinook salmon from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).
Well taken: Cricket legend Merv Hughes with a nice chinook salmon from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

It had been a couple of weeks since Andrew Phillips and his companion George Uranus had caught snapper in their favourite possie off Point Wilson, despite putting in several trips with gummy shark the only catch, but that all changed on Wednesday evening.

They were anchored up by 4.00 pm but there wasn’t much doing until 6.30 when George caught a 6.5 kg snapper; Andrew followed that with another that weighed 4.2 kg. They fished until 9.30 or so, but the only additional catch was a gummy shark of 5.5 kg.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that fishing has been slow of late with a lot of floating seagrass, but good size flathead are still on offer with Dave Rasmussen and Ralph Allen catching them to 40 cm just offshore from the boat ramp.

Tib Polgar has been on the job as well, catching squid in much the same area with some good ones mong them. However, whiting have been scarce lately said Mike with only a handful of anglers catching them.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that whiting catches have increased, and among those to catch them were Jeff Richards and Ken Shae, who fished the afternoon flood in 4 metres of water off Indented Heads early last week.

Aaron Habgood and Matt Wight also took bag limit catches of St Leonards during the week using pipis and squid for bait.

Ryan Booth caught these flathead, measuring from 35 to 51 cm from the Barwon Estuary just downstream from the Barwon Heads Bridge over the weekend.
Ryan Booth caught these flathead, measuring from 35 to 51 cm from the Barwon Estuary just downstream from the Barwon Heads Bridge over the weekend.

Three year old Murray Booth with the redfin he caught on a Celta lure while fishing with his father Ryan at Queens Park on the Barwon River on Saturday.
Three year old Murray Booth with the redfin he caught on a Celta lure while fishing with his father Ryan at Queens Park on the Barwon River on Saturday.

Freshwater

“Fishing against the odds”, a competitive event held at Ballarat’s Lake Wendouree on Saturday, was a fundraiser for a rare medical condition known as amyloidosis. Alan Grieg, who has suffered this affliction for two years, and – despite a grave diagnosis eighteen months ago – is still with us and fished in the event, taking a 51 cm brown trout.

Heaviest fish, a brown trout measuring 57 cm was taken by Ben Young; runner up was Craig Matthews with a brown of 54 cm followed by Tim Beusman with another brown of 52 cm. Other meritorious captures included a 2.2 kg redfin taken by Andrew Lee Christoforou.

While filming an episode of cricket legend Merv Hughes’ fishing show at Lake Bullen Merri last week – episodes of which may be viewed on TV Channel One HD – Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters saw Merv take another good catch – of chinook salmon on this occasion – that was seduced by a rainbow-coloured Rapala shad dancer.

On Friday afternoon, Ryan Booth and his three year old son Murray, fished the Barwon River near the Queens Park, Bridge, and using corn for bait, they were hoping for a carp. There wasn’t much doing there though, so they broke out the lures and, with a combined effort, caught eight redfin to 38 cm with a Celta doing the damage.

On Saturday, the pair launched their tinny from the Sheepwash boat ramp on high slack water, and fishing just downstream from the Barwon Heads Bridge, they caught five flathead from 31 to 51 cm and several small, but legal size, Australian salmon using cut pilchards for bait.

Portland angler, Bob McPherson, of gets some hands-on instruction from Master Chief star Justine Schofield on preparing the catch.
Portland angler, Bob McPherson, of gets some hands-on instruction from Master Chief star Justine Schofield on preparing the catch.
Tony Thurgood with his tuna (Bob McPherson)
Tony Thurgood with his tuna (Bob McPherson)

Portland

The Portland tuna competition, which is held over four weekends, commenced on Saturday with Tony Jones of Hamilton catching the biggest tuna of 18.1 kg which enriched him to the tune of $500.00 in prize money. Runner up was Tony Thurgood whose largest fish was only slightly smaller.

Bill asks:

Geoff, last Wednesday evening (05/04/17), my friend and I were fishing for whiting about one kilometre offshore from the St Leonards Yacht Club, along with about 20 other trailer boats, when a large green, commercially registered boat, with netting clearly visible from its boom, anchored among us and remained there until we left just after 8.00 pm.

I have no doubt they would have netted all of the whiting that area after we had all left. So, exactly when will commercial netting cease on the Bay?

Bill, commercial netting in Port Phillip Bay is to cease by April 1st, 2022 and in Corio Bay by April 1st, 2018. It is one of the measures undertaken in our State Government’s $46 million plan for recreational fishing, which aims to grow participation to one million anglers by 2020.” http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/fisheries/recreational-fishing/target-one-million

Most commercial PPB operators have already cashed in their netting entitlements, taking advantage of our State’s compensation packages that are to diminish in value on a sliding scale over the intervening period.

However, it is my understanding that those retaining their netting licenses in the interim now have to inform Fisheries Victoria of their catch on a daily basis and are subject to strict catch quotas.

Geoff’s Fishing report

Sam Donaldson with his 102 cm Murray Cod (Picture: Sam Donaldson).
Sam Donaldson with his 102 cm Murray Cod (Picture: Sam Donaldson).

With the Loddon River at Bridgewater, high and discoloured following recent rain, Loddon Lures proprietor, Sam Donaldson of St Arnaud – a fanatical Murray cod fishing enthusiast – was by no means confident of success, even after remodelling his tried and true spinnerbait with a high visibility, fluoro chartreuse, blade and skirt.

Never the less, he persistently cast his lure toward promising hideouts until he, not only caught a cod, but from a quick measurement of 102 cm, it was the biggest he’d ever caught from there, and – after taking a selfie of himself and the cod – he released it.

Redfin are still the main catch at Lake Purrumbete, said John Clements who fished for an hour or so with Mick Giles of Bannockburn at the weekend for 81 reddies, while others also did well.

Lake Bullen Merri is still producing chinook salmon to 2 kg or so, both for anglers using lures and fishing with bait; among the most successful were Bruce and Riley Morrison from Geelong.

Matt Kincaid with two of the four snapper that he and Danny Skene caught off Point Richards in Port Phillip Bay on Thursday night (Picture: Danny Skene).
Matt Kincaid with two of the four snapper that he and Danny Skene caught off Point Richards in Port Phillip Bay on Thursday night (Picture: Danny Skene).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

With a break in the weather, fishing legend Danny Skene, took workmate Matt Kincaid out for a run off Point Richards on Thursday night, hoping for a snapper. They caught four as it turned out, the biggest just on 7 kg; all caught on pilchards.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire, reports that a variety of fish have been caught off The Springs including gummy shark and whiting.

Andrew Phillips and Ivan Mitrov were amongst those to catch the gummies, boating one of 4.5 and another of 5.2 kg, while fishing with squid strips on circle hooks off Point Wilson on Sunday morning.

On Friday Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien launched at Clifton Springs, and eventually found a good patch of whiting in 4 metres of water, almost directly north of the boat ramp, the biggest just shy of 43 cm,.

Early last week, they tried for whiting off St Leonards on the last of the ebb tide, which is usually a good time, but – apart from catching a couple of good size fish first up – there wasn’t much doing. However, that all changed on the incoming tide when they took a total of 31 fish to 41 cm on cocktails of pipi and squid.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire reports that squid, whiting and pinkies were caught last week with Indented Head regulars Angela and Con bagging out on whiting in 4 metres of water last Wednesday during the last hour of daylight. Also successful were Tony Parcoll and partner Sue, who caught 26 good ones on Thursday evening.

Rod also mentions that both the pier and breakwater at Portarlington, and the St Leonard Pier, have also been producing whiting, pinkies and squid, which is encouraging for those on school holidays.

George Gereige with a sample of the gemfish that he and Bob McPherson caught offshore from Portland at the weekend (Picture: Bob McPherson).
George Gereige with a sample of the gemfish that he and Bob McPherson caught offshore from Portland at the weekend (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Adam Nikolovski with a gummy shark that he caught off St Leonards (Picture: Renae Ciuffetelli).
Adam Nikolovski with a gummy shark that he caught off St Leonards (Picture: Renae Ciuffetelli).


Offshore

Fishing offshore from Lorne at the weekend, Simon Werner reports that slimy mackerel were in dense shoals, but apart from those, there wasn’t much excitement, except for seeing a large thresher shark become airborne as it tore through the mackerel shoals nearby.

Bob McPherson reports that tuna are still about off Portland, but have thinned out somewhat from previous weeks. However, despite a fairly heavy ground swell, he and George Gereige fished out wide from Portland, and as usual, their catch included gemfish and blue eye trevalla.

Kiong Wong with his prize winning whiting (Picture: Peninsula Whiting Classic).
Kiong Wong with his prize winning whiting (Picture: Peninsula Whiting Classic).

Classic catches

The 2017 Bellarine Whiting Classic – hosted by the St Leonards and Bellarine Pirates Angling Clubs, Western Beach Fishing, and Leopold Angling and Aquatic Clubs – was won by Kiong Wong, who not only caught the heaviest whiting of 560 grams, but his Tag took out the $500 cash prize: Kiong cleaned up in the raffle as well.

The heaviest bag of 5 whiting weighed 2.185 kg and was taken by John Kompa of Werribee. Shane Gordon followed with 2.08 kg and Noel Behan came third with 1.99 kg. Heaviest junior’s bag weighed 1.48 kg and was taken by Brandon Scaffidi.

Ken asks:

Geoff, I fish land based, and while I have had some success at Western Port, my repeated trips to St Helens have produced nothing. Where could I catch some fish around Geelong?

Ken, the Sheepwash area of the Barwon Estuary is fishing well at the moment, particularly following either tide change, both of which occur at similar times to those predicted for Geelong wharves.

You should be able to catch silver trevally, small but legal size Australian salmon, and mullet, on your light tackle using whitebait, pipis or pilchard fillets for bait.

Catching a mulloway is always possible on your heavier tackle, and elephant fish are about as well. Baits for these larger species include live mullet, or the fillets thereof, along with garfish and squid, both of which are also good baits, provided they are fresh.

There are jetties along Riverside Drive between Sheepwash Road and the Sheepwash boat ramp, as well as several areas along the bank, in either direction from Sheepwash Road, where you can fish as well.

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Henry and Sophia Jankowski with the gummy shark they caught near the West Channel (Picture: Warren Jankowski).
Henry and Sophia Jankowski with the gummy shark they caught near the West Channel (Picture: Warren Jankowski).
Nick Tsavaris with one of the two gummy sharks that he caught of St Leonards (Picture: Renae Ciuffetelli).
Nick Tsavaris with one of the two gummy sharks that he caught of St Leonards (Picture: Renae Ciuffetelli).

With good weather on Saturday afternoon, Warren Jankowski, wife Pip, daughter Sophia 4, and son Henry 7, headed across to the West Channel from Queenscliff where, fishing on the drift, they caught four flathead and six squid.

Anchoring up nearby, and sacrificing one of their squid for bait in the hope of a bigger catch, it soon became clear that young Henry needed assistance to bring in the fish he’d hooked, which eventually turned out to be a hefty gummy shark; an exciting event for all.

Dean and Keryn Millard with a sample of their offshore catch (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Dean and Keryn Millard with a sample of their offshore catch (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Michael Golby with yet another blue eye trevalla (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Michael Golby with yet another blue eye trevalla (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Never shy about revealing the location of their late night snapper vigils on Corio Bay’s outer harbour, Andrew Phillips and George Uranus had seen very few boats out at night.

However, their arrival at the Clifton Springs boat ramp at around 1.00 am on Sunday, revealed several trailers in the parking lot, and – judging by the clearly visible anchor lights on their approach to “ground zero” – they had company.

The pair caught a snapper each – one of 4.2 kg and the other weighing 5 kg – using silver whiting for bait, before heading back to the ramp at about 5.00 am. If any others were successful, they certainly weren’t telling.

Fishing the Dell off Clifton Springs, after many a move early last week without finding a decent fish, Andrew Johnson finally took a bag limit catch on strips of squid, and – with a squid jig suspended just above the bottom – picked up a half dozen of those as well.

However, fortunes do change, for on Friday, he tried again with son Daniel, but – probably due to the discoloured water from the rain – they struggled to pick up a fish.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that anglers’ bags have included some respectable pinkie snapper of late. They’ve been a welcome sign said Mike, along with the flounder being speared in significant number by folk wading the shallows at night.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that squid remain the main catch, but some good catches of pinkie snapper and whiting have also been taken. Among the successful anglers on the whiting was David Mossop with bag of fish to 44 cm.

Adam Nikolovski and Renae Ciuffetelli made an early start off St Leonards over the weekend, and were on the drift for squid by first light: Successfully as it turned out for they soon had enough squid for the table, and for bait.

Taking a run into deeper water, and baiting up with some of their freshly caught squid, they added a 5 kg gummy shark to their bag. Fishing nearby was friend Nick Tsavaris, who caught two gummy sharks, each about the same size as Adam’s.

There are salmon a plenty just outside the Portland harbour, and on the cleaning tables (Picture: Bob McPherson).
There are salmon a plenty just outside the Portland harbour, and on the cleaning tables (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Peter Paterakis with his catch off Portland, which included a 10 kg blue eye trevalla (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Peter Paterakis with his catch off Portland, which included a 10 kg blue eye trevalla (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Offshore

Fishing offshore from Port Phillip Heads in 40 metres of water, the salmon fillet that Andrew Habgood had out for bait under a balloon produced a mako shark of about 20 kg.

Also in 40 metres of water, but off Torquay, Kevin and Jeremy McLoughlin were catching any amount of slimy mackerel, and put one out on a 10 kg outfit.

Whatever took the bait had Jeremy in action for more than an hour and a half, but when they sighted the protagonist, a bronze whaler over 250 kg, they ceased the engagement.

Luis Elgueta junior with his brown trout from Lake Fyans (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).
Luis Elgueta junior with his brown trout from Lake Fyans (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Freshwater

Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters, reports fishing Lake Fyans with Luis Elgueta and his son Luis Junior on Saturday, with small redfin the main catch.

However, the sight of a good size brown trout taking a moth from the surface nearby prompted the presentation of a mudeye under a bubble float with young Luis on strike. And the strike saw Luis catch his first brown trout; a 54 cm beauty of about 2 kg.

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that members of the Lake Purrumbete Angling Club fished Lake Bullen Merri where the largest fish, a chinook salmon of 1.7 kg, was taken by Rob Helms. Steven Hille and Russell Pickett took up the slack with a mixed bag of both brown and rainbow trout, and a chinook salmon of 1.5 kg. These were taken on various lures trolled behind downriggers.

John fished Lake Purrumbete with his brother in law, Neville Mangan from Swan Hill at the weekend, for a total catch of 30 redfin to 1 kg using minnow for bait.

Dean and Keryn Millard with a sample of their offshore catch (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Dean and Keryn Millard with a sample of their offshore catch (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Peter asks:
Geoff, how do you work out the tides for Barwon Heads? On Sunday it was supposed to be low at 3.20 but it just kept running out for ages after that: Can you clear this up for me?

Peter; I suggest that the predicted times of high and low water at the Barwon Heads Bridge, would not have been adjusted to daylight saving, nor would they have related to either high or low slack water; events that most folk regard as high or low tide.

Adjusted for daylight saving, the predicted time of low water at the Barwon Heads Bridge would have been 4.20 pm. However, the time of low slack water is – depending on the amount of fresh water coming downstream – usually two hours later than that, and later still if the amount of downstream fresh is greater than usual. Typically, you would add yet another hour to the Bridge time for the Sheepwash, and at least another hour for the mouth of Lake Connewarre upstream.

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Fergus Preston with his 118 cm Murray cod from the Ovens River (Picture: Ben Stephenson).
Fergus Preston with his 118 cm Murray cod from the Ovens River (Picture: Ben Stephenson).

Freshwater

Fishing the Ovens River near Wangaratta last week, Fergus Preston, along with friends Ben and John Stephenson, had already caught and released several Murray cod when Fergus’ “Topwater” lure was smashed at the surface by a much larger fish.

After a dogged fight, the protagonist turned out to be a 118 cm Murray cod that was weighed in the net at 30 kg, and released after Ben took a photo or two.

With Lake Bullen Merri producing chinook salmon to 3 kg, John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park, fished there with Bill Zahra last week, and with pilchards and whitebait suspended just above the bottom, took bag limit catches of these beauties.

John also fished Lake Purrumbete with his brother in law, Neville Mangan from Swan Hill at the weekend, for a total catch of more than 200 redfin to 1.1 kg; releasing the small ones.

Linda Stewart with the kingfish she caught offshore from Black Rock on Sunday (Picture: Murray Stewart).
Linda Stewart with the kingfish she caught offshore from Black Rock on Sunday (Picture: Murray Stewart).
Jeremy McLoughlin with a nice gummy shark that he caught offshore from Barwon Heads on Sunday (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).
Jeremy McLoughlin with a nice gummy shark that he caught offshore from Barwon Heads on Sunday (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Offshore

Hopeful of catching a shark in 30 metres of water off Black Rock on Sunday, Murray Stewart and wife Linda missed a couple of chances. Never the less, they caught plenty of slimy mackerel that had schooled up under the boat while being harassed by kingfish, one of which Linda caught, and which measured 75 cm.

Fishing in 30 metres of water, but off Barwon Heads on Sunday, Scott Smith was also hopeful of catching a shark; not in vain either, for his catch included a 60 kg thresher that gave him quite a tussle.

Michael Goldby with one of the blue eye trevalla that he, Bob McPherson, and Lockie Wombell, caught off Portland over the weekend (Picture Bob McPherson).
Michael Goldby with one of the blue eye trevalla that he, Bob McPherson, and Lockie Wombell, caught off Portland over the weekend (Picture Bob McPherson).
Trevor Muller of Webbcon Marine in Horsham with one of the tuna that he and Trevor Holmes caught on charter with Matthew Hunt off Portland last Tuesday (Victorian Inland Charters).
Trevor Muller of Webbcon Marine in Horsham with one of the tuna that he and Trevor Holmes caught on charter with Matthew Hunt off Portland last Tuesday (Victorian Inland Charters).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Launching at Clifton Springs late on Tuesday evening, Andrew Phillips and George Uranus were keen to fish the low tide change due around midnight, and that’s when they caught their first fish; a snapper of 5.8 kg.

Still in their favourite spot, which is about halfway between the channel junction off Curlewis and the end of the Point Wilson Pier, they caught a second, slightly smaller snapper. After that though – and probably due to the amount of berley they’d distributed – they were pestered by small gummy sharks until they left at around 2.00 am.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that pinkie snapper to a kilogram or so have been well represented in angler’s bags along with good size squid and some nice whiting.

Among those to be successful here were Jeff Richards and Ken Shae, who on Sunday afternoon, caught nineteen squid and one cuttlefish before settling in at anchor for an evening’s catch of 22 whiting, the biggest measuring 44 cm.

Mackey Street platform closure

The breakwater and jetty infrastructure below the end of Mackey Street, North Geelong (between St Helens and the wheat silos), and which is a favoured fishing area, will be closed from March 23 until April 7.

This area is to temporarily serve as depot for the storage of limestone, acquired for building an artificial reef on the Wilson Spit as a nursery for the once plentiful, but now endangered, native oyster: Hopefully, to restore that species’ former abundance.

Upper Stony Creek Reservoir

Number one Stony Creek Reservoir – which is on the eastern side of the Geelong Ballan Road at Durdidwarrah, some 40 kilometres from Geelong – has been stocked with trout, both browns and rainbows, and was opened to fishing along its eastern bank some months ago: As a result, patronage by anglers is increasing.

Unfortunately, illegal activities in the vicinity, which include vandalism, the lighting of fires and the dumping of litter, has resulted in a request that legitimate users of this water inform the EPA of any such offences on http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/get-involved/report-litter or by calling 1300 372 842.

Brittany Bourke, a prize winner in the previous Whiting Classic.
Brittany Bourke, a prize winner in the previous Whiting Classic.

Whiting Classic

The Bellarine Whiting Classic – hosted by the St Leonards and Bellarine Pirates Angling Clubs, Western Beach Fishing, and Leopold Angling and Aquatic Clubs – is to run from Saturday March 25th till Sunday April 2nd (eight days), with valuable prizes to be won.

Competitors weighing fish in during the first week of the competition – from Saturday 25th till Friday March 31st – must call one of the following officials beforehand; preferably between 6.30 and 8.30 pm:

· Jim for St Helens 0409 864 172.

· Ivan for Limeburners Point 0414 599 363.

· Bruce for Clifton Springs 0428 988 898.

· Phil for St Leonards 0411 215 146.

Weigh-ins on Saturday April 1st will be at the Clifton Springs boat ramp from 9.00am to 11.30am, and at the St Leonards boat ramp from 12.30pm to 2.30pm. The final weigh-in, on Sunday, April 2nd will be at the Clifton Springs boat ramp from 10.00 am until 1.00 pm. Presentations will then follow from 2.00 pm. For more information, call Phil on 0411 215 146 or email secretary.fish@bigpond.com


Harley asks:

I’ve been trying to catch mulloway from the Barwon estuary for a long time but the tides are normally too strong and weed always catches on my line: Any tips?

Harley, recent mulloway catches have been between the Sheepwash boat ramp and the series of S-bends upstream locally known as the Thunderbolt.

I suggest that fishing either tide change during the slower tidal sequences preceding both the new and full moons – and which will occur over this coming weekend – are not only easier to fish, but are the most productive as well.

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Saturday double: Thirteen year old Brooklyn Erard and father Col Erard with the gummy shark and snapper they caught offshore from the Mountain View Quarries on Saturday (Picture: Malcolm Erard).
Saturday double: Thirteen year old Brooklyn Erard and father Col Erard with the gummy shark and snapper they caught offshore from the Mountain View Quarries on Saturday (Picture: Malcolm Erard).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Collan Erard, along with his brother Malcolm and 13 year old son Brooklyn, launched from St Helens early on Saturday morning hoping to pick up a gummy shark or two, just as his father Ernie and brother Malcolm had done the previous day while fishing offshore from the Mountain View Quarries.

Thirteen year old Brooklyn was first cab off the rank when at 8.30, he hooked a gummy shark that later weighed 4 kg. All was quiet for a while after that, but then, Col caught a 7.5 kg snapper which put a smile on all of their faces.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that pinkie snapper have also been about and among those to catch them was Stuart O’Brien who caught seven to 45 cm in 3.5 metres of water just out from the boat ramp along with ten squid.

Flathead remain the main chance though said Mike, with Gary Adams and Graeme Schultz taking 24 in the deeper water out toward the channel.

Whiting have been present too, but not in their former numbers. However, dedicated whiting enthusiasts, Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien – who made an early start on Friday morning – eventually picked up 34 good size fish, the biggest nudging 43 cm; but they didn’t come on the bite until the tide began running off in the early afternoon.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that a variety of fish are being caught, with pinkie snapper to a kilogram among them. However, an abundance of good size squid has presently created the most interest.

Jeff Richards and Ken Shae were among those to do well on the squid, each taking their respective bag limits in two hours or so while fishing over the Prince George Bank near Dead Man’s Stick.

Jeremy McLoughlin with the Mako shark he caught last week (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).
Jeremy McLoughlin with the Mako shark he caught last week (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Offshore

Taking a run offshore from Torquay on Friday morning, Kevin McLoughlan and brother Jeremy began a drift in 60 metres of water where they hoped to catch a shark. Not in vain as it turned out for Jeremy’s balloon soon popped, heralding a battle with a lively 25 kg mako.

Barwon estuary

Harley Griffiths and Stanley Owen took the trouble to catch several squid for bait before settling in on the Barwon estuary during the last trickle of the outgoing tide toward evening, just as they did two weeks previous when they caught two mulloway.

While one can never rely on past experience, it paid off with interest on this occasion, for by nightfall they’d caught four mulloway, the biggest nudging 90 cm.

Freshwater

Fishing Lake Purrumbete recently, Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters, along with Ben Young from Ballarat, found the fishing slower than usual with a respectable catch of redfin to 38 cm saving the day once more.

One of the salmon Bob McPherson caught outside the Portland Harbour last week (Picture: Bob McPherson).
One of the salmon Bob McPherson caught outside the Portland Harbour last week (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that Australian salmon, some approaching the 3 kg mark have been plentiful just outside the Portland Harbour.

Trolling a small rubber occy skirt will elicit strike after strike, said Bob, which is handy should you need some for fresh bait. And that’s what Bob used his for, taking a respectable catch of blue eye trevalla, blue grenadier and gemfish over the offshore marks he finds so productive.

Clint Asks:

Geoff, I am a little confused about setting the drag on my reel. Someone told me it should be at one third the breaking strain of my line, but that seems far too high. Can you suggest how to go about it?

Clint, drag settings that are based on a proportion of the line’s breaking only apply to designated I.G.F.A. line class tackle. Drag settings for ordinary fishing should be sufficiently high enough to put a good working curve in your rod and that’s all.

Should you want to know how much tension is required to do that, you will need to put your rod in a holder with the line threaded through your guides and attached to a spring balance. Then, you can draw off some line while watching the reading on your spring balance, adjusting your drag until you understand how much tension is required to put a good working curve in your rod

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Jeremy McLoughlin with the tuna he caught offshore from the Black Rock outfall (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).
Jeremy McLoughlin with the tuna he caught offshore from the Black Rock outfall (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Offshore

Kevin McLoughlin, and his brother Jeremy, were fishing offshore from the Black Rock outfall site last week with not much doing when a shoal of tuna that were rippling on the surface nearby caught their attention.

With no lures aboard, or any other suitable tackle, Kevin rigged a strip of squid as a troll-bait on a snapper outfit and headed toward the tuna with Jeremy on strike … And that strike heralded a 45 minute battle ending with the capture of a bluefin tuna they estimated to be at least 22 kg.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Making an early start from Clifton Springs on Friday morning in a fairly stiff southerly breeze, snapper specialists Andrew Phillips and George Uranus anchored up about halfway between the channel junction off Curlewis and the Point Wilson pier.

Their first fish, a snapper of about 5 kg, was aboard by first light closely followed by another slightly smaller. Things went quiet after that though, but an hour or so after sunrise, they hooked another good size fish that came thrashing to the surface followed by a very large bronze whaler that left no change from that transaction.

Also out early on Friday morning were Andrew Johnson and son Tim who tried off Point Richards, and – apart from losing a good fish on a whole silver whiting – all they caught were several snapper around the kilogram mark, all of which they released. However, moving closer in, they found a good patch of squid and caught a dozen or so of those.

The following day, Andrew, this time with Tony Mollenhaur, found a good patch of whiting more or less straight out from the Clifton Springs boat ramp and caught 26, their bigger fish measuring up to 42 cm, before calling it a day.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire reports that anglers drifting for flathead along the edge of the Prince George Bank have been picking legal size pinkie snapper, and quite a few of them.

Squid are still the main chance off Indented Head though said Rod, with some good ones among them: And, among those to take these succulent cephalopods were Ken Shae and Jeff Richards who bagged out on two occasions last week, keeping their landing net on stand-by the whole time because of their size.

Whiting have been scarce around the Bellarine Peninsula over the past few weeks, but Daniel Stranger and Troy Gundry managed respectable catch – with a good many over the 40 cm mark – in around 6 metres of water off the Swan Island grass beds at Queenscliff.

Ben Young with a chinook salmon of 1.7 kg from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).
Ben Young with a chinook salmon of 1.7 kg from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).


Freshwater

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that fishing was slow on the lake last week, but some good fish were caught.

Redfin are still the main chance at Lake Purrumbete said John, and among those to catch them was Brett Harding from Bannockburn who picked up a respectable bag of fish to 39 cm.

Michael Jones of Benalla caught a 3.12 kg rainbow trout from the lake, trolling a Tassie Devil behind a downrigger at a depth of 13 metres, and Stephen Cockburn of Mount Gambier caught a 6.3 kg chinook salmon from the lake, also on a Tassie Devil.

Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters and Ben Young fished Lake Bullen Merri for 30 chinook salmon to 1.7 kg over the weekend, all of which they released, both on bait and on various lures.

The travel Oz crew filming the seals at Lady Julia Percy Island.
The travel Oz crew filming the seals at Lady Julia Percy Island.
Travel Oz presenter Greg Grainger looks pleased with the bluefin tuna he caught while out with Bob McPherson off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Travel Oz presenter Greg Grainger looks pleased with the bluefin tuna he caught while out with Bob McPherson off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Down Portland way Bob McPherson’s entourage included Travel Oz presenter Greg Grainger along with TV camera crew Harley Rossetto and Daniel Gregson in an offshore exposé of Portland’s potential offshore tourism attractions.

Bob reckons it was pretty rough, but they did find the tuna, and in the lee of Lady Percy Island where the water was much calmer, they found seals aplenty, burning plenty of footage there.

Bob McPherson fished calmer waters over the weekend for a mixed bag of whiting and scad (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Bob McPherson fished calmer waters over the weekend for a mixed bag of whiting and scad (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Ronald asks:

Geoff, I recently caught an 86.5 cm, 8.2 kg snapper from Corio Bay: How old would that fish be?

Ronald, the aging of snapper may be determined by sectioning the otoliths (ear bones) and counting the growth rings, or by counting the growth rings on the scales. Having used a slide projector to do the latter, I can tell you that one fish that I caught, and of the weight you mention, had twenty two growth rings indicating it was twenty two years old.

However, growth rates of snapper are variable and this variability is most significant with the largest specimens among which the ages of comparable size fish have varied by close to a decade: Some of the larger fish aged in Victoria have been close to 40 years old.

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Rob Rees with his 5.68 kg chinook salmon from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).
Rob Rees with his 5.68 kg chinook salmon from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Freshwater

Fishing Lake Purrumbete with clients Rod Rees and Reg Mallet last week, Trevor Holmes of Inland Fishing Charters counted their redfin catch at 49 during a lull in proceedings, and decided on fifty before going in; but the bite had obviously finished.

Then Rod, who was jigging a J Huddle Fish Arrow just above the bottom, hooked something much bigger than a redfin: And, it took quite some time for him to bring the protagonist, a chinook salmon that later weighed 5.68 kg, alongside.

On Friday evening, Gordon Thompson – who was also fishing on the lake – picked up an even bigger chinook of 7.7 kg that took a glassie (sandy sprat) suspended just above the bottom.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that flathead and whiting have been on offer with Graeme Gittens, along with Matthew and Peter Drayton, picking up flathead to 35 cm off Point Wilson, while Ryan Grinter caught 20 whiting to 40 cm off The Springs.

On Friday morning, Andrew Johnson and David Walder, eventually found a pod of good size of whiting in five metres of water off the first set of jetty ruins to the right of the Clifton Springs boat ramp and caught 30 using squid for bait.

The were followed in by Corey Laux and Aaron Butters who’d gone to the trouble of pumping a good supply of Bass yabbies for bait, with a similar catch from Curlewis.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that although whiting have been scarce, client Gerard Rapinett and his friends caught 30 fish to 40 cm using pipis for bait over the weekend.

Martin de Lange with a sample of his bream catch from the Barwon estuary.
Martin de Lange with a sample of his bream catch from the Barwon estuary.


Barwon estuary

With last week’s rising tide trickling in on dark, Harley Griffiths and Stanley Owen where soaking strips from the fresh squid they’d caught earlier that day, hoping for a mulloway from the Sheepwash: They caught two as it turned out, both around the 6 kg mark.

Also successful on the Barwon estuary was Martin de Lange who was rewarded with four bream to a kilogram or so and several mullet, all being taken on sandworm.

Patrick Dangerfield and Aaron Habgood with Patrick’s bronze whaler (Picture Aaron Habgood)
Patrick Dangerfield and Aaron Habgood with Patrick’s bronze whaler (Picture Aaron Habgood)

Offshore

Aaron Habgood took some great catches of whiting in 6 metres of water off the Swan Island grass beds last week, but he also spent some time fishing offshore from Port Phillip Heads. Out here, he rounded up a couple of bronze whalers well over the 100 kg mark, one for Geelong Cat’s champion Patrick Dangerfield who also enjoys fishing.

A sample from Bob McPherson’s whiting catch from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
A sample from Bob McPherson’s whiting catch from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Bob McPherson reports that several medium size kingfish were caught from the Lee Breakwater near the tug platform last week, a welcome addition to the variety of fish, including snapper that have also been taken from here.

Tuna still provide the main attraction offshore, said Bob, with recent catches coming from 26 metres of water in the vicinity of Julia Reef. However, Bob fishes for whiting these days and sent a photo of his catch.

Campbell asks:

Geoff, I’m from Modewarre and used to fish the lake which is now almost dry. Can you tell me why the water was diverted and if there is any chance of it becoming a recreational fishery again?

Campbell; both you and I now have a detailed reply to this question from Donna Smithyman, Catchment Manager, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Colac which is as follows:

Thank you for your inquiry into the diversion of water to Lake Modewarre. This has been a long term issue in the community and is acerbated by the continuing dry conditions across the region. I have made some inquiries myself into the historical situation with the lake.

“In 1969 Lake Modewarre was very low and the then Geelong Water and Sewerage Trust (GWST) supplied water to the Lake which was repeated periodically in the ensuing years. In 1976, a further request to the Geelong Water and Sewerage Trust on behalf of the Lake Modewarre Reserve Committee was made, requesting that water be provided to Lake Modewarre. This was denied, citing low storage levels in the Barwon system. Further to these specific requests up to 1976, the Geelong water supply system previously included a section of open channel that passed through the Lake Modewarre catchment, carrying water harvested from the Barwon River catchment. This water was used to supply the Pettavel Basin and was transported via the Pettavel channel. To protect the channel from failures or prevent overflows to abutting private properties, at times excess flow was diverted out of the channel into Lake Modewarre.

The channel was replaced in the early 1990s with a pipeline to improve potable water quality and reduce water losses. As part of this modernisation, the channel and associated easements were transferred from Barwon Water to the private landowners. Therefore, the opportunity to transfer water from Wurdee Buloc Reservoir to Lake Modewarre cannot occur due to the fact that there is now no infrastructure in place for such a transfer. Further, the Wurdee Boluc reservoir is managed and not part of a natural filling cycle, so if Wurdee Boluc was full and excess water was present in the Barwon River system, then under Barwon Water’s Bulk Entitlement it is required that any excess water is released to the Barwon River system.”

Also worth reading is EPA publication 1108, March 2007 http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/~/media/Publications/1108.pdf It’s reference to Lake Modewarre is significant; the first paragraph containing the statement that “Between 1803 and 1832 William Buckley had described the lake as being perfectly fresh and abundant in eels …” Since then however, Lake Modewarre has ranged from being completely dry to being flooded, and that may well remain its ongoing destiny.

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Shark wrangler: George Papavasiliou with his bronze whaler shark from the Lorne Pier (Picture: Bill Athanasselis).
Shark wrangler: George Papavasiliou with his bronze whaler shark from the Lorne Pier (Picture: Bill Athanasselis).

Lorne rangers

On February 7 last, I reported the capture of a large whaler shark from the Lorne Pier by Bill Athanasselis and George Papavasiliou. Well, on last Wednesday afternoon, the pair tried for more of the same, putting two lines out from the pier – each baited with a bonito – and this time they caught two bronze whalers; one on each of those baits.

They weren’t huge; just two metre models, and catching both before dark drew an even bigger crowd than did their previous capture in the early morning hours. But this time – even with two sharks – there still wasn’t enough flake to go around.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Snapper aficionados, Andrew Phillips and George Uranus were anchored up by 4.00 am on Thursday, somewhere between Point Wilson and the channel junction off Curlewis, and by 5.30 am they’d caught their first snapper on a squid head, a beauty of 6.7 kg.

Sunrise saw one or two other boats heading out, and it was then that they caught another snapper of 5.5 kg; this time on a silver whiting. They stayed until the tide began running off at around 8.00 am, but all they caught in extra time were eagle rays and banjo sharks.

Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien went hunting for whiting off Clifton Springs on Friday morning, and – apart from catching numerous small fish – it was lean pickings. Their continual moves eventually paid off though, for in 4.5 metres of water off The Dell, they found a good patch of whiting from which they caught 30, some measuring over the 40 cm mark.

Offshore

Taking advantage of calm weather under our recent full moon, Kevin McLoughlin and Paul Carson took a run out to the Continental shelf off Warrnambool after dark.

With a berley trail going in the moonlight, they soon caught a mako shark of 46 kg that they kept. They tagged and released another of about twice that size, along with a good size blue shark before heading back in the following day.

Paul Carson with the mako shark that was taken at night 70 km offshore from Warrnambool (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).
Paul Carson with the mako shark that was taken at night 70 km offshore from Warrnambool (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).
Dave Jacobsen of the Keysborough Angling Club with the competition winning, 23 kg gummy shark, that he caught on the drift in 22 metres of water offshore from Corner Inlet in South Gippsland recently.
Dave Jacobsen of the Keysborough Angling Club with the competition winning, 23 kg gummy shark, that he caught on the drift in 22 metres of water offshore from Corner Inlet in South Gippsland recently.

Freshwater

John Clements reports that although redfin are the main chance at Lake Purrumbete, Tim Beusman had no trouble picking up eleven trout, both browns and rainbows to just over a kilogram, while trolling Tassie Devils behind a downrigger at 18 metres.

Trevor Holmes of Inland Fishing Charters reports that “Insanity Tackle Mini Vibes” were just the right lure to put smiles on the faces of his clients who took respectable catches of redfin to 1.3 kg from Lake Purrumbete. Other successful lures included the eel-coloured Nories Shad.

Although nearby Lake Bullen Merri has an algal bloom, John reports that chinook salmon are still on the bite with Andrew Bell and friends catching fish to 2 kg on Pegron Tiger lures from the jetty near the boat ramp.

Rod Baker with a tuna from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Rod Baker with a tuna from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
A sample of Bob McPherson’s whiting catch from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
A sample of Bob McPherson’s whiting catch from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that bluefin tuna are still the main attraction with too many successful anglers to list. These have been up to 30 kg or so and have mainly been taken on small trolling skirts.

Bob and his cronies have been focused on whiting though, and seem to have no trouble taking respectable catches with some of their bigger fish pushing 50 cm: Productive areas range from the under the cliffs of Cape Grant to the west, and along Portland’s north shore.

A male specimen of Shaw’s Cowfish caught last week from the Lorne Pier (Picture Bill Athanasselis)
A male specimen of Shaw’s Cowfish caught last week from the Lorne Pier (Picture Bill Athanasselis)

Eric asks:

I am disappointed that Lake Bullen Merri has an algal bloom. I’ve heard that there used to be an aerator in the lake to prevent this; what happened to that?

Eric, my understanding is that the aerator was installed in the early 80s and ran until the late 90s, and – with the object of reducing fish kills within the lake its primary purpose – was to circulate and oxygenate the various layers of water. While this was achieved, algal blooms still occurred except over the plume of agitated water around the aerator.

Apparently, deterioration of the equipment, the cost of on-going maintenance, and in some instances episodes of vandalism, challenged the cost-effectiveness of the project; so a decision was made by fisheries management that it would cease funding the aeration of the lake, and with no other sources of funding on offer, the project ceased.