Geoff’s Fishing Report

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

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

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

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

Portland

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

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

Bob invents new word

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

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

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freshwater

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

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

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

Rudi asks:

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

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

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

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