Geoff’s Fishing Report

Keryn Millard with a pair of the big flathead that she and her father Dean caught on the drift off Portland (Picture: Dean Millard).
Keryn Millard with a pair of the big flathead that she and her father Dean caught on the drift off Portland (Picture: Dean Millard).
Tom Ninevicxs with his catch of tuna from Julia Reef, east of the Portland Harbour in 23 metres of water (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Tom Ninevicxs with his catch of tuna from Julia Reef, east of the Portland Harbour in 23 metres of water (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Making several moves in their search for whiting at the weekend, Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien eventually struck a good patch in 3.8 metres of water off The Dell at Clifton Springs. Here, using pipis and squid for bait, they each took bag limit catches, several in excess of 40 cm.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Spring Boat Hire also reports that a number of anglers have done well on the whiting; among them Michael Cave and Charlie Gubbins whose daybreak start paid off with not only 39 whiting to 42 cm, but fifteen respectable flathead as well.

Gummy shark have also been present, and among those to catch them was Ryan Booth whose 1.09 metre specimen from Portarlington, took a pilchard.

On Thursday evening, Jeff Richards, Ken Shae and George Cumming headed out into 4 metres of water off Indented, where as well the cuttlefish Jeff brought out with him, they first caught several squid for bait, hopeful of catching a few whiting.

As it turned out they caught 30 whiting, with some really good ones among them; most being caught on the cuttlefish.

Ryan Booth with his gummy shark.
Ryan Booth with his gummy shark.
Bob McPherson caught this large aero squid from 550 metres of water off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Bob McPherson caught this large aero squid from 550 metres of water off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Offshore

Kingfish have been present offshore, mainly from Barwon Heads to Point Lonsdale; most being of modest size. However, Michael Moore of Trelly’s Tackle World recently caught one of 21.8 kg offshore from Ocean Grove after baiting up with a large slimy mackerel that he’d caught.

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Caravan Park reports that while redfin are still the main catch, mainly on live minnow, anglers trolling with lures behind downriggers on the lake have taken both brown and rainbow trout, along with the occasional brook trout.

Michael Cave with a mixed bag of whiting and flathead taken by him and Charlie Gubbins (Picture: Mike Windsor).
Michael Cave with a mixed bag of whiting and flathead taken by him and Charlie Gubbins (Picture: Mike Windsor).
One of the blue-eye trevalla taken offshore from Portland by Bob McPherson and Lockie Wombell at the weekend
One of the blue-eye trevalla taken offshore from Portland by Bob McPherson and Lockie Wombell at the weekend

Portland

Picking a break in the weather early last week, Dean and Keryn Millard headed out into 80 metres of water off Portland where they began bottom bouncing on their drift. After a slow start, they struck a patch of flathead of which they caught quite a few, half a dozen of which topped the 60 cm mark.

Bob McPherson reports that tuna have been a big attraction off Portland, and they’ve been caught from Portland’s north shore, east to Julia Reef. Tom Ninevicxs was among a good many anglers take bag limit catches last week with some fish better than 20 kg.

Fishing off Narrawong to the north east of Portland, Daniel Stranger and Rick Cockerel were hopeful of finding kingfish. There was nothing doing there, but they did catch a barracouta, which Daniel suggested might tempt a shark at anchor. He was right on the money there and with Rick soon hooked a whaler shark that eventually greeted the scales for a verdict of 128 kg.

Rick Cockerel and Daniel Stranger with their whaler shark off Narrawong.
Rick Cockerel and Daniel Stranger with their whaler shark off Narrawong.

Fishing competition

On Saturday 28/01/17, the St Leonards and Bellarine Pirates Angling Clubs are hosting a flathead fishing competition on Corio Bay and the Bellarine Peninsula. The entry fee is $10.00 and the headquarters will be at the Clifton Springs boat ramp.

Fishing is permitted from 6.00 pm on Friday, and fish may be weighed in from 10.00 am until 4.00 pm on Saturday. There are valuable prizes to be won, including a cash prize of $200.00 for the heaviest flathead. Prior registration with secretary.fish@bigpond.com is required: For more information, phone Phil on 0411 215 146.

T.J. asks:

Hi Geoff, Just hoping you can help me with the best method of using pipis for bait. I must be doing something wrong, because although I get plenty of bites, the fish get them off. What is the most effective way of keeping them on the hook?

T.J. Baiting with pipis, cockles, in fact all bivalve molluscs, can be challenging, but if you first thread the hook with the hard white ligament attached to the shell, push it up over the hook and up your trace, then you can wind the softer portion of the mollusc down around the shank of your hook several times before impaling it with the point.

Alternatively, you could use a bait-elastic like Ghost Cocoon to bind your bait to the hook, but it does accumulate after a while, something which makes it advisable to carry a small pair of fishing scissors to trim off the excess.

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