Geoff’s Fishing Report

 Shark wrangler Bill Athanasselis, with last week’s shark from the Lorne Pier.
Shark wrangler Bill Athanasselis, with last week’s shark from the Lorne Pier.
Jeremy McLoughlin with the bronze whaler shark he caught offshore from Point Impossible (Picture Kevin McLoughlin).
Jeremy McLoughlin with the bronze whaler shark he caught offshore from Point Impossible (Picture Kevin McLoughlin).

Offshore

On Sunday, Kevin McLoughlin and his brother Jeremy had the urge to find some offshore action: So, after catching several Australian salmon for bait, they fished in 20 metres of water off Point Impossible where Jeremy hooked a respectable bronze whaler that played up a treat before he could coax it alongside.

Also on Sunday, Aaron Habgood was out through Port Phillip Heads by daybreak – and after catching some yellowtail scad (yakkas) for bait – he fished them live on the drift. And it was “heads up” again for Aaron who caught yet another kingfish; this one weighing 15 kg.

Aaron also caught a small mako shark in 50 metres of water off Port Phillip Heads last week which fishing on the drift with a live slimy mackerel for bait.

George Papavasiliou with the shark that he and Bill Athanasselis caught from the Lorne Pier last week.
George Papavasiliou with the shark that he and Bill Athanasselis caught from the Lorne Pier last week.
Aaron Habgood with his Mako shark from 50 metres of water off Port Phillip Heads (Picture: Aaron Habgood).
Aaron Habgood with his Mako shark from 50 metres of water off Port Phillip Heads (Picture: Aaron Habgood).

Lorne Sharking

In February last year, I reported the capture of a large bronze whaler shark from the Lorne Pier by Bill Athanasselis and George Papavasiliou: Well, the pair returned last Wednesday evening hoping for more of the same,

Not in vain either, for at 1.00 am on Thursday, one of the bonito they had out for bait was taken, heralding a fight lasting for more than an hour, and which – as before – drew quite a crowd, some of whom were able to assist in beaching the shark on the old boat ramp.

Here, in due course, a good many requests for the shark’s fillets, head and fins were obliged to the point that the remainder of a shark, originally of about 240 kg, was just vertebra and tail.


Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Following a good catch of whiting off The Clifton Springs Dell last week, Andrew Johnson and wife Jenny headed out to much the same area, but it took a while to find them. They were out a little deeper this time, in 6 metres of water. They were class fish though, mainly between 34 and 40 cm. However, their biggest fish was carefully measured at 43.7 cm.

Fishing nearby were Dennis O’Brien and Peter Dawson who were struggling a bit, but once encouraged into the bite zone by Andrew and Jenny, they began picking up some good size whiting and a flathead over 60 cm that eventually weighed 2.5 kg.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that whiting and flathead are both on offer off The Springs, and among those to catch them were Andy McDonald and Kevin Brown whose bag included whiting to 40 cm and several flathead to 50 cm.

The outgoing tide seems to be best said Mike, and during the nicer days, Kayakers, like Mick Portelli, caught whiting to 40 cm as well.

On Friday, Andrew Phillips and George Uranus made an early start off Indented Head where they fished on the drift for squid, taking close to their bag limit of fish to a kilogram before the weather turned sour, persuading them to come in.

Abbey and Mark Wright with Abbey’s 3.63 kg rainbow trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).
Abbey and Mark Wright with Abbey’s 3.63 kg rainbow trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).
John Clements with a sample of the redfin from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).
John Clements with a sample of the redfin from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park).

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that on Saturday afternoon, Mark Wright and his 16 year old daughter Abbey were deep trolling lures at 18 metres when Abbey hooked what turned out to be a lovely rainbow trout of 3.63 kg.

Redfin have been the main species caught from Purrumbete though said John, with too long a list of captors to mention, but those in the know, like Les Broughton of Newtown, continue to bring in dozens of fish from 600 grams to more than a kilogram.

Aaron Habgood with the yellowtail kingfish he caught outside Port Phillip Heads on Sunday (Picture: Aaron Habgood).
Aaron Habgood with the yellowtail kingfish he caught outside Port Phillip Heads on Sunday (Picture: Aaron Habgood).
Allan Kilpatrick with his 23kg tuna (Picture: Greg Kilpatrick).
Allan Kilpatrick with his 23kg tuna (Picture: Greg Kilpatrick).

Port Fairy

Heading down to Port Fairy for a couple of days last week, Nick Stephens and Allan and Greg Kilpatrick’s first strike was on Friday, when heading toward Lady Julia Percy Island they caught a 22 kg tuna on a Rapala X-Rap 30 from 40 metres of water.

On Saturday, they tried toward Warrnambool, but after many hours of trolling it looked like lean pickings until another tuna of 23 kg took Alan’s small Pakula hothead skirt, again in 40m of water.

Lockie Wombell with a nice gemfish taken out wide from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Lockie Wombell with a nice gemfish taken out wide from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Lockie Wombell with a pair of blue eye trevalla caught while using brown trout for bait (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Lockie Wombell with a pair of blue eye trevalla caught while using brown trout for bait (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Bob McPherson and Lockie Wombell took advantage of good weather at the weekend to head out wide from Portland, setting their lines to the bottom in around 500 metres of water. Anxious to try a bait recommended by many deep-sea, bottom-bouncers in New Zealand, which was brown trout, they did well, for as you can see, those salmonoid baits with the orange tinge certainly did the trick.

Adam asks:

Geoff, while my friends and I catch plenty of flathead, we never catch any big ones. Can you give us any tips?

Adam, the biggest flathead are in the shallowest water, both locally and elsewhere. When fishing from a boat, the best way to catch them is by anchoring up in a metre or so of water and drifting a whitebait or pilchard fillet – suspended under a float – away from the boat with the tide while you berley the area with cut pilchards, fish scraps, or the like.

Having had no bites within half an hour or so, you may then repeat the process elsewhere, but not before taking shoreline or GPS marks to enable your return later to discover if your berley has attracted any large flathead into that area. Of course you could fish with lures as some do, but bait fishing is easiest and berleying the area is essential.

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