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.

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