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.

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