Geoff’s Fishing Report

Murray Scott with a sample of his snapper catch from Corio Bay.
Murray Scott with a sample of his snapper catch from Corio Bay.
Jeff Broughton of Geelong displays a couple of the redfin he caught from Lake Purrumbete last week (Picture: John Clements).
Jeff Broughton of Geelong displays a couple of the redfin he caught from Lake Purrumbete last week (Picture: John Clements).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

An early start usually means an early finish, and that is applicable to fishing as Murray Scott could readily attest.

Being on the water by 4.00 am, He and Scott Smart were no sooner at anchor in 8 metres of water on the west side of the Wilson Spit than they were in business. By sun up they’d caught most of their respective bag limits of three large snapper and were back at the Avalon boat ramp by 7.15.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports, that despite the slump we’ve usually seen at the onset of Christmas in previous years, there have been few disappointments this time around with large snapper, pinkies and whiting all well and truly on offer.

Among those to be successful on pinkies were Greg Harris and Gerard Karstens who made an early start just south of the No 18 buoy that marks the channel junction off Curlewis. Using squid for bait, they had no shortage of action and were back at the ramp by 7.30 am with their respective bag limit catches of pinkie snapper to 40 cm.

Whiting too continue to reward both the specialists seeking them and those who just enjoy a good day on the water. Among those to get among them were Colin, Brent, Jordan and Donna Doyle who bagged 37 prime specimens using fresh mussels for bait.

Andrew Johnson’s larder, being well stocked with fresh fish, agreed on a catch and release adventure off Point Richards early on Friday morning with friend Steve Leaumont who was visiting from Townsville over Christmas.

An early start had rods bending left and right with snapper to around 3.5 kg being caught until just after daybreak when the action slowed down a little. Then, making a move into 13 metres of water, more or less straight out from the Portarlington Pier, they caught four nice flathead to 43 cm.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports being well on the way to tennis elbow after cleaning almost record numbers of fish for clients, mainly flathead, so last week he had no time to do the necessary job of running his new outboard motors, a job our regular reporter, Jeff Richards from Indented Head, put his hand up for.

Taking a rod rigged with a deep running lure to break the monotony of the running-in procedure, Jeff had multiple strikes along the Prince George Bank between the Prince George light pile and Dean Man’s Stick. They turned out to be good size snook which went into the smoker, along with a flathead of about 1.5 kg which also took the lure.

Gary Brown with another good size cod from Bundalong on the Murray (Picture: John Clements).
Gary Brown with another good size cod from Bundalong on the Murray (Picture: John Clements).
Josh Brown likewise (Picture: John Clements).
Josh Brown likewise (Picture: John Clements).


Freshwater

Lake Purrumbete Caravan Park proprietor John Clements, reports that trout have been quiet in the lake, but redfin show no sign of slowing down with Jeff Broughton catching a dozen from 800 to 910 grams on live minnow fished at the bottom.

John has just returned from Bundalong on the Murray, where it joins Lake Mulwala. Here, fishing with Gary, Josh and Neil Brown, they caught a total of 7 Murray cod between them – all of which were released – ranging in size from 7 to 20.4 kg, using bardi grubs for bait.

Neil Brown with an eleven kilogram cod from the same trip (Picture: John Clements).
Neil Brown with an eleven kilogram cod from the same trip (Picture: John Clements).
John Clements with a 20.4 kg cod from the Murray near Bundalong (Picture: John Clements).
John Clements with a 20.4 kg cod from the Murray near Bundalong (Picture: John Clements).

Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that whiting are well and trully on the bite and that he and Lockie Wombell got onto them on Saturday fishing in 5 to 7 metres of water between Blacknose Point Lawrence Rock. They also caught a number of silver trevally to a kilogram or so, with their biggest whiting measuing better than 40 cm, all being caught on either cuttlefish or local pipi.

Lockie Wombell with one of the whiting he and Bob McPherson caught off Blacknose Point on Friday (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Lockie Wombell with one of the whiting he and Bob McPherson caught off Blacknose Point on Friday (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Archie asks:

Geoff: Is there any difference between stingarees and stingrays, or are they all the same?

Archie, as a rule, stingarees are smaller than stingrays and usually display a more rounded body shape; the feather-shaped fin at the tip of the tail (not present in stingrays) being diagnostic. The spotted stingaree is the most common local variety.

Our most common stingrays are the roughly diamond-shaped, southern eagle ray and the (sometimes very large) smooth stingray. Other species of large rays, like the black thorntail ray – easily distinguished by its very long tail – are sometimes present as well.

As you know, both stingarees and stingrays have one or more barbed spines on the tail which are coated with toxic slime; a defence system, not only capable of severely wounding a victim, but inducing long term and painful aggravation to any such wound.

(References: Sharks and Rays of Australia by P. R. Last and J.D. Stevens, and Sea Fishes of Southern Australia by Barry Hutchins and Roger Swainston).

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