Geoff’s Fishing Report

John Formosa with a 6 kg snapper taken near Point Henry (Picture: Cody Formosa).

John Formosa with a 6 kg snapper taken near Point Henry (Picture: Cody Formosa).


Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Making a 10.00 pm start from Clifton Springs under last week’s full moon, snapper aficionados Andrew Phillips and George Uranus anchored up at their favourite spot about halfway between the channel junction off Curlewis and the Point Wilson Pier.

Things were slow to begin with, but at midnight, the silver whiting that Andrew had on for bait was taken by a snapper that later weighed 8.5 kg. Things were quiet after that, but at around 1.30 am, George’s squid head was taken by a snapper that weighed 7 kg.

Early last week, John Formosa and his son Cody fished in 6 metres of water off Point Henry, also hopeful of catching a snapper. Not in vain as it turned out for at 4.00 pm, the pilchard on John’s line was taken by a snapper that weighed 6 kg.

After first catching their respective bag limits of squid offshore from McAdams Lane, Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien tried for whiting, which – as it turned out – were plentiful but small. However, their quest for more respectable fish continued, and was eventually rewarded with ten fish from 40 to 42 cm before day’s end.

Wading the shallows on the afternoon high tide below Beacon Point early last week, and casting a Mr Twister double-tail in the hope of catching a decent flathead, Simon Werner caught two as it turned out, both around the kilogram mark.

Xavier Lalic with the morning’s catch of Australian salmon from the beach at Anglsea (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Xavier Lalic with the morning’s catch of Australian salmon from the beach at Anglsea (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Off the beach

Fishing from the beach near the mouth of the Anglesea River on Sunday morning, were Kevin McLoughlin, Josh Lalic and Josh’s 8 year old son Xavier.

Casting out with 40 grams Lazers, the action was not long in coming with Australian salmon up to 1.5 coming up on the sand; and of which Xavier caught a fair portion of the eighteen fish that they cleaned at Torquay.

Viktor Petrovic with one of his redfin from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Viktor Petrovic with one of his redfin from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Freshwater

Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters reports that the redfin have gone quiet on Lake Toolondo, not surprising he said with up to 40 boats fishing the lake at a time.

Never the less, his clients Viktor Petrovic and his son Thomas had smiles on their faces after catching several good size redfin on soft plastics, along with a pan size brown trout that fell to a number 46 Tassie Devil.

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that while both brown and rainbow trout to 1.5 kg were caught in good numbers last week, there weren’t any trophy size fish taken; not to his knowledge anyway.


Snapper challenge

I’ve been asked to inform readers that a catch and release section has been added to Bellarine Snapper Challenge – an event hosted by the St Leonards & Bellarine Pirates Angling Clubs – current until Friday 01/12/17: It’s for the longest fish certified by a high quality digital photograph of that fish on an official brag mat.

For those yet to enter, fees are $20.00 for those aged 18 and over and $10.00 for those yet to turn 18. Fees must be paid prior to any fish being presented for weigh in. Details of weigh-masters, payment details and other information may be obtained from Phil Walters on 0411 215 146 or Bruce Symons on 0428 988 898.

For those seeking information on snapper fishing, expert angler Aaron Habgood will be present at the Clifton Springs Golf Club in Clear Water Drive at 7.00 pm on Thursday 12/10/17, to give you the drum-beats. This event is free to those able to affirm financial membership to the aforementioned Angling Clubs, but $20.00 to non members.

Thomas Petrovic with a pan size brown trout from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Thomas Petrovic with a pan size brown trout from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).


Rodney asks:

Geoff, On September 26 you had a report of a snapper being taken from the beach at Indented Head. I don’t know anywhere at Indented Head where it would be deep enough to catch a snapper from the beach: Any more information please?

Rodney, both during, and immediately following strong north or nor-easterly winds – particularly at this time of year – snapper have been caught, land-based, at a number of locations around the Bellarine Peninsula. They include the beach at assembly point 28B at Indented Head, which is just south of the boat ramp car park, but only during the conditions described: I suggest that wearing waders here would be an advantage.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Classic catch: Garry Ridgeway with the 4.6 kg brown trout he caught from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Lindsay Robinson).

Classic catch: Garry Ridgeway with the 4.6 kg brown trout he caught from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Lindsay Robinson).

John Moncrieff with his 43 cm redfin from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

John Moncrieff with his 43 cm redfin from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Freshwater

On Wednesday, Garry Ridgeway fished Stony Creek Reservoir on the way to Ballan where numerous fish were rising, particularly toward dark. But by then, he’d caught three brown trout, each just shy of a kilogram, using mudeyes he’d gathered previously for bait.

Making an early start on Lake Bullen Merri on Thursday morning, Garry and Lindsay Robinson found chinook salmon on the bite, and – using whitebait suspended just above the bottom – caught fish after fish in 18 metres of water, the only obstacle being the number of small ones.

Never the less, they took bag limit catches of fish to 2 kg before heading over to nearby Lake Purrumbete where the remainder of their mudeye supply paid off; first on several rainbow and brown trout to 1.5 kg before Garry hooked something a good deal bigger that turned out to be a brown trout weighing 4.6 kg and measuring 71 cm.

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that among those to do well on Lake Purrumbete last week were Andy Martin and his sons Jace 10, and Ryan 9, who caught about 50 redfin; Jace also caught a 1.8 kg brook trout.

Fishing nearby Lake Bullen Merri on Thursday and Friday, the Giles family from Bannockburn turned youngsters Marley 10, and Sammy 12, loose on the fish population; their catch included a 2.34 kg chinook for Marley and a 1.44 kg rainbow trout for Sammy.

An early start on Lake Elingamite near Cobden paid off for Steven O’Keefe, Daniel Stranger and Jason Fairbridge who caught six respectable trout and 5 healthy redfin in fairly short order.

Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters fished Lake Toolondo with 16 year old John Moncrieff from Albury over the weekend taking a respectable bag of redfin that included one of 43 cm; a personal best for John who also caught a 57 cm brown trout on a Nories Laydown Minnow.

Early last month we featured a story on the enormous rainbow trout to be caught in the Twizel Canals on New Zealand’s South Island along with Michael Evans pictured holding one.

Well, the temptation proved too much for Michael and he returned last week to fish with Graham Edridge, with not only another great sample of colossal rainbow trout, but on this occasion, he also caught a 7.7 kg brown trout.

Michael Evans with yet another colossal rainbow trout from the Twizel Canals in New Zealand.

Michael Evans with yet another colossal rainbow trout from the Twizel Canals in New Zealand.

Michael Evans with a 7.7 kg brown trout from the Twizel Canals in New Zealand.

Michael Evans with a 7.7 kg brown trout from the Twizel Canals in New Zealand.


Bellarine Peninsula

After tuning in to recent whiting reports off Clifton Springs, Andrew Johnson, Brodie Bell and Tony Mollenhauer anchored up off The Dell on Sunday afternoon where they caught ten good fish, each around the 40 cm mark.

There must be a few whiting around for Steve O’Keefe and Brad Baker – after first catching several squid for bait – caught 26 prime specimens from the grass beds off Queenscliff’s Swan Island during the flood tide. Aaron Habgood and his crew also took another great catch of whiting from the same area.

Alana and Adam Vasilevski with Aaron Habgood (centre) with their catch of whiting.

Alana and Adam Vasilevski with Aaron Habgood (centre) with their catch of whiting.

Aaron Habgood with his and his crew’s catch of whiting from Queenscliff.

Aaron Habgood with his and his crew’s catch of whiting from Queenscliff.

Estuary

On Thursday morning Martin de Lange fished the Anglesea River upstream from the bridge where, using shrimp for bait, he was kept busy with undersize fish stealing his bait. But he persisted, and was eventually rewarded with three decent bream that he estimated to have weighed about 3 kg.

John Moncrieff with his 54 cm brown trout from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

John Moncrieff with his 54 cm brown trout from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Martin De Lange with his bream from the Anglesea River estuary.

Martin De Lange with his bream from the Anglesea River estuary.

Steve asks:

I’m heading down to Lorne mid October and will be boat fishing for the first time down that way. Do you have any suggestions for catching snapper or whiting?

Steve, the boat ramp at Lorne has been closed, but people launch boats on the east side of the pier, Point Grey providing shelter from the prevailing south westerly swells. However, being on the ocean, you do need to take care.

There is usually little doing during the day around Lorne, but toward evening, there are whiting to be caught within the sandy channels intersecting the protruding reefs east of Point Grey, and further south in front of the George River. You also might try offshore from the Rock Ledge in front of Albert Street.

There are pinkie snapper on any of the small reefs to the north and north-west from the pier. However, the bigger fish are reportedly caught offshore from Mount Defiance and Artillery Rocks to the south; that’s an option should fair weather prevail.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

On the beach: Danny Skene with the 7.4 kg snapper he from the beach at Indented Head last week.

On the beach: Danny Skene with the 7.4 kg snapper he from the beach at Indented Head last week.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

If any angler has the Midas touch it would have to be Danny Skene. He’s not only caught several big snapper from his boat out in Corio Bay lately, but early last week he drove down to Indented Head to fish from the beach: A good move as it turned out, for he caught a beautiful 7.4 kg snapper after casting out with a strip of squid for bait.

After fighting off a dose of the flu, Murray Stewart made the effort to catch some squid off Clifton Springs at the weekend before anchoring up on the west side of the Wilson Spit, just south of the shipping channel. While he initially missed a couple of snapper early in the flood tide, he eventually caught one of 6 kg.

Late on Saturday afternoon, Kirt Behan and Tony Mollenhauer headed out off Clifton Springs in the stiff nor-westerly that kept almost everybody else, ashore.

Their first attempt at anchoring about halfway between Point Wilson and the shipping channel, failed because the wind was so strong that their anchor just pulled free.

A second attempt also failed for the same reason, but it appeared to be third time lucky; the anchor holding long enough to get all of their lines out. But it too pulled free, creating a great tangle under the boat, with one line in particular breaking all of the rules with a snapper that eventually weighed 7.5 kg on the other end.

Also out fishing out in 8 metres of water off Point Wilson were John Formosa and his son Cody. They too caught a couple of decent size snapper just after dark, one of which Cody sent in a photo.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that any break in the weather has seen his boats out with flathead and barracouta among the catch. However, squid are still the main attraction.

Michael Levett with yet another XOS rainbow trout from the Twizel Canals in New Zealand, this one being caught on the fly.

Michael Levett with yet another XOS rainbow trout from the Twizel Canals in New Zealand, this one being caught on the fly.

Freshwater

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that large brown trout are still on offer with Darren Buffield of Colac picking up one of 3.85 kg on a bibbed lure. Unfortunately said John, a good many of these trophy size browns have been lost, often beside the boat, and for the usual reasons.

Redfin are still well and truly on the bite said John with Josh Fraser and Stan Rae both of Norlane picking up good catches. Stan also caught a 1.5 kg rainbow trout on a mudeye fished beneath a float.

Fishing nearby Lake Bullen Merri on Saturday, eight members of the Drysdale Sport Fishing Club caught an estimated total of 80 chinook salmon to 2.47 kg, most of which were released. The majority were caught using pilchards for bait. However, most of their smaller chinook salmon, and two rainbow trout, were caught trolling.

John also reports covering quite a bit of ground from Lake Elingamite near Cobden – where he caught nothing – to Lake Bolac on the Glenelg Highway where his companion, Mick Giles of Bannockburn, caught their only fish, a rainbow trout of 1.5 kg.

Michael Levett, who reminded me of our first meeting in 1966 at the Grammar School Lagoon while fishing for snapper, sent in another picture of an XOS rainbow trout that he caught fly fishing with a small nymph pattern from New Zealand’s Twizel Canals. He didn’t suggest the weight, but needed both hands to hold it up for a photo.

Cody Formosa with one of the snapper that he and his father John caught offshore from Point Wilson over the weekend.

Cody Formosa with one of the snapper that he and his father John caught offshore from Point Wilson over the weekend.

Murray Stewart with a 6 kg snapper he caught from Corio Bay over the weekend.

Murray Stewart with a 6 kg snapper he caught from Corio Bay over the weekend.

Dieter asks:

Geoff, I caught this crustacean off Clifton Springs recently. It appears to be a cross between a crayfish and a crab. It was brick red in colour with the body of a crab and the tail of a crayfish. Do you know what it would be?

Dieter, what you caught was a shovelnose lobster, of which there are several varieties to be found around the Australian coastline. The one you’ve photographed is the most common in this State.

Known as “squagga” in the days of my youth, they were almost wiped out from Port Phillip Bay during the ill-advised era of scallop dredging, which was stopped by the Kennett Government in the mid nineties; now they appear to making a comeback. For more information, check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibacus_peronii.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Danny Skene with a sample of the snapper he’s caught over the past few days.

Danny Skene with a sample of the snapper he’s caught over the past few days.

Stevie Lee with the 9.5 kg snapper that he caught from Corio Bay on Sunday night (Picture: Steven Lee).

Stevie Lee with the 9.5 kg snapper that he caught from Corio Bay on Sunday night (Picture: Steven Lee).


Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Snapper are still on offer in Corio Bay, something that Steven Lee could relate after picking up a beauty of 9.5 kg on Sunday night on a pilchard.

Anchored some distance offshore from the Mountain View Quarries, Steve soon had a berley trail going that attracted numerous juvenile gummy sharks that threatened his bait supply. But at 11.00 pm, and during the last hour of the incoming tide, one of his rods his rods sang the familiar snapper tune, heralding a 10 minute tussle with his prize catch.

Naturally, old hands at the game, like Danny Skene, also did well with a tally of four big snapper over two trips last week, fishing the tide changes at one of his favourite marks along the west side of the Wilson Spit: His fish were also caught on pilchards.

With northerly winds predicted for next week, and snapper having been taken from the Portarlington breakwater, this structure – particularly at this time of year – offers a window of opportunity for land based anglers to catch large snapper, but you do need a landing net with a long handle, and preferably a mate to use it; that’s if you are serious.

Salmon have been present in good numbers, both in the inner harbour and right around the Bellarine Peninsula. Here, Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that they were hard to miss, given the number of birds diving on the bait fish they’d rounded up at the surface. These too have been taken from the Portarlington Pier and breakwater recently.

Rod also mentions that the fishing was slow over the weekend, particularly for squid. However, a handful of anglers, including Andrew Phillips and Tony Grech, picked up bag limit catches as they did the previous weekend while fishing offshore from the St Leonards Yacht Club; the biggest weighing over a kilogram.

David Woods’ 3.62 kg brown trout taken from Lake Purrumbete on the fly.

David Woods’ 3.62 kg brown trout taken from Lake Purrumbete on the fly.

Nick Alexeyeff with his 4.53 kg brown trout from Lake Purrumbete.

Nick Alexeyeff with his 4.53 kg brown trout from Lake Purrumbete.


Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that some good size brown trout including one off 4.53 kg that was taken by Nick Alexeyeff while casting a soft plastic from his boat along the edge of the weeds banks. Another of 3.62 kg was taken on the fly by Aussie Fly Fishers Club member David Woods who also caught several rainbow trout to a kilogram or so with the same approach.

Brook trout have also turned up from time to time in Lake Purrumbete, the latest being a 1.5 kg specimen taken by David Kelly at the weekend.

Redfin continue to be taken in good numbers, said John, with Geelong angler Terry Lindsay catching several to 1.2 kg using tiger worms for bait.

At nearby Lake Bullen Merri, Ken Carman of Camperdown continues to catch chinook salmon to 2 kg on soft plastics, while visiting anglers from Werribee and Bendigo Angler’s Clubs took both chinook salmon and rainbow trout over the weekend from the same water.

Following my report of good size redfin being taken from Stony Creek Reservoir a couple of weeks ago, a source who wishes to remain anonymous, says that although the lake has had a hiding over recent months, such has been its popularity, redfin are still on the go along with brown trout to a kilogram that have been taken, both on bait and lures.

Jason Kelly with his 1.5 kg brook trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: John Clements).

Jason Kelly with his 1.5 kg brook trout from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: John Clements).

How Big? Geelong angler Terry Lindsay holding out a 1.2 kg redfin from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: John Clements).

How Big? Geelong angler Terry Lindsay holding out a 1.2 kg redfin from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: John Clements).

Colin asks:

Geoff, I’ve seen several shark reports in the news lately: Wouldn’t the water be too cold for sharks at present?

Colin, some sharks, like gummy, school and seven-gilled sharks are present in our waters all year round. Larger sharks; those typically found relatively close to shore like bronze whalers, usually arrive in November. This is also when large pregnant females of this, and sometimes other species, enter Port Phillip and Corio Bays to bear their young, usually staying within Port Phillip Heads until at least until February or March.

Great white sharks, the species presently making the news, appear at various coastal features, like The Nobbies on Phillip Island, and Lady Julia Percy Island near Port Fairy, from late September or October to prey on seal pups. However, being one of several shark species capable of elevating their body temperature some 14 degrees Celsius above the ambient water temperature, their presence is somewhat unpredictable.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Red alert: Aaron Habgood of Red’s Fishing Adventures with a sample of the snapper he’s been catching offshore from Barwon Heads lately.

Red alert: Aaron Habgood of Red’s Fishing Adventures with a sample of the snapper he’s been catching offshore from Barwon Heads lately.

Despite rough and windy weather, some anglers have caught snapper in Corio Bay, both from the inner and outer harbors; among them Daniel Johnson, who – along with different companions – has caught snapper on each of his last five trips.

Fishing along the west side of the Wilson Spit with Brodie Bell on Saturday, it took three bites at the cherry for Brodie to boat a snapper; the first two simply mangling the silver whiting he had on for bait before it was third time lucky with no mistake this time on a snapper weighing 5 kg.

Out again on Sunday, this time with Dennis O’Brien and his son Daniel, Andrew reports fishing was slow, but at 11.50 am he caught their only fish for the day weighing 5.5 kg.

Land based anglers have also picked up a snapper or two as Johnny Raft reports after fishing the inside of the Portarlington breakwater near the ferry terminal. He didn’t get a bite, but witnessed the capture of a 5.2 kg snapper by an angler nearby who was also fishing inside the harbour.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that a large number of small barracouta have appeared off Indented Head lately, but flathead – and squid in particular – remain the main catch.

Among those to do well on the squid on Saturday morning were Andrew Phillips and Tony Grech who – along with a good many others – found some shelter from the strong westerly winds in front of the St Leonards Yacht Club where they had no trouble taking bag limit catches with several of their bigger specimens around the kilogram mark.

Danny Torgensen and his mate “Bettsy” with their brown trout from Lake Purrumbete.

Danny Torgensen and his mate “Bettsy” with their brown trout from Lake Purrumbete.

Offshore

Snapper are to be caught offshore for those able to pick a break in our unsettled weather; something that Aaron Habgood of Red’s Fishing Adventures could relate having consistently caught snapper to 5 kg or so – along with the occasional good size gummy or school shark – in around 40 metres of water off Barwon Heads.

Rod Rees with his 2 kg fish from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Rod Rees with his 2 kg fish from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Freshwater

On Sunday, Simon Werner fished Wurdiboluc Reservoir with daughter Kassidy for a brown and rainbow trout, each around the kilogram mark; one being taken on a mudeye suspended under a bubble float, the other being taken on a white metal spoon.

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that several large brown trout were taken from the lake, including a couple over the 4 kg mark caught by Danny Torgensen and his mate “Bettsy”.

John also fished the lake, his best fish being a 48 cm, 1.5 kg redfin that took a Rapala F5 on the troll. Others to do well on Lake Purrumbete included Andrew Robinson of Altona who caught redfin to a kilogram using scrubworms and minnow for bait.

At nearby Lake Bullen Merri, Camperdown rod builder Ken Carman continues to enjoy success on chinook salmon to 1.5 kg and better while fishing land based with soft plastics.

Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters fished Lake Toolondo with cousin Rod Rees over the weekend; Rod’s 2 kg brown trout being the pick of their catch. It took a Fish Arrow J Shad being retrieved across the shallows. Rod also landed a respectable rainbow while trolling a Daiwa double clutch while Trevor’s catch included a 42 cm redfin.

Abdul asks:

Geoff, where is Laker’s cutting? I’ve heard it’s a great place to catch bream, but nobody seems to know where it is.

Abdul, Laker’s shellgrit cutting may be reached by turning left at Fellows Road from the Bellarine Highway just before you reach Queenscliff. It’s just a bit further along from the Portarlington Road turn-off.

After crossing the railway line on Fellows Road, you will come to a large drain that runs under the road, from which you can fish either side, or – having passed the drain – you can walk down toward Swan Bay taking care not cross the fence onto private property.

To access the eastern part of Laker’s cutting, you will have to continue along Fellows Road, following it around to the right where it becomes McDonald Road. Parking your car at the end, you can wade down through the swamp to the water’s edge; another good area to fish.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Michael Evans with one of the trophy size rainbow trout that he and his companions caught at Twizel in New Zealand last week.

Michael Evans with one of the trophy size rainbow trout that he and his companions caught at Twizel in New Zealand last week.

Triple hook-up: Trevor Holmes, Michael Evans and Ben Young with a three-way catch from the Twizel Canals in New Zealand

Triple hook-up: Trevor Holmes, Michael Evans and Ben Young with a three-way catch from the Twizel Canals in New Zealand

Freshwater

With the promise of great fishing, local anglers Trevor Holmes, Ben Young and Michael Evans hired the services of professional fishing guide Graham Edridge to fish for rainbow trout in the Twizel Canals on New Zealand’s South Island.

Their catch of sixty fish over three and half days included some truly huge specimens; the biggest of which measured just over a meter in length, 85 cm in girth and weighed an amazing 14.5 kg, and – as were some of the others – truly a fish of a lifetime.

Close to home. John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that Stephen Hill of Camperdown took a brown trout of 4.76 kg while trolling a bibbed minnow and Declan Betts caught another of 4.5 kg casting a Daiwa Double Clutch minnow.

Also successful was James Reid of Altona who caught three brown trout to 1.5 kg down rigging a Tassie Devil, as well as a good catch of redfin to 1.3 kg on scrubworms and soft plastics.

Nearby Lake Bullen Merri has been producing chinook salmon, and among the successful anglers were Ken Carman of Camperdown who caught several fish from the bank to 2 kg, and Doran Do caught several to 2.8 kg while bait fishing above the bottom.

Following his friend Simon Williamson’s capture of 50 cm redfin from Stony Creek Reservoir along the Geelong Ballan Road, Justin Burns went to pick up his dues from the same water, catching another redfin of 47 cm just on dark.

Justin also fished Hepburn Lagoon, which is along the Daylesford Clunes Road, to find the lake full and shallow around the margins. Never the less he persisted casting a Daiwa bibbed minnow and eventually caught a brown trout approaching a kilogram.

New Zealand fishing guide Graham Eldridge  with a 12.9 kg rainbow from the Twizel Canals.

New Zealand fishing guide Graham Eldridge with a 12.9 kg rainbow from the Twizel Canals.

Justin Burns displays the 47 cm redfin he caught at Stony Creek Reservoir.

Justin Burns displays the 47 cm redfin he caught at Stony Creek Reservoir.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Taking a run over to one of his preferred locations along the west side of the Wilson Spit, it wasn’t long before Andrew Johnson located some promising signals on the sounder and anchored over them, but had no response from below; not initially anyway.

That was around 12.30 on Friday afternoon and about halfway through the ebb tide, but it wasn’t until the low tide change at about 3.50 pm that the dinner bell rang; first to the tune of a 6.3 kg snapper, which was then followed by another of 5.5 kg.

On Saturday morning, Murray Scott and Scott Teesdale fished at the end of the rock wall in Lonsdale Bight at Queenscliff for squid. They caught their bag limits, and what beauties they were: Few were less than a kilogram and the two biggest weighed in 3.2 and 3.5 kg.

Simon Agius and Aaron Habgood with another of their tuna from Port MacDonnell.

Simon Agius and Aaron Habgood with another of their tuna from Port MacDonnell.

Kevin Debono, Simon Agius, Mossy, and Aaron Habgood with one of the tuna they caught at Port MacDonnell recently.

Kevin Debono, Simon Agius, Mossy, and Aaron Habgood with one of the tuna they caught at Port MacDonnell recently.

Offshore

With a break in the weather last week, Aaron Habgood of Reds Fishing Adventures and Lee Rayner headed out into 40 metres of water off Barwon Heads where they picked up several good size snapper and a good catch of squid in just a couple of hours.

Aaron had recently returned from Port MacDonnell, just over the border in South Australia, where he fish for two days with his friends “Mossy,” Kevin Debono, and Simon Agius. Needless to say they did well there catching a tuna each day; one of 110 kg and another of 134 kg from 60 and 100 metres of water respectively.

Andrew Johnson with one of the snapper he caught in Corio Bay last Friday.

Andrew Johnson with one of the snapper he caught in Corio Bay last Friday.

Aaron Habgood with one of the snapper he caught offshore from Barwon Heads (Picture: Lee Rayner).

Aaron Habgood with one of the snapper he caught offshore from Barwon Heads (Picture: Lee Rayner).

Lee Rayner and Aaron Habgood with a sample of the snapper they caught off Barwon Heads.

Lee Rayner and Aaron Habgood with a sample of the snapper they caught off Barwon Heads.

Damien asks:

Geoff, I would really like to catch a snapper, but only have a small boat; is there anywhere in the inner harbour where I could try with some expectation of success?

Damien, in a southerly, you could launch a small boat from Limeburner’s Point and anchor up in front of the Geelong Yacht Club’s outer retaining wall; snapper have been caught there at this time of year, particularly of an evening.

With a northerly, or nor-westerly you may launch a small boat from the Foreshore Road ramp in Corio, just past the refinery. On finding 7 metres of water out in front of the refinery, you would have a good chance.

Or, in windier conditions, you could follow the clearly marked channel, offshore from the Foreshore Road Ramp, toward the Grammar School Lagoon and anchor up just out from the tree line past the bluff. Here, you may find at least 7 metres of water close in to shore; another good spot.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Graham Bate with the 9.7 kg snapper that he caught from Corio Bay last week.

Graham Bate with the 9.7 kg snapper that he caught from Corio Bay last week.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Making an early start on Corio Bay last week, Graham Bate of Lara was soon soaking pilchards offshore from the Mountain View Quarries, hopeful of catching a snapper: No problem there, and at 9.7 kg it was the biggest he’d ever caught.

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that trophy size brown trout are still on offer with Tim Beusman adding yet another big one to his tally at 4.5 kg. He caught that one while casting a bibbed minnow-type lure into likely-looking areas.

Joe Rundle also caught a brown trout of 1.5 kg, while Stan Rae and Josh Fraser, both of Norlane, each took good catches of redfin: Josh also caught a respectable brook trout while fishing a mudeye under a float.

John also mentions that nearby Lake Bullen Merri has been fishing well, both for anglers in boats, and for those fishing from the bank.

Among the recently successful anglers here were Bruno Portaro and Geelong’s “Budgie Bryant”, who – along with a good many others –caught both rainbow trout and chinook salmon to 2 kg, both on baits like pilchard fillets, and on various lures.

Steve Prior and Jacob Mills with the 118 kg tuna they caught off Port MacDonnell on Saturday (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Steve Prior and Jacob Mills with the 118 kg tuna they caught off Port MacDonnell on Saturday (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that large tuna are still about and among those to catch them were Adrian Mills and Greg Ruder who picked up a 104 kg fish in 70 metres of water off the Cape Nelson lighthouse while returning from Cape Bridgewater on Friday.

Over the border at Port MacDonnell, Steve Prier and Jacob Mills hooked two large tuna, of which they caught one of 118 kg after pulling the hook on the other.

The inshore fishing at Portland has also shown promise for whiting, said Bob, with Hugh and Ben Johnstone both taking respectable catches in front of the Maretimo Homestead gates.

Adrian Ryan with the 104 kg tuna that he and Greg Ruder caught off Cape Nelson on Friday (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Adrian Ryan with the 104 kg tuna that he and Greg Ruder caught off Cape Nelson on Friday (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Prospects

Now on the cusp of spring, and hopefully better weather than we’ve experienced of late, the fishing should also improve. Here are some prospects:

With northerly winds predicted for Friday and Saturday, the new Portarlington Breakwater should be a prime spot for land based snapper fishing, particularly while the water remains discoloured: Likewise the St Leonards Pier; but only for those athletic enough to climb down and subdue fish from the rocks below.

A fish that some of we more senior anglers used to catch in spring – but which receives little attention nowadays – is snook, which we used to call pike back then, and which are still usually abundant in Spring.

Fishing at dawn or dusk offers the best prospects, particularly while casting bibbed lures from the rocks at North Shore, but only when low tide permits access at those times.

Prior to that, I learned the art of catching them on pilchards rigged on a flight of ganged hooks from a Mr Page from the old Parkside swimming pool. Unfortunately though, that structure was demolished on orders from the Geelong City Council some years ago now, and never replaced. However, some of the small jetties like Rippleside, and other structures like the original Limeburners breakwater, should provide similar opportunities.

Conrad asks:

Geoff; are the snapper currently being caught in Corio Bay newly arrived fish through Port Phillip Heads, or are they resident fish?

Conrad, historically speaking, since we have always seen in increase in snapper activity from Corio Bay as the water temperature begins to rise in August; I believe that these are fish that have been present in the bay throughout winter, something that is usually indicated by an increased amount of fat inside the body cavity.

A popular belief, and one that is probably right, is that snapper enter Port Phillip when the Bay’s internal temperature is equal to that outside The Heads. The present temperature in southern Port Phillip is currently 13 degrees Celsius, which is only half a degree cooler that the water outside; a process you can follow at http://www.baywx.com.au/temps.html

So, more than likely, the first influx of snapper from outside the Bay will begin within a week or so; the first sign being the seals initial success at ambushing the first of these initially unwary fish and eating them at the surface for all to see.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Double dip: Dennis and Brodie Bell with Sunday’s snapper from the Corio Bay outer harbour.

Double dip: Dennis and Brodie Bell with Sunday’s snapper from the Corio Bay outer harbour.


Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

On Sunday, with the smell of snapper in the air, Andrew Johnson, along with Dennis and Brodie Bell, headed out west of Wilson Spit where their sounder readings provided some encouragement.

Despite the cold easterly breeze, things began to warm up when Brodie hooked a snapper that later weighed 5.7 kg on a silver whiting. And they scarcely had time to admire that before Dennis’ rod signalled another hook-up; this time on a snapper of 6.2 kg.

Things went rather quiet before it was Andrew’s turn, but this time it was clear he’d hooked something a lot bigger than a snapper; it was in fact a large seven gilled shark that was cut free prior to hooking a second, even bigger shark, after which they left.

Jeff Richards reports that anglers fishing land based from the Portarlington breakwater have caught pinkie snapper up to around 1.5 kg lately, with most being caught on lines cast into the harbour rather than into the bay. Other species including Australian salmon have been caught here as well.

Aaron Habgood with the massive 36.7 kg school shark that he caught off Barwon Heads recently (Picture: Aaron Habgood)

Aaron Habgood with the massive 36.7 kg school shark that he caught off Barwon Heads recently (Picture: Aaron Habgood)

Offshore

Aaron Habgood of Red’s Fishing Adventures, is not known for catching small fry, but while fishing in 30 metres of water off Barwon Heads recently, he soon realized what had taken the chunk of Australian salmon he was using for bait was bigger than usual, and after a struggle, he boated a massive school shark that eventually weighed 36.7 kg.

Michael Evans with yet another sample of the redfin he has been catching from Wurdiboluc Reservoir lately.

Michael Evans with yet another sample of the redfin he has been catching from Wurdiboluc Reservoir lately.

Freshwater

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that occasional large brown are still being taken; including one of 4.5 kg that was caught last week by an angler casting a Rapala bibbed minnow along the weed bed edges. Others browns were taken on the fly by Frank Gadea with the time honoured “woolly bugger.”

John also mentions that a 1.5 kg brook trout captured on a Rapala bibbed minnow in the redfin colouration, on being cleaned, was found to have swallowed a soft plastic lure, also in the redfin colouration; make of that what you may.

Redfin still remain the main catch though said John with Terry Haig and Peter Kelly cleaning up on fish from 600 grams to 1.2 kg over the weekend using scrubworms and minnow for bait.

The weather being as it was last week, there were only two days that permitted fishing on nearby Lake Bullen Merri, and even then, there were only a handful of anglers, the most successful again being fly fishermen taking chinook salmon and brown trout on smelt patterns during those evenings.

Portland

With a reasonable forecast, Bob McPherson and George Gereige headed out into 500 metres of water where they hoped to do well on the bottom fish. Unfortunately though, the weather turned sour, but not before they caught a couple of blue eye trevalla, a pink ling and several blue grenadier.

Heading back in, they found the seas calmer, and in 150 metres of water tried for a Tasmanian trumpeter or two, but a handful of red, or slimy cod, was their only reward.

However, Bob mentions that the Lee Breakwater is now open to the public following recent maintenance, and with recent rough weather, anglers may find good size snapper on offer.

One of the sevengilled sharks caught, and then released, by Andrew Johnson from Corio Bay’s outer harbour.

One of the sevengilled sharks caught, and then released, by Andrew Johnson from Corio Bay’s outer harbour.

Roman asks:

Geoff, I fished for snapper in the Corio Bay outer harbour recently, but after dark, sea lice became a problem, taking virtually the whole bait within minutes. Can you suggest a solution?

Roman; considering, that a bait buoyed some 2 metres above the bottom will usually remain lice free, adding floatation to the bait with a short length of 10 mm diameter cell foam gap filler, and secured with a couple of small cable ties so it floats, should do the trick. Naturally, you will need to fix a small sinker two metres or so up your line to prevent the bait from floating back to the surface.

Something I noticed while night fishing for snapper in Shark Bay, West Australia, was that while the lice would eat the eyes, and most of the flesh off the whiting heads we were using for bait, leaving little more than the shell, the snapper would still take such denuded baits; so using fish heads for bait may also be worth considering.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Stuart Scott with the 7.2 kg snapper he caught from Corio Bay last week.

Stuart Scott with the 7.2 kg snapper he caught from Corio Bay last week.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

With last week’s strong north westerlies and choppy seas, Stuart Scott fished offshore from the Mountain View Quarries alone, and it wasn’t long before he hooked a good size snapper. Unfortunately though, it escaped when the hook pulled free.

Come nightfall, with a rear anchor over the side to stop his boat swinging on the main anchor rope and tangling his lines, Stuart hadn’t long to wait before hooking a second snapper, which – as luck would have it – became entangled with said rear anchor line.

Eventually though, the complex task of retrieving the rear anchor line with the snapper attached, along with the judicious use of a landing net, was accomplished with Stuart boating a snapper that weighed 7.2 kg.

Taking a run along the west side of the Wilson Spit on Sunday, Andrew Johnson and Brodie Bell picked up some promising readings on the sounder before anchoring up.

While they did catch several unwanted species, at around 10.45 am, Andrew caught a 5 kg snapper that took a fillet taken from a mullet that Brodie had previously caught from the Sheepwash. They would have stayed longer save for the strengthening breeze.

Frank Galea with the 31 kg gummy shark that he caught offshore from Torquay on Sunday (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Frank Galea with the 31 kg gummy shark that he caught offshore from Torquay on Sunday (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Offshore

Welcoming a break in the weather on Sunday, Kevin McLoughlin, along with Brian Nolan and Frank Galea fished on around 30 metres of water off Torquay where their catch included a southern calamari that weighed 3 kg and a school shark of 31 kg.

There are also good numbers of small barracouta offshore as Simon Werner could attest after being plagued by these toothy critters offshore from Ocean Grove at the weekend.

Michael Evans with a 61 cm brown trout that he caught from Wurdiboluc Reservoir on a bibbed minnow (Picture: Michael Evans).

Michael Evans with a 61 cm brown trout that he caught from Wurdiboluc Reservoir on a bibbed minnow (Picture: Michael Evans).

Michael Evans with a redfin that he caught from Wurdiboluc Reservoir on Sunday (Picture: Michael Evans).

Michael Evans with a redfin that he caught from Wurdiboluc Reservoir on Sunday (Picture: Michael Evans).

Freshwater

Fishing Wurdiboluc Reservoir – one of his favourite haunts – over the weekend, Michael Evans’ catch included a 61 cm brown trout that weighed exactly 3kg on a bibbed minnow. Also using spoons, Michael caught several respectable redfin and two smaller brown trout.

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that a number of brown trout were caught last week and there were some good ones among them.

Fishing with soft plastics from Hoses Rocks was Ken Carmen of Camperdown whose catch included a brown trout weighing 4.5 kg.

Others to catch good size browns include Frank Gadea who caught one of 2.7 kg on the fly while fishing land based, releasing several others, and Kurt Rundle who caught one of 1.8 kg on a mudeye fished under a bubble float. However, redfin are still the main chance from Purrumbete said John, and among those to catch them were James and Kathy Reid who caught 30 or so from 800 grams to 1.2 kg.

Chris Hateley of the Keysborough Angling Club reports that the club had a competition at the Werribee River estuary on Sunday where members were surprised to see several large fish feeding at the surface. The mystery was solved when Club President Dave Jacobsen’s bass yabby was taken by a mulloway measuring 95 cm and weighing 7.5 kg, and which won the competition.

Lake Elingamite near Cobden, a notoriously difficult place from which to launch a boat has benefitted from recent rain t the point where small shallow draft boats can be launched by those not adverse negotiating the mud.

Among those to fish here over the weekend was Rod Shepherd who caught both brown and rainbow trout, along with a couple of redfin using both Damiki Saemi and Pontoon 21 Cablistas, but still mourning a big one that got away.

Alex Mordaunt (left) with the 72.5 kg tuna he caught aboard Sharkman Charters (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Alex Mordaunt (left) with the 72.5 kg tuna he caught aboard Sharkman Charters (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Bob McPherson reports that while patchy weather has kept most offshore enthusiasts ashore, there are still a few tuna off Portland with a 72.5 kg specimen being taken by Alex Mordaunt, a client of Sharkman Charters: “The hardest fighting fish I’ve caught” said Alex: No surprises there I’d say.

Keysborough Angling Club President Dave Jacobsen with his competition winning fish from the Werribee River on Sunday; a mulloway that measured 95 cm and weighed 7.5 kg (Picture: Chris Hateley).

Keysborough Angling Club President Dave Jacobsen with his competition winning fish from the Werribee River on Sunday; a mulloway that measured 95 cm and weighed 7.5 kg (Picture: Chris Hateley).

Norm asks:

Geoff, you mentioned an angler catching a tailor from the surf last week: I didn’t know we had tailor in our waters: How common are they?

Norm, while tailor are by no means plentiful in our waters, they are more common than most folk realize with the larger specimens being present in winter. Very few are caught by anglers though because their sharp teeth usually sever nylon traces, something for which barracouta and other toothy critters are usually blamed.

While most anglers fishing for salmon are not disturbed about losing a fish or two, attaching a flight of ganged hooks in sizes 3/0 or 4/0 – preferably with a twisted dropper loop to avoid them entangling the main line – will take both salmon and tailor. You can buy these already made up; if not from local tackle shops, then certainly from Ebay.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Leigh McAuliffe with the 11 kg snapper he caught from Corio Bay early last week.

Leigh McAuliffe with the 11 kg snapper he caught from Corio Bay early last week.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

With Corio Bay’s water temperature rising a full degree since the end of July, our resident snapper are now on offer; in fact several have been caught already. The biggest I know of so far was taken early last week by Leigh McAuliffe: Leigh’s fish measured a metre in length and weighed 11 kg and is now in the hands of a taxidermist.

Northerly winds also make for good land based snapper fishing from now on, and with that in mind on Saturday, Simon Werner headed down to the St Leonards boat ramp where he fished from the dividing jetty between the boat ramps, a spot that has produced snapper in these conditions previously. He didn’t catch a snapper on this occasion, but had one good bite that turned out to be a 52 cm flathead that finished on the plate.

Anthony Forster of Fisheries Victoria with a feisty little rainbow trout from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Anthony Forster of Fisheries Victoria with a feisty little rainbow trout from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Anthony Forster of Fisheries Victoria with a nice redfin from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Anthony Forster of Fisheries Victoria with a nice redfin from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Surf

Fishing the evening high tides at Jan Juc early last week, surf fishing enthusiast Tony Ingram caught a number of Australian salmon, the biggest approaching 2 kg, while using cut pilchards for bait. However, he had a narrow escape just after dark when he caught what he first thought was an even larger salmon.

Luckily, he realized in time that what he’d caught wasn’t a salmon at all, but a tailor that bit through his leader just as he was about to pick it up: It wouldn’t have been the first time a local surf fisherman had made that mistake and paid the price in blood.

Nick Vasiljevic with the 3.55 kg brown trout he caught from Lake Wendouree at Ballarat.

Nick Vasiljevic with the 3.55 kg brown trout he caught from Lake Wendouree at Ballarat.

Anthony Forster of Fisheries Victoria with a brown trout from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Anthony Forster of Fisheries Victoria with a brown trout from Lake Toolondo (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Freshwater

Lake Wendouree at Ballarat has produced a good many brown trout better than two kilograms in recent years, but the 3.55 kg beauty taken recently by Nick Vasiljevic shows that this water is capable of producing trophy size fish for those prepared for the challenge.

Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters reports that as of last Thursday, Lake Toolondo has benefitted from 5000 gigalitres of water from Rocklands Reservoir, and with the channel still open, there is more on the way.

Last week, Trevor fished Lake Toolondo with Anthony Forster of Fisheries Victoria who took a triple-treat of brown and rainbow trout and redfin using Ima Flit and OSP Bent Minnows.

Trevor also fished Toolondo with Michael Evans where their catch included a respectable redfin on a Fish Arrow soft plastic, followed by another strike that turned out to be a 3.6 kg European Carp that also took the same lure.

Following encouraging reports of good fishing on Lake Wallace at Edenhope, the pair also fished there to be rewarded with a brown trout and a rainbow, each weighing 1.2 kg.

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that redfin have been on offer with some great catches being taken: Ashley and James Reid from Altona took home 15 kilograms of redfin fillets following their two days of fishing with scrubworms and soft plastics. Also successful was Stan Rae of Norlane who took a respectable catch of redfin with much the same approach.

John mentions that a buy, swap and sell event is being held at the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park on Saturday. The event is to benefit the Beyond Blue foundation. For more details please ring John on 0438 682 765 or email lakepurrumbeteholidaypark@hotmail.com for details.

Michael Evans with a 1.2 kg rainbow trout from Lake Wallace at Edenhope (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Michael Evans with a 1.2 kg rainbow trout from Lake Wallace at Edenhope (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Michael Evans with a nice redfin taken on a Fish Arrow Soft Plastic (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Michael Evans with a nice redfin taken on a Fish Arrow Soft Plastic (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Jason asks?

Geoff, I am confused over the terms trawling and trolling. Is there a difference or are they both the same?

Jason, although these terms are often confused, and misused, trawling specifically refers to the commercial harvesting of fish by towing of a sock-like net behind a vessel. The mouth of the net is spread by means of paravanes – often referred to as otter boards – that are similar in function to those used on mine-sweeping vessels in times of war. No response from the fish is necessary; they are simply engulfed.

On the other hand, trolling refers to fishing, either recreationally, or commercially – as our erstwhile generation of barracouta fishermen did at Queenscliff and Lorne – but, unlike trawling, trolling requires a response from the fish to be successful: Trolling refers specifically to the towing of lures, or suitably rigged baits, behind a boat with the intention of eliciting strikes from fish.

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