Geoff’s Fishing Report

Martin de Lange with the rock flathead he caught at Limeburners Point.
Martin de Lange with the rock flathead he caught at Limeburners Point.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

After catching several Australian salmon for bait on Saturday, Murray and Linda Stewart anchored offshore from the old Alcoa site at Point Henry, hopeful of catching a snapper.

A good move as it turned out, for at 11.30 am, Murray caught a nice one that later weighed 6.5 kg. Following that, Linda hooked a similar size fish which unfortunately, fouled her line on the outboard’s propeller and escaped.

A strong southerly breeze early last week discouraged most anglers, but Martin de Lange, who was the sole angler fishing from the outer wall of Limeburners Point breakwater, caught a rock flathead over a kilogram using mussel for bait.

Bellarine Peninsula locals, Noel and Kirt Brehan, could have been accused of seeking greener pastures, after first launching at Clifton Springs before heading to Altona where they had been told that snapper were on the bite.

Initially they had no luck at all, but after heading out into deeper water they hit pay dirt catching four snapper to 4.5 kg, which provided a degree of dignity for their long journey.

With an improvement in the weather last week, Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that flathead from legal size to 45 cm were caught in good numbers with Kane Kline and his son Ryder among the successful anglers. Rachel Spiteri and her Dad also caught flathead and picked up a gummy shark or two out toward the No 10 Wilson Spit channel marker.

Squid have been on offer said Mike, but whiting have been scarce. Never the less Simon and Felicity Roberts caught several, along with some legal size pinkies, offshore from Point Wilson.

Also successful were whiting aficionados Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien who took a respectable bag of 30, along with two good size flathead, in 3.5 metres of water off Curlewis, but only after making a number of unsuccessful moves.

Murray Stewart with his snapper from Corio Bay (Picture: Linda Stewart).
Murray Stewart with his snapper from Corio Bay (Picture: Linda Stewart).


Indented Head

The Indented Head Boat Ramp is currently closed as extensive refurbishments have begun. How long the process will take is hard to say, but current estimates are that it will probably be two months or so before this facility is in use again.

Barwon Heads

After catching a number of mullet to use as live bait on Saturday, Simon Werner and Jake Callahan headed upstream from the Sheepwash, hopeful of catching a mulloway or two toward the high tide: Not in vain as it turned out for they caught four from 70 to 80 cm, releasing two and keeping one each.

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that redfin are still on the go and putting smiles on the faces of folk like Winchelsea’s George Gillies who had the time of his life catching redfin to a kilogram or so while out on the lake with John.

Others to do well include Joe and Kurt Rundell from Albion, Ashley Cadwell from Geelong and Dorian Do and Jennifer Ho from Clayton, the majority of whom fished with live minnow at the bottom while others used a variety of lures including Nories Power Shad, Wasabi spoons and various soft plastics.

Ben Johnson and Lockie Wombell with a sample of their blue eye trevalla catch. (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Ben Johnson and Lockie Wombell with a sample of their blue eye trevalla catch. (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Taking advantage of good weather last week, Bob McPherson, along with Ben Johnson and Lockie Wombell, were onto the blue eye trevalla in around 500 metres of water when the retrieve came to a sudden halt and line began peeling from the reel.

Bob said, that it’s quite common for fish to be taken from the line on the way up, but – whatever this was – must have become entangled in the line because it was 15 minutes or so before they were able to break it free.

Ken asks:

Geoff, reading you book “Bream, Flathead and Mulloway,” I was intrigued by your mention of building of a tea tree bough to catch spider crabs within estuaries. Once built, do you have to bait it?

Ken, they are called tea tree boughs but a collection of any small branches up to 1.5 cm in diameter, along with some large stones within to sink it, can be bound together to form a cylindrical bundle or bough some 20 cm in diameter and perhaps 60 cm in length.

The bough is then wrapped in chicken wire, which is secured with cable or wire ties. This is to provide sufficient rigidity to the bough when shaken, end first, into a bucket to release the crabs that have gone inside for protection from the fish you are seeking.

Baiting the bough is not necessary, but the line running from the bank down to the bough’s hauling line should be totally unobtrusive, otherwise your good work will benefit opportunists, who unfortunately, are constantly on the lookout for such benefits.

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.

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Aaron Habgood with one of the squid he caught off Queenscliff at the weekend (Picture: Aaron Habgood).
Aaron Habgood with one of the squid he caught off Queenscliff at the weekend (Picture: Aaron Habgood).
Greg Taylor with his 3 kg whiting from Fowlers Bay, South Australia.
Greg Taylor with his 3 kg whiting from Fowlers Bay, South Australia.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Anchored up in 8 metres of water off the refinery at Corio on Friday afternoon were Andrew Phillips and George Uranus. Others were anchored nearby, but with no sign of action, things didn’t look too promising.

But after berleying heavily and using squid for bait, they were rewarded with a snapper of 4 kg at 5.30. Banjo sharks became a nuisance after that, but they stuck it out and at 7.30, they caught another snapper of 4.5 kg.

Making a mid morning start off the Dell at Clifton Springs on Friday, Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien caught 18 good size whiting in 3.8 metres of water in just over half an hour, but after that, things went quiet. Eventually, after moving into deeper water, they caught another 6 whiting and four beautiful flathead, the biggest measuring 45 cm.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire also reports the whiting have been patchy, but among those to catch them were Travis Roach, Craig Lawler and Shayne Bridges who found a good patch out in front of the boat ramp and took fish to 41 cm.

Damien Aquilina, who fished near the mussel farm off The Springs had the good fortune to catch four good size rock flathead and a 44 cm whiting.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that Portarlington Pier has been crowded following captures of whiting and good size pinkie snapper lately with most of the action happening toward evening.

And it’s been busy on the water as well said Rod, with gummy shark coming in from 12 to 14 metres of water and flathead being taken in good numbers on the drift, along with an occasional catch of whiting.

Most of the whiting have been taken toward evening though with old hands Jeff Richards and Ken Shae picking up 18 especially good fish, the biggest measuring 44 cm, from 4 metres of water off Indented Head just on dark.

Sam Donaldson with one of the tuna he caught east of Portland last week (Picture: Jake Donaldson).
Sam Donaldson with one of the tuna he caught east of Portland last week (Picture: Jake Donaldson).
Jake Donaldson with one of the tuna that he and his brother Sam caught off Portland last week (Picture: Sam Donaldson).
Jake Donaldson with one of the tuna that he and his brother Sam caught off Portland last week (Picture: Sam Donaldson).

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Caravan Park reports that redfin have been the main chance on Purrumbete with Ryan Perkins and Sammy Giles, both 10, and Harry Stanford 6, from Bannockburn along with Josh Frazer 11, from Norlane, racking up a decent tally. Rob Giles of Bannockburn caught the biggest weighing 1.14 kg.

Nearby Lake Bullen Merri has suffered an algal bloom but continues to produce fish. Among those to do well here was Maz Stolowski of Werribee who counted two chinook salmon of 3 kg apiece among the seven that he caught trolling Tassie Devil lures behind a downrigger at 9 metres.

Bill Zahra of Altona also did well on the chinook said John, using the same process but with saltwater pilchards instead of lures.

Max McKenzie with a 7.8 kg snapper that he caught at 4.30 pm on Sunday from the Lee Breakwater using tuna for bait (Picture: Portland Bait and Tackle).
Max McKenzie with a 7.8 kg snapper that he caught at 4.30 pm on Sunday from the Lee Breakwater using tuna for bait (Picture: Portland Bait and Tackle).
Lockie Wombell with a blue eye trevalla taken off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Lockie Wombell with a blue eye trevalla taken off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Tuna have been a big attraction at Portland lately with good size fish being caught as close as 14 kilometres east of the harbour. Among those to get amongst the action last week were Sam and Jacob Donaldson who bagged out on more than one occasion.

The tuna seem to be widespread with Steve O’Keefe and Riley Norris picking up one off Warrnambool that weighed 20.3 kg after being gilled and gutted.

Bob McPherson also reports that land based anglers have caught good size snapper from the Lee Breakwater lately. Among them was Max McKenzie who caught a snapper of 7.8 kg from here at 4.30 on Sunday afternoon using locally caught tuna for bait.

Hugh Johnstone with one of the good size salmon to be caught at Portland at the moment (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Hugh Johnstone with one of the good size salmon to be caught at Portland at the moment (Picture: Bob McPherson).


Fishing Trip at McLeod’s Waterholes, Drysdale

Ninety one children and adults contested the event at McLeods Waterholes in Drysdale on 22/02/17. Twelve European carp were caught with a total weight of 8.86 kg. The biggest, at 1.69 kg was caught by 7yr old Xavier Dean. Runner up was10 yr old Jack Inderberg with one of 1.662 Kg.

Flathead Challenge

Thirty eight contestants fished the flathead competition hosted by the Bellarine Pirates and St Leonards Angling Clubs at Clifton Springs on 28/01/17. The heaviest fish weighed 1.12 kg and was taken by Mark Stalio who was awarded the $200 cash prize for the biggest flathead taken. The $100 door prize was won by Grace Scaffidi.

Jeremy asks:

Geoff, how big do King George whiting grow? I’ve seen reports that they are being caught to more than 50 cm at Portland.

Yes Jeremy, they are: The biggest whiting to be featured in my column was on 06/02/2003. It was caught during an ANSA competition at Portland by Graeme Bate of Lara and weighed 1.76 kg on digital scales and would have been well over 50 cm.

However, last Tuesday. whiting enthusiast, Jack Blyth, sent me a photo of a 3 kg whiting that was caught at Fowlers Bay, South Australia by Greg Taylor. It was probably well over 70 cm, but they grow even bigger than that. The photo of that fish can be viewed by Googling “Al’s Bait & Tackle Fowlers Bay Whiting”.

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Keryn Millard with a pair of the big flathead that she and her father Dean caught on the drift off Portland (Picture: Dean Millard).
Keryn Millard with a pair of the big flathead that she and her father Dean caught on the drift off Portland (Picture: Dean Millard).
Tom Ninevicxs with his catch of tuna from Julia Reef, east of the Portland Harbour in 23 metres of water (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Tom Ninevicxs with his catch of tuna from Julia Reef, east of the Portland Harbour in 23 metres of water (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Making several moves in their search for whiting at the weekend, Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien eventually struck a good patch in 3.8 metres of water off The Dell at Clifton Springs. Here, using pipis and squid for bait, they each took bag limit catches, several in excess of 40 cm.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Spring Boat Hire also reports that a number of anglers have done well on the whiting; among them Michael Cave and Charlie Gubbins whose daybreak start paid off with not only 39 whiting to 42 cm, but fifteen respectable flathead as well.

Gummy shark have also been present, and among those to catch them was Ryan Booth whose 1.09 metre specimen from Portarlington, took a pilchard.

On Thursday evening, Jeff Richards, Ken Shae and George Cumming headed out into 4 metres of water off Indented, where as well the cuttlefish Jeff brought out with him, they first caught several squid for bait, hopeful of catching a few whiting.

As it turned out they caught 30 whiting, with some really good ones among them; most being caught on the cuttlefish.

Ryan Booth with his gummy shark.
Ryan Booth with his gummy shark.
Bob McPherson caught this large aero squid from 550 metres of water off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Bob McPherson caught this large aero squid from 550 metres of water off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Offshore

Kingfish have been present offshore, mainly from Barwon Heads to Point Lonsdale; most being of modest size. However, Michael Moore of Trelly’s Tackle World recently caught one of 21.8 kg offshore from Ocean Grove after baiting up with a large slimy mackerel that he’d caught.

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Caravan Park reports that while redfin are still the main catch, mainly on live minnow, anglers trolling with lures behind downriggers on the lake have taken both brown and rainbow trout, along with the occasional brook trout.

Michael Cave with a mixed bag of whiting and flathead taken by him and Charlie Gubbins (Picture: Mike Windsor).
Michael Cave with a mixed bag of whiting and flathead taken by him and Charlie Gubbins (Picture: Mike Windsor).
One of the blue-eye trevalla taken offshore from Portland by Bob McPherson and Lockie Wombell at the weekend
One of the blue-eye trevalla taken offshore from Portland by Bob McPherson and Lockie Wombell at the weekend

Portland

Picking a break in the weather early last week, Dean and Keryn Millard headed out into 80 metres of water off Portland where they began bottom bouncing on their drift. After a slow start, they struck a patch of flathead of which they caught quite a few, half a dozen of which topped the 60 cm mark.

Bob McPherson reports that tuna have been a big attraction off Portland, and they’ve been caught from Portland’s north shore, east to Julia Reef. Tom Ninevicxs was among a good many anglers take bag limit catches last week with some fish better than 20 kg.

Fishing off Narrawong to the north east of Portland, Daniel Stranger and Rick Cockerel were hopeful of finding kingfish. There was nothing doing there, but they did catch a barracouta, which Daniel suggested might tempt a shark at anchor. He was right on the money there and with Rick soon hooked a whaler shark that eventually greeted the scales for a verdict of 128 kg.

Rick Cockerel and Daniel Stranger with their whaler shark off Narrawong.
Rick Cockerel and Daniel Stranger with their whaler shark off Narrawong.

Fishing competition

On Saturday 28/01/17, the St Leonards and Bellarine Pirates Angling Clubs are hosting a flathead fishing competition on Corio Bay and the Bellarine Peninsula. The entry fee is $10.00 and the headquarters will be at the Clifton Springs boat ramp.

Fishing is permitted from 6.00 pm on Friday, and fish may be weighed in from 10.00 am until 4.00 pm on Saturday. There are valuable prizes to be won, including a cash prize of $200.00 for the heaviest flathead. Prior registration with secretary.fish@bigpond.com is required: For more information, phone Phil on 0411 215 146.

T.J. asks:

Hi Geoff, Just hoping you can help me with the best method of using pipis for bait. I must be doing something wrong, because although I get plenty of bites, the fish get them off. What is the most effective way of keeping them on the hook?

T.J. Baiting with pipis, cockles, in fact all bivalve molluscs, can be challenging, but if you first thread the hook with the hard white ligament attached to the shell, push it up over the hook and up your trace, then you can wind the softer portion of the mollusc down around the shank of your hook several times before impaling it with the point.

Alternatively, you could use a bait-elastic like Ghost Cocoon to bind your bait to the hook, but it does accumulate after a while, something which makes it advisable to carry a small pair of fishing scissors to trim off the excess.

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Matt Tattersall with a blue shark that he and Justin Latter caught offshore from Barwon Heads last week.
Matt Tattersall with a blue shark that he and Justin Latter caught offshore from Barwon Heads last week.
Tony Busher with a nice whiting taken off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Tony Busher with a nice whiting taken off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

With snapper slow-going on Corio Bay’s outer harbour, Thursday evening’s full moon saw Andrew Phillips and George Uranus at anchor in eight metres of water offshore from the refinery, anticipating the forthcoming low tide change.

A good move as it turned out for they caught a snapper of about 6 kg at 11.45 pm and another slightly smaller fish at 1.30 am.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that fishing had picked up over the past week or so with Andrew Johnson and Brodie Bell teaching a dozen or so good size pinkies a tough catch and release lesson with soft plastics off Point Richards.

That was on Thursday afternoon. On Wednesday afternoon, Noel, Kirt, Matt and Mitchell Behan, found the whiting in 5.5 metres of water off Spray Farm, taking 30 fish to 40 cm.

Fishing in much the same area were Will Stevens and Goran Vijator who also picked up 30 whiting using pipis and prawns for bait.

Mike also mentions that the new jetty at Clifton Springs has attracted a good many hopefuls with both flathead and bream on offer from here, particularly toward dusk.

Column contributor Jeff Richards’ brother David sought advice – which was duly given – on where he and friends Scott and Harry Smith, might pick up a few good size whiting on Wednesday afternoon, and perhaps a squid or two.

As recommended, Drapers Reef in front of the Sea Pilots Jetty provided the squid they sought for bait, while the grass beds off Swan Island provided 37 whiting; the biggest measuring 44 cm.

In fact the Swan Island grass beds have provided reliable whiting fishing for some time now: On Sunday, Daniel Stranger of Gone Fishing Charter picked up 43 beauties from 6 metres of water for his clients out here on the ebb tide.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that flathead remain the best chance around the Bellarine Peninsula with respectable catches still coming in: And his friend Kevin Carty had a story to tell:

After paddling a large bait out from Thirteenth Beach with his kayak early last week, Kevin was hopeful of hooking a shark, and on returning to shore, found he had already done so.

Startling nearby surfers – first, as it leaped from the water as Kevin patiently gained line, and again as Kevin set it free at the water’s edge – it did attract some less than friendly comments, but as the shark was about two and half metres in length, his options were limited.

Lockie Wombell and Hugh Johnstone with a sample of their weekend’s whiting catch (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Lockie Wombell and Hugh Johnstone with a sample of their weekend’s whiting catch (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Judith and Jason Sillato with their mixed bag of flathead and whiting off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Judith and Jason Sillato with their mixed bag of flathead and whiting off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Offshore

Picking a break in the weather last week Matt Tattersall and Justin Latter headed out from Barwon Heads where they began a drift in around 50 metres of water. At first there was nothing doing, but an inquisitive blue shark of around two metres long appeared in their berley and was tempted to take a bait.

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Caravan Park reports that among those to catch brown trout from Lake Purrumbete was Bill Zahra of Altona who picked up two at 2.7 kg apiece while trolling a lure behind a down-rigger early on Sunday morning.

John also mentions that good size redfin rewarded Geelong anglers Terry Lindsay and Norm Armstrong, both of whom took good catches to a kilogram or so using minnow for bait.

On Sunday evening, John took Angus Robinson 15, from Altona, and Hanna Phillips 12, from Portland, out on the redfin and they too did well with the same approach.


Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson – along with Lockie Wombell, Hugh Johnson and Tony Busher – was onto the whiting off Portland again with some really big fish among them. However, there was standing room only at the cleaning tables at times with the wide variety, and number of fish being taken here at the weekend.

Fishing competition

Next Sunday (22/01/17), the St Leonards Angling Club is hosting a fishing competition at McLeod’s Waterhole off Wyndham St, Drysdale (Melway ref. 456 G10) along with a free sausage sizzle. European carp are on offer and the wearing of gumboots is suggested.

The event is sponsored by the State Government’s Economic Development sector with Fishcare Victoria in attendance to provide advice, along with fishing tackle and bait if required. Contact either Phil on 0411 215 146 or Bruce on 0428 988 898 for more details.

Ollie asks:

Geoff, I keep hearing about snapper being taken over the “deep mud” off Portarlington, or is it Indented Head? Can you please tell me where it is, or even give me a GPS mark?

Ollie, the deep mud is a general term given to the whole area off the Prince George Bank between Portarlington and the Great Sand off St Leonards. I’m sure there are many productive GPS marks, but I suggest you try WGS84 ref 144 47 500 E X 38 08 700 S off Indented Head or WGS84 ref 144 48 500 E X 38 10 800 S off St Leonards.

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Greg Staynes with the bluefin tuna that he caught offshore from Point Lonsdale at Port Phillip Heads on Thursday.
Greg Staynes with the bluefin tuna that he caught offshore from Point Lonsdale at Port Phillip Heads on Thursday.
Aaron Habgood with his big gummy shark off Port Phillip Heads (Picture: Aaron Habgood).
Aaron Habgood with his big gummy shark off Port Phillip Heads (Picture: Aaron Habgood).

An early start paid off for Jarrod Quin of Ocean Grove Charters, and his client Greg Staynes on Thursday morning when they encountered a shoal of bluefin tuna off Port Phillip Heads from Point Lonsdale at around 6.30 am on the incoming tide.

Manoeuvring into position, they soon had a double hook-up on the Pakula micro uzi lures they were trolling; dropping one while Greg remained tight on his, which eventually greeted the scales at Queenscliff for a verdict of 10.2 kg.

Lockie Wombell with yet another good size whiting off Blacknose Point at Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Lockie Wombell with yet another good size whiting off Blacknose Point at Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Lockie Wombell with a good size blue eye trevalla taken offshore from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Lockie Wombell with a good size blue eye trevalla taken offshore from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that anglers are spoiled for choice with tuna to 20 kg or so within 15 km east of the harbour, and with kingfish on offer as well.

Lockie Wombell with a good size gemfish taken offshore from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Lockie Wombell with a good size gemfish taken offshore from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
One of Lockie’s gemfish after being “chonked” on the way up (Picture: Bob McPherson).
One of Lockie’s gemfish after being “chonked” on the way up (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Bob invents new word

Meanwhile Bob, and his pal Lockie Wombell, have been hard to tempt away from the whiting in the lee of Cape Grant and off Blacknose Point. However, with some good weather last week, they headed out wide into 480 metres of water where they caught both blue-eye trevalla and gemfish, one of the latter, Bob describes as being “chonked” on the way up. Well, there’s a bit of “chonking” going on lately with so many sharks about.

Aaron Habgood with his whiskered shark (Picture: Aaron Habgood).
Aaron Habgood with his whiskered shark (Picture: Aaron Habgood).
Cameron Habgood with his thresher shark prior to release (Picture: Aaron Habgood).
Cameron Habgood with his thresher shark prior to release (Picture: Aaron Habgood).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that the fishing has slowed down as it usually does at this time of year, but there are still a few pinkie snapper about, particularly around the channel junction off Curlewis, along with a few whiting in much the same area.

Peter Clark found a shoal of whiting out here in six metres of water, while most of the other whiting seekers fed the toadfish that were soon onto their baits. Likewise, with the snapper scarce, rays have been taking those larger baits intended for snapper.

Historically the best place to find good size snapper in January is out on the deep mud off Portarlington, Indented Head and St Leonards where Jason Treloar and Tony Ingram picked up three fish, the biggest just on 6 kg on Friday morning’s high tide change.

Using the freshly caught mackerel they’d manage to berley up after putting down the anchor in just on 20 metres of water off St Leonards, they had their first fish by 8.30 or so, the other two following within the next half hour. But after losing their next couple of fish – almost certainly “chonked” by a shark – they called it quits.

Whiting fishermen are still doing well off the Swan Island Grass beds in 6 metres of water at Queenscliff, Here, Aaron Habgood and his crew continue to prevail, as was clearly evidenced by some of the photos he sent in.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire reports that flathead have been the main catch with fewer whiting and squid greeting the cleaning table up until now, but gummy shark have been plentiful with Jake Callahan and his son Beau among those to find them off Indented Head as did Steve and Joey Carr.

And, speaking of gummies, Daniel Stranger of Gone Fishing Charter struck pay dirt in 15 metres of water off Queenscliff for his client Casey Bandy who caught one that would have been at least 20 kg; he also dropped another of possibly the same size.

Aaron Habgood and his brother Cameron fished offshore from Port Phillip Heads where they too encountered large gummy sharks; Aaron also caught a much less common whiskery shark of 15 kg, which is similar to a gummy except for some markings on the body – and significantly – a mouthful of razor sharp teeth. Cameron also caught a small thresher shark that was also released.

Unknown lady angler with a 2 kg chinook salmon from Lake Bullen Merri week.
Unknown lady angler with a 2 kg chinook salmon from Lake Bullen Merri week.
Basil Wentworth with a 1.3 kg redfin from Lake Purrumbete (Picture John Clements).
Basil Wentworth with a 1.3 kg redfin from Lake Purrumbete (Picture John Clements).

Freshwater

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Caravan Park reports taking a 1.5 kg redfin amongst his catch on Thursday evening. Others to catch them include Basil Wentworth and Stan Rae who also racked up a good tally on live minnow.

However, it was the Bannockburn crew of Ryan Perkins and Sammy Giles, both 10, Harry Stanford 6 and Lachlan Grove, who really cleaned up from the jetty. Although most of their fish were a bit on the small side, they did include a couple of nice ones around the kilogram mark.

John Clements 1.5 kg redfin from Lake Purrumbete on Thursday evening (Picture John Clements).
John Clements 1.5 kg redfin from Lake Purrumbete on Thursday evening (Picture John Clements).
Lachlan Grove with his Monday morning’s redfin from Lake Purrumbete (Picture John Clements). .
Lachlan Grove with his Monday morning’s redfin from Lake Purrumbete (Picture John Clements). .

Rudi asks:

Geoff, my son and I were trolling our new Rapala X Raps offshore from Thirteenth Beach with no real expectation of hooking anything, but we had an almighty strike that nearly emptied the reel before the hooks pulled free: What could it have been?

Rudi, in my opinion it was probably a thresher shark, a species often found relatively close to shore at this time of year. They often leap from the water when hooked in the mouth, but those caught on lures are usually hooked by the tail and don’t jump.

Another possibility I suppose, is that it could have been a tuna; there have been a few of those about as well, but I’d bet on it being a thresher shark.

Geoff’s Fishing Report

David Lees with the bream he caught from the Barwon estuary upstream from Lake Connewarre (Picture Sean Dennis).
David Lees with the bream he caught from the Barwon estuary upstream from Lake Connewarre (Picture Sean Dennis).
Kevin McLoughlin with another small mako shark taken off Black Rock and then released (Picture Kevin McLoughlin).
Kevin McLoughlin with another small mako shark taken off Black Rock and then released (Picture Kevin McLoughlin).

Barwon River

After going to the trouble of collecting some crabs for bait, David Lees and Sean Dennis took their small boat upstream from Lake Connewarre toward the second break on the Barwon estuary. Here, David’s catch included a bream of 1.14 kg; a good fish certainly, but perhaps not as big as one that Sean hooked, but which unfortunately, escaped.


Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

With fresh squid for bait, snapper aficionados Andrew Phillips and George Uranus were anchored in 8 metres of water just west of the Wilson Spit by 4.00 pm last Tuesday, and their first fish, a snapper of 4.9 kg, was in the landing net within half an hour.

With a second snapper of 4.2 kg coming aboard at 6.30, and the north westerly wind following the outgoing tide, they looked set for a comfortable evening’s fishing. But then, the wind swung to the east, strengthening as it did so, so they came back in.

Fishing for snapper at the weekend, this time on the east side of the Wilson Spit, were Simon Werner, son Jayden, Jemma Thorpe and neighbour Alan. They also caught several snapper, the biggest being taken by Jemma at 4.5 kg.

Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien found the whiting slower than usual off The Springs over the weekend, catching only a dozen good size fish between them; but that would have kept most of the punters happy.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire also reports that the exceptional fishing we’ve experienced until now, dropped off over the weekend but holiday makers and locals are still catching enough flathead, whiting and squid to ensure their return.

Mike also mentions that the additional vehicle and trailer parking space at the ramp is now completed.

Rod Ludlow at Beach Lea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that no place was safe on New Year’s Eve; with many illegal fireworks landing too close for comfort at Indented Head. Apart from that though, said Rod, the whiting still about.

Among those to catch them were Ken Shae and George Hill who were dead ringers for bag limit catches on Friday morning in 4 metres of water off Indented Head, but the worsening weather had them heading back to the ramp with just fifteen good ones.

Marcus Pearson with one of the sharks, a small mako taken in 50 metres of water off the Black Rock outfall (Picture Kevin McLoughlin).
Marcus Pearson with one of the sharks, a small mako taken in 50 metres of water off the Black Rock outfall (Picture Kevin McLoughlin).
Brian Nolan and Marcus Pearson with another of the sharks – a bronze whaler this time – that they caught in 50 metres of water off the Black Rock outfall (Picture Kevin McLoughlin).
Brian Nolan and Marcus Pearson with another of the sharks – a bronze whaler this time – that they caught in 50 metres of water off the Black Rock outfall (Picture Kevin McLoughlin).

Offshore

Fishing offshore from the Black Rock outfall in 50 metres of water over the weekend were Kevin McLoughlin, Marcus Pearson and Brian Nolan. With baits of squid suspended under balloons they caught two small mako sharks, one of which they released.

Then Marcus hooked an obviously bigger fish from the bottom on a line rigged for a gummy shark. It eventually turned out to be a good size bronze whaler that kicked up a treat before they managed to subdue it.

Freshwater

John Clements reports that Lake Bullen Merri is still producing chinook salmon for anglers, while either bait fishing or trolling lures. John also mentions that regular angler Andrew Kompa, caught several while deep trolling pilchard fillets behind a downrigger.

At Lake Purrumbete, redfin have been on the bite said John, with Norm Armstrong catching 30 to a kilogram or so on minnow fished at the bottom. A large number of smaller redfin have been also been caught from the jetty, with the Bannockburn crew of Ryan Perkins and Sammy Giles, both 10, and Harry Stanford 6, racking up a decent tally.

Lockie Wombell with four nice whiting taken close in to Cape Sir William Grant (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Lockie Wombell with four nice whiting taken close in to Cape Sir William Grant (Picture: Bob McPherson).
George Geriege, also with a good sample (Picture: Bob McPherson).
George Geriege, also with a good sample (Picture: Bob McPherson).


Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that really good size whiting are on the bite and that he, Lockie Wombell and George Gereige, have had no trouble bagging out off Blacknose Point and below the cliffs of Cape Grant using local pips for bait. Others have done well along the north shore as far down as Snapper Point.

Bob also reminds readers that yellowtail kingfish are due to turn up in the immediate future with several small specimens being taken already, along with one of 13 kg taken by Corey Joosen on a soft plastic down toward the abalone farm.

Lockie Wombell with a sweep; a regular by-catch while fishing for whiting under the cliffs of Cape Grant.
Lockie Wombell with a sweep; a regular by-catch while fishing for whiting under the cliffs of Cape Grant.
George Geriege and Lockie Wombell with a “double” off Portland over the weekend.
George Geriege and Lockie Wombell with a “double” off Portland over the weekend.

Late mail

Bob had mentioned that tuna had been sighted among shoals off kingfish off Portland’s north shore, and on Monday, send me pictures of four tuna to 20 kg or so that were caught that day by Manuel and Adam Vella. The pair also released another two tuna. These were taken on lures in 17 metres of water along Portland’s north shore.

Four tuna to 20 kg or so that were caught on Monday by Manuel and Adam Vella amongst a shoal of newly arrived kingfish along Portland’s north shore (Pictures: Bob McPherson).
Four tuna to 20 kg or so that were caught on Monday by Manuel and Adam Vella amongst a shoal of newly arrived kingfish along Portland’s north shore (Pictures: Bob McPherson).

Ahmed asks?

Geoff, where could we expect to find some good freshwater fishing at this time of year?

Ahmed, Lake Tooliorook near Lismore and Deep Lake near Derrinallum, both located along the Hamilton Highway, have been stocked with trout, and there are redfin in Tooliorook as well.

Heading out to Camperdown, Lake Purrumbete is worth a try, both for trout, chinook salmon and redfin, and – further up the road – you will find the turn-off to Lake Bullen Merri where trout and chinook salmon are both present in good numbers.

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).

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Red alert: Harvey Kilpatrick with the 63 cm snapper that he caught offshore from Portarlington last week (Picture: Greg Kilpatrick).
Red alert: Harvey Kilpatrick with the 63 cm snapper that he caught offshore from Portarlington last week (Picture: Greg Kilpatrick).
Brian Nolan and Andrew Moffat with their 80 kg mako shark taken near Lady Julia Percy Island (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).
Brian Nolan and Andrew Moffat with their 80 kg mako shark taken near Lady Julia Percy Island (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Launching at Point Richards last week, Greg Kilpatrick and his 12 year old son Harvey, went looking for fish on the sounder, but with no luck there, they anchored up in 8 metres of water and began berleying.

After about 40 minutes, pinkie snapper came on the bite and kept them busy throughout the afternoon, but then Harvey hooked a better fish that, at 63 cm, was the biggest of the five they kept, and his biggest snapper to date.

Launching off Point Richards at daybreak on Friday, Andrew Johnson and Will Davis, headed out to a usually reliable snapper spot for this time of year, and – in eleven metres of water – the sounder lit up, heralding the capture of six snapper to 4.5 kg.

Simon Werner, son Jayden and his friend Jemma caught a 6 kg fish among the pinkies they caught off Clifton Springs on Sunday.

However, they got a shock when a large shoal of snapper burst to the surface beside their boat, symptomatic of the fact that large sharks, mainly bronze whalers, give birth to their young – one of which Jayden caught that day – in Corio Bay at this time of year.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that good size pinkie snapper have been widespread with Steve Finning and Josh Lansbury-Lowe bringing in a dozen or so from Point Wilson using salted pilchards for bait. The pair also spotted a nearby shoal of Australian salmon, adding quite a few of those to their catch as well.

Whiting are still on the bite said Mike, with old hands Garry Ridgeway and Laurie (Doc) Alexander wasting no time bagging out near the mussel farm before executing a repeat performance on the squid.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that patchy weather has been the only stumbling block to good catches of squid and whiting.

Saturday in particular was tough going, but Andrew Phillips and Keith Fry were out off Indented Head by daybreak, and – fishing on the drift – they soon began picking up a squid or two. Eventually they had to put sinkers on their lines, so quick was the drift, but they caught 14 squid before virtually being blown off the water.

Whiting have been a bit slow said Rod, but on Friday, while fishing with squid for bait in 4 metres of water off Indented Head, Ken Shae and George Hill picked up 14 thumpers between them, their biggest measuring 44 cm.

Hugh Johnstone with a sample of the whiting that he, Tony Busher, and Bob McPherson caught off Blacknose Point over the weekend. (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Hugh Johnstone with a sample of the whiting that he, Tony Busher, and Bob McPherson caught off Blacknose Point over the weekend. (Picture: Bob McPherson).
 Dorz West with her Murray Cod, also on a spinnerbait (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).
Dorz West with her Murray Cod, also on a spinnerbait (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Offshore

Taking a run offshore from Portland, Kevin McLoughlin, Brian Nolan, and Andrew Moffat finished up near Lady Julia Percy Island where Brian hooked a mako shark that threw the hook. Not to be deterred, and despite its narrow escape, the mako returned to the bait and eventually greeted the scales for a verdict of 80 kg.

Good size whiting are on the bite at Portland and over the weekend, Hugh Johnstone (son of Johnno Johnstone, the new proprietor Portland Bait and Tackle), Tony Busher, and Bob McPherson picked up some really nice ones off Blacknose Point. Others reportedly did well along Portland’s north shore.

Cod almighty: Tony Blackford caught this 90 cm Murray Cod from Coller Bay, Lake Eildon, casting a four-bladed, black and orange, spinnerbait into the snags over the weekend (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).
Cod almighty: Tony Blackford caught this 90 cm Murray Cod from Coller Bay, Lake Eildon, casting a four-bladed, black and orange, spinnerbait into the snags over the weekend (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).
Trevor’s 80 cm cod on the spinnerbait (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).
Trevor’s 80 cm cod on the spinnerbait (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Freshwater

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Caravan Park reports that the lake has gone a bit quiet of late, but nearby Lake Bullen Merri continues to produce chinook salmon to a kilogram or so.

These have been taken both by anglers fishing from boats, and by those fishing land-based, either from the bank or from the jetty near the angler’s clubhouse. Pilchard fillets and whitebait have been producing the goods, but some have been caught from the bank on lures as well with Nories Laydown Minnow a standout.

Arriving at Coller Bay, Lake Eildon in preparation for the weekend’s clients, Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters headed out for a cast or two, but it was his third cast that came up tight on a Murray cod that gave no ground. Eventually becoming snagged, the cod escaped, but at least Trevor got his spinnerbait back.

Seemingly undamaged, the spinnerbait was cast out again for yet another heart-stopping strike. This time the fish was caught, measured at 80 cm, photographed, and then released.

Taking clients Tony Blackford and Chris Eddy into the strike zone next day, it wasn’t long before Tony caught a pearler that measured at 90 cm. That was followed by Chris bringing a similar size fish to the boat where it straightened out the spinnerbait’s hook in its final lunge for freedom.

It would seem the cod were becoming educated because – although their spinnerbaits were followed back to the boat a couple of times by mega size cod – they reneged on the gulp, and it soon became apparent they were having no more of the game.

An evening run with clients Charlie Koelman and Dorz West produced no more attention from the bigguns, but their captures included cod to 58 cm that were also caught on spinnerbaits, making a great end to an amazing day.

Also at Lake Eildon, Trevor took out Ben Humphrey and his mate Danny who were flicking out Ecogear ZX35 vibes on light tackle: After doing it tough for a while Ben landed this nice golden perch of 48 cm on the vibe (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).
Also at Lake Eildon, Trevor took out Ben Humphrey and his mate Danny who were flicking out Ecogear ZX35 vibes on light tackle: After doing it tough for a while Ben landed this nice golden perch of 48 cm on the vibe (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Geoff’s Fishing Report

Murray Scott and Ben King with a sample of their snapper catches.
Murray Scott and Ben King with a sample of their snapper catches.
Murray Scott with a sample of his snapper catch.
Murray Scott with a sample of his snapper catch.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

An early start from Avalon paid off for Murray Scott over the weekend, when – anchored up on the west side of the Wilson Spit in around eight metres of water – he had his bag-limit of snapper to 7 kg before sunrise.

He was by no means the only successful angler to arrive back at the Avalon boat ramp where Scott Smart, and his nine year old son Billy, also returned with snapper, as did Ben King with another bag-limit catch; each of their fish being caught on squid.

On Wednesday evening, Andrew Phillips and George Uranus had also anchored up in 8 metres of water on the west side of Wilson Spit hopeful of catching a snapper or two: They caught three as it turned out; the first, a fish of 3.5 kg was taken on dusk and followed by two more of 4.2 and 5.2 kg at 10.00 and 10.45 respectively.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that some species that are usually long gone by now are still present: Kim Gorell and Peter Beard picked up a couple of nice snook over the grass beds at The Springs, while Dick from Ballarat’s catch of silver whiting and flathead also included a dozen rock cod.

Following last week’s gale force winds, Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien tried their luck on the whiting off Point Wilson, but – although the ten that they caught were in the 38 to 40 cm range – they were a bit slow.

Then, they got a call from Noel and Kirt Behan who were into the whiting off Curlews; so, by early afternoon, they topped off their bag-limit over there; but these fish weren’t as big as those they’d caught earlier off Point Wilson.

At Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head, Rod Ludlow reports that whiting and squid were well and truly on the bite until Thursday’s gale force winds and rough seas. Among those to catch both on Wednesday were Jeff Richards and Ken Shae who caught eleven good size squid before the mid afternoon low tide change, after which they headed out into 4 metres of water after the whiting. A good move as it turned out, for – with the tide running in – they caught their bag-limit of thumpers, their biggest fish measuring 44 cm.

Mini mako: Sean Mayall with the mako shark he caught offshore from Port Phillip Heads (Photo Brad Andrews).
Mini mako: Sean Mayall with the mako shark he caught offshore from Port Phillip Heads (Photo Brad Andrews).
Good Start: Nine year old Billy Smart with the snapper he caught from Corio Bay over the weekend.
Good Start: Nine year old Billy Smart with the snapper he caught from Corio Bay over the weekend.


Offshore

Offshore from Port Phillip Heads in 28 metres of water, clients aboard Gone Fishing Charters were picking up mixed bags of fish, when Brad Andrews hooked a small mako shark of about 20 kg. Having already caught quite a few of those, Brad passed the rod to his friend Sean Mayall who finished up with mako on the menu.

Ben King at the Avalon boat ramp with a sample of his bag-limit catch.
Ben King at the Avalon boat ramp with a sample of his bag-limit catch.
Bailey Vermolen with the 7.8 kg snapper he caught from the Lee Breakwater at Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).
Bailey Vermolen with the 7.8 kg snapper he caught from the Lee Breakwater at Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).


Portland

Bob McPherson reports that good size snapper continue to be caught from the Lee Breakwater at Portland by those with the right approach: Among the successful anglers last week was Bailey Vermolen who caught one of 7.8 kg using squid for bait.

Gemfish

Further to Ashleigh’s question regarding gemfish regulations last week, I have since been informed that there is to be a daily catch limit of 5 (with no minimum length) introduced next year: Details are to be published in Victoria’s 2017 recreational fishing guide.

Brendan asks:

Geoff, I’ll be fishing off Portarlington during over Christmas with my friend who has a boat, and would really like to catch either a large snapper or gummy shark. I am not really sure where to fish or how to rig my line. Can you help please?

Brendan, assuming you’re shipshape with all of your safety gear, I suggest that fishing anywhere off the Prince George Bank, or even directly out from the Portarlington Pier – preferably in at least 12 metres of water – your chance of catching either species is good.

As for rigging your line, I suggest using a 50 cm trace of about twice the breaking strain of your main line with a hook (size 4/0 to 6/0) at one end and a swivel at the other. Your sinker – either a medium size ball or bean – is threaded onto the line to which your trace is tied; the hook baited then cast well out from the boat. After that, it’s a waiting game.