Geoff’s Fishing Report

Henry and Sophia Jankowski with the gummy shark they caught near the West Channel (Picture: Warren Jankowski).

Henry and Sophia Jankowski with the gummy shark they caught near the West Channel (Picture: Warren Jankowski).

Nick Tsavaris with one of the two gummy sharks that he caught of St Leonards (Picture: Renae Ciuffetelli).

Nick Tsavaris with one of the two gummy sharks that he caught of St Leonards (Picture: Renae Ciuffetelli).

With good weather on Saturday afternoon, Warren Jankowski, wife Pip, daughter Sophia 4, and son Henry 7, headed across to the West Channel from Queenscliff where, fishing on the drift, they caught four flathead and six squid.

Anchoring up nearby, and sacrificing one of their squid for bait in the hope of a bigger catch, it soon became clear that young Henry needed assistance to bring in the fish he’d hooked, which eventually turned out to be a hefty gummy shark; an exciting event for all.

Dean and Keryn Millard with a sample of their offshore catch (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Dean and Keryn Millard with a sample of their offshore catch (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Michael Golby with yet another blue eye trevalla (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Michael Golby with yet another blue eye trevalla (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Never shy about revealing the location of their late night snapper vigils on Corio Bay’s outer harbour, Andrew Phillips and George Uranus had seen very few boats out at night.

However, their arrival at the Clifton Springs boat ramp at around 1.00 am on Sunday, revealed several trailers in the parking lot, and – judging by the clearly visible anchor lights on their approach to “ground zero” – they had company.

The pair caught a snapper each – one of 4.2 kg and the other weighing 5 kg – using silver whiting for bait, before heading back to the ramp at about 5.00 am. If any others were successful, they certainly weren’t telling.

Fishing the Dell off Clifton Springs, after many a move early last week without finding a decent fish, Andrew Johnson finally took a bag limit catch on strips of squid, and – with a squid jig suspended just above the bottom – picked up a half dozen of those as well.

However, fortunes do change, for on Friday, he tried again with son Daniel, but – probably due to the discoloured water from the rain – they struggled to pick up a fish.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that anglers’ bags have included some respectable pinkie snapper of late. They’ve been a welcome sign said Mike, along with the flounder being speared in significant number by folk wading the shallows at night.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that squid remain the main catch, but some good catches of pinkie snapper and whiting have also been taken. Among the successful anglers on the whiting was David Mossop with bag of fish to 44 cm.

Adam Nikolovski and Renae Ciuffetelli made an early start off St Leonards over the weekend, and were on the drift for squid by first light: Successfully as it turned out for they soon had enough squid for the table, and for bait.

Taking a run into deeper water, and baiting up with some of their freshly caught squid, they added a 5 kg gummy shark to their bag. Fishing nearby was friend Nick Tsavaris, who caught two gummy sharks, each about the same size as Adam’s.

There are salmon a plenty just outside the Portland harbour, and on the cleaning tables (Picture: Bob McPherson).

There are salmon a plenty just outside the Portland harbour, and on the cleaning tables (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Peter Paterakis with his catch off Portland, which included a 10 kg blue eye trevalla (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Peter Paterakis with his catch off Portland, which included a 10 kg blue eye trevalla (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Offshore

Fishing offshore from Port Phillip Heads in 40 metres of water, the salmon fillet that Andrew Habgood had out for bait under a balloon produced a mako shark of about 20 kg.

Also in 40 metres of water, but off Torquay, Kevin and Jeremy McLoughlin were catching any amount of slimy mackerel, and put one out on a 10 kg outfit.

Whatever took the bait had Jeremy in action for more than an hour and a half, but when they sighted the protagonist, a bronze whaler over 250 kg, they ceased the engagement.

Luis Elgueta junior with his brown trout from Lake Fyans (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Luis Elgueta junior with his brown trout from Lake Fyans (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Freshwater

Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters, reports fishing Lake Fyans with Luis Elgueta and his son Luis Junior on Saturday, with small redfin the main catch.

However, the sight of a good size brown trout taking a moth from the surface nearby prompted the presentation of a mudeye under a bubble float with young Luis on strike. And the strike saw Luis catch his first brown trout; a 54 cm beauty of about 2 kg.

John Clements of the Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that members of the Lake Purrumbete Angling Club fished Lake Bullen Merri where the largest fish, a chinook salmon of 1.7 kg, was taken by Rob Helms. Steven Hille and Russell Pickett took up the slack with a mixed bag of both brown and rainbow trout, and a chinook salmon of 1.5 kg. These were taken on various lures trolled behind downriggers.

John fished Lake Purrumbete with his brother in law, Neville Mangan from Swan Hill at the weekend, for a total catch of 30 redfin to 1 kg using minnow for bait.

Dean and Keryn Millard with a sample of their offshore catch (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Dean and Keryn Millard with a sample of their offshore catch (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Peter asks:
Geoff, how do you work out the tides for Barwon Heads? On Sunday it was supposed to be low at 3.20 but it just kept running out for ages after that: Can you clear this up for me?

Peter; I suggest that the predicted times of high and low water at the Barwon Heads Bridge, would not have been adjusted to daylight saving, nor would they have related to either high or low slack water; events that most folk regard as high or low tide.

Adjusted for daylight saving, the predicted time of low water at the Barwon Heads Bridge would have been 4.20 pm. However, the time of low slack water is – depending on the amount of fresh water coming downstream – usually two hours later than that, and later still if the amount of downstream fresh is greater than usual. Typically, you would add yet another hour to the Bridge time for the Sheepwash, and at least another hour for the mouth of Lake Connewarre upstream.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Fergus Preston with his 118 cm Murray cod from the Ovens River (Picture: Ben Stephenson).

Fergus Preston with his 118 cm Murray cod from the Ovens River (Picture: Ben Stephenson).

Freshwater

Fishing the Ovens River near Wangaratta last week, Fergus Preston, along with friends Ben and John Stephenson, had already caught and released several Murray cod when Fergus’ “Topwater” lure was smashed at the surface by a much larger fish.

After a dogged fight, the protagonist turned out to be a 118 cm Murray cod that was weighed in the net at 30 kg, and released after Ben took a photo or two.

With Lake Bullen Merri producing chinook salmon to 3 kg, John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park, fished there with Bill Zahra last week, and with pilchards and whitebait suspended just above the bottom, took bag limit catches of these beauties.

John also fished Lake Purrumbete with his brother in law, Neville Mangan from Swan Hill at the weekend, for a total catch of more than 200 redfin to 1.1 kg; releasing the small ones.

Linda Stewart with the kingfish she caught offshore from Black Rock on Sunday (Picture: Murray Stewart).

Linda Stewart with the kingfish she caught offshore from Black Rock on Sunday (Picture: Murray Stewart).

Jeremy McLoughlin with a nice gummy shark that he caught offshore from Barwon Heads on Sunday (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Jeremy McLoughlin with a nice gummy shark that he caught offshore from Barwon Heads on Sunday (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Offshore

Hopeful of catching a shark in 30 metres of water off Black Rock on Sunday, Murray Stewart and wife Linda missed a couple of chances. Never the less, they caught plenty of slimy mackerel that had schooled up under the boat while being harassed by kingfish, one of which Linda caught, and which measured 75 cm.

Fishing in 30 metres of water, but off Barwon Heads on Sunday, Scott Smith was also hopeful of catching a shark; not in vain either, for his catch included a 60 kg thresher that gave him quite a tussle.

Michael Goldby with one of the blue eye trevalla that he, Bob McPherson, and Lockie Wombell, caught off Portland over the weekend (Picture Bob McPherson).

Michael Goldby with one of the blue eye trevalla that he, Bob McPherson, and Lockie Wombell, caught off Portland over the weekend (Picture Bob McPherson).

Trevor Muller of Webbcon Marine in Horsham with one of the tuna that he and Trevor Holmes caught on charter with Matthew Hunt off Portland last Tuesday (Victorian Inland Charters).

Trevor Muller of Webbcon Marine in Horsham with one of the tuna that he and Trevor Holmes caught on charter with Matthew Hunt off Portland last Tuesday (Victorian Inland Charters).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Launching at Clifton Springs late on Tuesday evening, Andrew Phillips and George Uranus were keen to fish the low tide change due around midnight, and that’s when they caught their first fish; a snapper of 5.8 kg.

Still in their favourite spot, which is about halfway between the channel junction off Curlewis and the end of the Point Wilson Pier, they caught a second, slightly smaller snapper. After that though – and probably due to the amount of berley they’d distributed – they were pestered by small gummy sharks until they left at around 2.00 am.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that pinkie snapper to a kilogram or so have been well represented in angler’s bags along with good size squid and some nice whiting.

Among those to be successful here were Jeff Richards and Ken Shae, who on Sunday afternoon, caught nineteen squid and one cuttlefish before settling in at anchor for an evening’s catch of 22 whiting, the biggest measuring 44 cm.

Mackey Street platform closure

The breakwater and jetty infrastructure below the end of Mackey Street, North Geelong (between St Helens and the wheat silos), and which is a favoured fishing area, will be closed from March 23 until April 7.

This area is to temporarily serve as depot for the storage of limestone, acquired for building an artificial reef on the Wilson Spit as a nursery for the once plentiful, but now endangered, native oyster: Hopefully, to restore that species’ former abundance.

Upper Stony Creek Reservoir

Number one Stony Creek Reservoir – which is on the eastern side of the Geelong Ballan Road at Durdidwarrah, some 40 kilometres from Geelong – has been stocked with trout, both browns and rainbows, and was opened to fishing along its eastern bank some months ago: As a result, patronage by anglers is increasing.

Unfortunately, illegal activities in the vicinity, which include vandalism, the lighting of fires and the dumping of litter, has resulted in a request that legitimate users of this water inform the EPA of any such offences on http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/get-involved/report-litter or by calling 1300 372 842.

Brittany Bourke, a prize winner in the previous Whiting Classic.

Brittany Bourke, a prize winner in the previous Whiting Classic.

Whiting Classic

The Bellarine Whiting Classic – hosted by the St Leonards and Bellarine Pirates Angling Clubs, Western Beach Fishing, and Leopold Angling and Aquatic Clubs – is to run from Saturday March 25th till Sunday April 2nd (eight days), with valuable prizes to be won.

Competitors weighing fish in during the first week of the competition – from Saturday 25th till Friday March 31st – must call one of the following officials beforehand; preferably between 6.30 and 8.30 pm:

· Jim for St Helens 0409 864 172.

· Ivan for Limeburners Point 0414 599 363.

· Bruce for Clifton Springs 0428 988 898.

· Phil for St Leonards 0411 215 146.

Weigh-ins on Saturday April 1st will be at the Clifton Springs boat ramp from 9.00am to 11.30am, and at the St Leonards boat ramp from 12.30pm to 2.30pm. The final weigh-in, on Sunday, April 2nd will be at the Clifton Springs boat ramp from 10.00 am until 1.00 pm. Presentations will then follow from 2.00 pm. For more information, call Phil on 0411 215 146 or email secretary.fish@bigpond.com


Harley asks:

I’ve been trying to catch mulloway from the Barwon estuary for a long time but the tides are normally too strong and weed always catches on my line: Any tips?

Harley, recent mulloway catches have been between the Sheepwash boat ramp and the series of S-bends upstream locally known as the Thunderbolt.

I suggest that fishing either tide change during the slower tidal sequences preceding both the new and full moons – and which will occur over this coming weekend – are not only easier to fish, but are the most productive as well.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Saturday double: Thirteen year old Brooklyn Erard and father Col Erard with the gummy shark and snapper they caught offshore from the Mountain View Quarries on Saturday (Picture: Malcolm Erard).

Saturday double: Thirteen year old Brooklyn Erard and father Col Erard with the gummy shark and snapper they caught offshore from the Mountain View Quarries on Saturday (Picture: Malcolm Erard).

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Collan Erard, along with his brother Malcolm and 13 year old son Brooklyn, launched from St Helens early on Saturday morning hoping to pick up a gummy shark or two, just as his father Ernie and brother Malcolm had done the previous day while fishing offshore from the Mountain View Quarries.

Thirteen year old Brooklyn was first cab off the rank when at 8.30, he hooked a gummy shark that later weighed 4 kg. All was quiet for a while after that, but then, Col caught a 7.5 kg snapper which put a smile on all of their faces.

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that pinkie snapper have also been about and among those to catch them was Stuart O’Brien who caught seven to 45 cm in 3.5 metres of water just out from the boat ramp along with ten squid.

Flathead remain the main chance though said Mike, with Gary Adams and Graeme Schultz taking 24 in the deeper water out toward the channel.

Whiting have been present too, but not in their former numbers. However, dedicated whiting enthusiasts, Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien – who made an early start on Friday morning – eventually picked up 34 good size fish, the biggest nudging 43 cm; but they didn’t come on the bite until the tide began running off in the early afternoon.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that a variety of fish are being caught, with pinkie snapper to a kilogram among them. However, an abundance of good size squid has presently created the most interest.

Jeff Richards and Ken Shae were among those to do well on the squid, each taking their respective bag limits in two hours or so while fishing over the Prince George Bank near Dead Man’s Stick.

Jeremy McLoughlin with the Mako shark he caught last week (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Jeremy McLoughlin with the Mako shark he caught last week (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Offshore

Taking a run offshore from Torquay on Friday morning, Kevin McLoughlan and brother Jeremy began a drift in 60 metres of water where they hoped to catch a shark. Not in vain as it turned out for Jeremy’s balloon soon popped, heralding a battle with a lively 25 kg mako.

Barwon estuary

Harley Griffiths and Stanley Owen took the trouble to catch several squid for bait before settling in on the Barwon estuary during the last trickle of the outgoing tide toward evening, just as they did two weeks previous when they caught two mulloway.

While one can never rely on past experience, it paid off with interest on this occasion, for by nightfall they’d caught four mulloway, the biggest nudging 90 cm.

Freshwater

Fishing Lake Purrumbete recently, Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters, along with Ben Young from Ballarat, found the fishing slower than usual with a respectable catch of redfin to 38 cm saving the day once more.

One of the salmon Bob McPherson caught outside the Portland Harbour last week (Picture: Bob McPherson).

One of the salmon Bob McPherson caught outside the Portland Harbour last week (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that Australian salmon, some approaching the 3 kg mark have been plentiful just outside the Portland Harbour.

Trolling a small rubber occy skirt will elicit strike after strike, said Bob, which is handy should you need some for fresh bait. And that’s what Bob used his for, taking a respectable catch of blue eye trevalla, blue grenadier and gemfish over the offshore marks he finds so productive.

Clint Asks:

Geoff, I am a little confused about setting the drag on my reel. Someone told me it should be at one third the breaking strain of my line, but that seems far too high. Can you suggest how to go about it?

Clint, drag settings that are based on a proportion of the line’s breaking only apply to designated I.G.F.A. line class tackle. Drag settings for ordinary fishing should be sufficiently high enough to put a good working curve in your rod and that’s all.

Should you want to know how much tension is required to do that, you will need to put your rod in a holder with the line threaded through your guides and attached to a spring balance. Then, you can draw off some line while watching the reading on your spring balance, adjusting your drag until you understand how much tension is required to put a good working curve in your rod

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Jeremy McLoughlin with the tuna he caught offshore from the Black Rock outfall (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Jeremy McLoughlin with the tuna he caught offshore from the Black Rock outfall (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Offshore

Kevin McLoughlin, and his brother Jeremy, were fishing offshore from the Black Rock outfall site last week with not much doing when a shoal of tuna that were rippling on the surface nearby caught their attention.

With no lures aboard, or any other suitable tackle, Kevin rigged a strip of squid as a troll-bait on a snapper outfit and headed toward the tuna with Jeremy on strike … And that strike heralded a 45 minute battle ending with the capture of a bluefin tuna they estimated to be at least 22 kg.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Making an early start from Clifton Springs on Friday morning in a fairly stiff southerly breeze, snapper specialists Andrew Phillips and George Uranus anchored up about halfway between the channel junction off Curlewis and the Point Wilson pier.

Their first fish, a snapper of about 5 kg, was aboard by first light closely followed by another slightly smaller. Things went quiet after that though, but an hour or so after sunrise, they hooked another good size fish that came thrashing to the surface followed by a very large bronze whaler that left no change from that transaction.

Also out early on Friday morning were Andrew Johnson and son Tim who tried off Point Richards, and – apart from losing a good fish on a whole silver whiting – all they caught were several snapper around the kilogram mark, all of which they released. However, moving closer in, they found a good patch of squid and caught a dozen or so of those.

The following day, Andrew, this time with Tony Mollenhaur, found a good patch of whiting more or less straight out from the Clifton Springs boat ramp and caught 26, their bigger fish measuring up to 42 cm, before calling it a day.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire reports that anglers drifting for flathead along the edge of the Prince George Bank have been picking legal size pinkie snapper, and quite a few of them.

Squid are still the main chance off Indented Head though said Rod, with some good ones among them: And, among those to take these succulent cephalopods were Ken Shae and Jeff Richards who bagged out on two occasions last week, keeping their landing net on stand-by the whole time because of their size.

Whiting have been scarce around the Bellarine Peninsula over the past few weeks, but Daniel Stranger and Troy Gundry managed respectable catch – with a good many over the 40 cm mark – in around 6 metres of water off the Swan Island grass beds at Queenscliff.

Ben Young with a chinook salmon of 1.7 kg from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Ben Young with a chinook salmon of 1.7 kg from Lake Bullen Merri (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).


Freshwater

John Clements of Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park reports that fishing was slow on the lake last week, but some good fish were caught.

Redfin are still the main chance at Lake Purrumbete said John, and among those to catch them was Brett Harding from Bannockburn who picked up a respectable bag of fish to 39 cm.

Michael Jones of Benalla caught a 3.12 kg rainbow trout from the lake, trolling a Tassie Devil behind a downrigger at a depth of 13 metres, and Stephen Cockburn of Mount Gambier caught a 6.3 kg chinook salmon from the lake, also on a Tassie Devil.

Trevor Holmes of Victorian Inland Charters and Ben Young fished Lake Bullen Merri for 30 chinook salmon to 1.7 kg over the weekend, all of which they released, both on bait and on various lures.

The travel Oz crew filming the seals at Lady Julia Percy Island.

The travel Oz crew filming the seals at Lady Julia Percy Island.

Travel Oz presenter Greg Grainger looks pleased with the bluefin tuna he caught while out with Bob McPherson off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Travel Oz presenter Greg Grainger looks pleased with the bluefin tuna he caught while out with Bob McPherson off Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Down Portland way Bob McPherson’s entourage included Travel Oz presenter Greg Grainger along with TV camera crew Harley Rossetto and Daniel Gregson in an offshore exposé of Portland’s potential offshore tourism attractions.

Bob reckons it was pretty rough, but they did find the tuna, and in the lee of Lady Percy Island where the water was much calmer, they found seals aplenty, burning plenty of footage there.

Bob McPherson fished calmer waters over the weekend for a mixed bag of whiting and scad (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Bob McPherson fished calmer waters over the weekend for a mixed bag of whiting and scad (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Ronald asks:

Geoff, I recently caught an 86.5 cm, 8.2 kg snapper from Corio Bay: How old would that fish be?

Ronald, the aging of snapper may be determined by sectioning the otoliths (ear bones) and counting the growth rings, or by counting the growth rings on the scales. Having used a slide projector to do the latter, I can tell you that one fish that I caught, and of the weight you mention, had twenty two growth rings indicating it was twenty two years old.

However, growth rates of snapper are variable and this variability is most significant with the largest specimens among which the ages of comparable size fish have varied by close to a decade: Some of the larger fish aged in Victoria have been close to 40 years old.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Rob Rees with his 5.68 kg chinook salmon from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Rob Rees with his 5.68 kg chinook salmon from Lake Purrumbete (Picture: Victorian Inland Charters).

Freshwater

Fishing Lake Purrumbete with clients Rod Rees and Reg Mallet last week, Trevor Holmes of Inland Fishing Charters counted their redfin catch at 49 during a lull in proceedings, and decided on fifty before going in; but the bite had obviously finished.

Then Rod, who was jigging a J Huddle Fish Arrow just above the bottom, hooked something much bigger than a redfin: And, it took quite some time for him to bring the protagonist, a chinook salmon that later weighed 5.68 kg, alongside.

On Friday evening, Gordon Thompson – who was also fishing on the lake – picked up an even bigger chinook of 7.7 kg that took a glassie (sandy sprat) suspended just above the bottom.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that flathead and whiting have been on offer with Graeme Gittens, along with Matthew and Peter Drayton, picking up flathead to 35 cm off Point Wilson, while Ryan Grinter caught 20 whiting to 40 cm off The Springs.

On Friday morning, Andrew Johnson and David Walder, eventually found a pod of good size of whiting in five metres of water off the first set of jetty ruins to the right of the Clifton Springs boat ramp and caught 30 using squid for bait.

The were followed in by Corey Laux and Aaron Butters who’d gone to the trouble of pumping a good supply of Bass yabbies for bait, with a similar catch from Curlewis.

Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports that although whiting have been scarce, client Gerard Rapinett and his friends caught 30 fish to 40 cm using pipis for bait over the weekend.

Martin de Lange with a sample of his bream catch from the Barwon estuary.

Martin de Lange with a sample of his bream catch from the Barwon estuary.


Barwon estuary

With last week’s rising tide trickling in on dark, Harley Griffiths and Stanley Owen where soaking strips from the fresh squid they’d caught earlier that day, hoping for a mulloway from the Sheepwash: They caught two as it turned out, both around the 6 kg mark.

Also successful on the Barwon estuary was Martin de Lange who was rewarded with four bream to a kilogram or so and several mullet, all being taken on sandworm.

Patrick Dangerfield and Aaron Habgood with Patrick’s bronze whaler (Picture Aaron Habgood)

Patrick Dangerfield and Aaron Habgood with Patrick’s bronze whaler (Picture Aaron Habgood)

Offshore

Aaron Habgood took some great catches of whiting in 6 metres of water off the Swan Island grass beds last week, but he also spent some time fishing offshore from Port Phillip Heads. Out here, he rounded up a couple of bronze whalers well over the 100 kg mark, one for Geelong Cat’s champion Patrick Dangerfield who also enjoys fishing.

A sample from Bob McPherson’s whiting catch from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

A sample from Bob McPherson’s whiting catch from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Bob McPherson reports that several medium size kingfish were caught from the Lee Breakwater near the tug platform last week, a welcome addition to the variety of fish, including snapper that have also been taken from here.

Tuna still provide the main attraction offshore, said Bob, with recent catches coming from 26 metres of water in the vicinity of Julia Reef. However, Bob fishes for whiting these days and sent a photo of his catch.

Campbell asks:

Geoff, I’m from Modewarre and used to fish the lake which is now almost dry. Can you tell me why the water was diverted and if there is any chance of it becoming a recreational fishery again?

Campbell; both you and I now have a detailed reply to this question from Donna Smithyman, Catchment Manager, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Colac which is as follows:

Thank you for your inquiry into the diversion of water to Lake Modewarre. This has been a long term issue in the community and is acerbated by the continuing dry conditions across the region. I have made some inquiries myself into the historical situation with the lake.

“In 1969 Lake Modewarre was very low and the then Geelong Water and Sewerage Trust (GWST) supplied water to the Lake which was repeated periodically in the ensuing years. In 1976, a further request to the Geelong Water and Sewerage Trust on behalf of the Lake Modewarre Reserve Committee was made, requesting that water be provided to Lake Modewarre. This was denied, citing low storage levels in the Barwon system. Further to these specific requests up to 1976, the Geelong water supply system previously included a section of open channel that passed through the Lake Modewarre catchment, carrying water harvested from the Barwon River catchment. This water was used to supply the Pettavel Basin and was transported via the Pettavel channel. To protect the channel from failures or prevent overflows to abutting private properties, at times excess flow was diverted out of the channel into Lake Modewarre.

The channel was replaced in the early 1990s with a pipeline to improve potable water quality and reduce water losses. As part of this modernisation, the channel and associated easements were transferred from Barwon Water to the private landowners. Therefore, the opportunity to transfer water from Wurdee Buloc Reservoir to Lake Modewarre cannot occur due to the fact that there is now no infrastructure in place for such a transfer. Further, the Wurdee Boluc reservoir is managed and not part of a natural filling cycle, so if Wurdee Boluc was full and excess water was present in the Barwon River system, then under Barwon Water’s Bulk Entitlement it is required that any excess water is released to the Barwon River system.”

Also worth reading is EPA publication 1108, March 2007 http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/~/media/Publications/1108.pdf It’s reference to Lake Modewarre is significant; the first paragraph containing the statement that “Between 1803 and 1832 William Buckley had described the lake as being perfectly fresh and abundant in eels …” Since then however, Lake Modewarre has ranged from being completely dry to being flooded, and that may well remain its ongoing destiny.

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Geoff’s Fishing Report

Shark wrangler: George Papavasiliou with his bronze whaler shark from the Lorne Pier (Picture: Bill Athanasselis).

Shark wrangler: George Papavasiliou with his bronze whaler shark from the Lorne Pier (Picture: Bill Athanasselis).

Lorne rangers

On February 7 last, I reported the capture of a large whaler shark from the Lorne Pier by Bill Athanasselis and George Papavasiliou. Well, on last Wednesday afternoon, the pair tried for more of the same, putting two lines out from the pier – each baited with a bonito – and this time they caught two bronze whalers; one on each of those baits.

They weren’t huge; just two metre models, and catching both before dark drew an even bigger crowd than did their previous capture in the early morning hours. But this time – even with two sharks – there still wasn’t enough flake to go around.

Corio Bay/Bellarine Peninsula

Snapper aficionados, Andrew Phillips and George Uranus were anchored up by 4.00 am on Thursday, somewhere between Point Wilson and the channel junction off Curlewis, and by 5.30 am they’d caught their first snapper on a squid head, a beauty of 6.7 kg.

Sunrise saw one or two other boats heading out, and it was then that they caught another snapper of 5.5 kg; this time on a silver whiting. They stayed until the tide began running off at around 8.00 am, but all they caught in extra time were eagle rays and banjo sharks.

Andrew Johnson and Dennis O’Brien went hunting for whiting off Clifton Springs on Friday morning, and – apart from catching numerous small fish – it was lean pickings. Their continual moves eventually paid off though, for in 4.5 metres of water off The Dell, they found a good patch of whiting from which they caught 30, some measuring over the 40 cm mark.

Offshore

Taking advantage of calm weather under our recent full moon, Kevin McLoughlin and Paul Carson took a run out to the Continental shelf off Warrnambool after dark.

With a berley trail going in the moonlight, they soon caught a mako shark of 46 kg that they kept. They tagged and released another of about twice that size, along with a good size blue shark before heading back in the following day.

Paul Carson with the mako shark that was taken at night 70 km offshore from Warrnambool (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Paul Carson with the mako shark that was taken at night 70 km offshore from Warrnambool (Picture: Kevin McLoughlin).

Dave Jacobsen of the Keysborough Angling Club with the competition winning, 23 kg gummy shark, that he caught on the drift in 22 metres of water offshore from Corner Inlet in South Gippsland recently.

Dave Jacobsen of the Keysborough Angling Club with the competition winning, 23 kg gummy shark, that he caught on the drift in 22 metres of water offshore from Corner Inlet in South Gippsland recently.

Freshwater

John Clements reports that although redfin are the main chance at Lake Purrumbete, Tim Beusman had no trouble picking up eleven trout, both browns and rainbows to just over a kilogram, while trolling Tassie Devils behind a downrigger at 18 metres.

Trevor Holmes of Inland Fishing Charters reports that “Insanity Tackle Mini Vibes” were just the right lure to put smiles on the faces of his clients who took respectable catches of redfin to 1.3 kg from Lake Purrumbete. Other successful lures included the eel-coloured Nories Shad.

Although nearby Lake Bullen Merri has an algal bloom, John reports that chinook salmon are still on the bite with Andrew Bell and friends catching fish to 2 kg on Pegron Tiger lures from the jetty near the boat ramp.

Rod Baker with a tuna from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Rod Baker with a tuna from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

A sample of Bob McPherson’s whiting catch from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

A sample of Bob McPherson’s whiting catch from Portland (Picture: Bob McPherson).

Portland

Down Portland way, Bob McPherson reports that bluefin tuna are still the main attraction with too many successful anglers to list. These have been up to 30 kg or so and have mainly been taken on small trolling skirts.

Bob and his cronies have been focused on whiting though, and seem to have no trouble taking respectable catches with some of their bigger fish pushing 50 cm: Productive areas range from the under the cliffs of Cape Grant to the west, and along Portland’s north shore.

A male specimen of Shaw’s Cowfish caught last week from the Lorne Pier (Picture Bill Athanasselis)

A male specimen of Shaw’s Cowfish caught last week from the Lorne Pier (Picture Bill Athanasselis)

Eric asks:

I am disappointed that Lake Bullen Merri has an algal bloom. I’ve heard that there used to be an aerator in the lake to prevent this; what happened to that?

Eric, my understanding is that the aerator was installed in the early 80s and ran until the late 90s, and – with the object of reducing fish kills within the lake its primary purpose – was to circulate and oxygenate the various layers of water. While this was achieved, algal blooms still occurred except over the plume of agitated water around the aerator.

Apparently, deterioration of the equipment, the cost of on-going maintenance, and in some instances episodes of vandalism, challenged the cost-effectiveness of the project; so a decision was made by fisheries management that it would cease funding the aeration of the lake, and with no other sources of funding on offer, the project ceased.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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