Snapper are Pumping
  |  First Published: November 2010

The massive amount of rain that dumped on Geelong over spring has turned the Barwon to coffee making lure fishing almost impossible.

Eels were keen to grab worms after dark if that is your thing. Seagull Paddock Lake in North Geelong and St Augustines Waterhole in Highton both received stock of rainbow trout over the September school holidays and these were still biting well into October.

Most of these trout are either side of 30cm and can be taken on sweet corn kernels, garden worms and artificial baits.

Geelong Saltwater

There has been a fair few garfish kicking about the local jetties. Berley is almost a must and set your baits at around 1m deep on calm days. Sporadic captures of Australian salmon from 30-40cm have come as a by-catch for anglers fishing soft plastics from boats. The Geelong waterfront has provided soft plastic enthusiasts with good sport on small snapper from legal length to 40cm with the very odd fish approaching 2kg.

Welcome by-catches have included silver trevally, small flathead and the odd small bream. Baitfish profile lures have been the standout closely followed by worm patterns.

Anglers fishing after dark from the St Helens Rock Wall have been rewarded with some quality snapper up to 4.4kg. Best baits have been pilchards and fresh squid fished within a 20-30m cast. Small flathead have been a bit of a nuisance pinching baits here.

Bellarine Peninsula

It wouldn’t be November on the Bellarine unless the snapper were pumping! Give Portarlington and Clifton Springs your attention but get there early, as the car parks are often full before 6am. Expect to see fish from 4-6kg with the odd 8kg ripper at the fish cleaning tables this time of year.

You’ll find flathead and whiting reports taper off as anglers concentrate their efforts on ‘big red’.

St Leonards and Indented Head are interesting prospects. Big snapper have been taken by anglers waiting for the ramp to clear so they can retrieve their boat, so there are no rules here. During the day, head out to 20m and either use your sounder to locate fish or go for a drift with some nice big baits like whole pilchards or squid heads.


The squid have been flat out all around the Bellarine Peninsula and although the sizes have not been record breakers, they have more than made up for that in numbers.

Rod from Beachlea Boat Hire in Indented Head says the squid have provided clients with the most consistent captures so far this season. Rod reports that customers seem to be catching calamari from Swan Bay right around to Portarlington.

Rod says boats were returning with full bags of good-sized squid with the area around Indented Head providing the biggest so far.

Some nice catches of flathead have come from Indented Head out wider if the squid slow down in close.

King George whiting have been about just out from Grassy Point and St Leonards as well.

Claudia Thalmann and her partner Marty headed out on a squid mission recently where they bagged seven beautiful specimens in around 1.5 hours fishing just around the red pole in St Leonards. Marty caught most of them using some orange and luminescent jigs.


Queenscliff is often the first to get the run of big snapper. Use your sounder to find drop offs and anchor upstream on the run out tide. After dark can see you tangle with seven-gill, school and gummy sharks as well as big snapper.

The King George whiting have been fairly consistent over the cooler months off Queenscliff. From around the Pilot jetty to the Lonsdale Bight, fish from 35-45cm have been caught on the run out tide close to dark. Fresh squid has been the standout bait.

Speaking of squid – some ripping calamari approaching 2kg have been taken inside the Lonsdale Bight. Their times and locations are a little hard to pick, but when you hit a school, it can be raining black ink!

Anglers fishing the Point Lonsdale pier have enjoyed a hot Australian salmon bite close to dusk. Fish in close behind the breakers using soft plastics on paternoster rigs or fresh pilchards have also taken plenty.

Barwon Heads and Surf Coast

Ken Stevens from Barwon Heads Angling Club reports that there has been a few silver trevally to 40cm and King George whiting at the mouth of the Barwon when the water has been clear. Ken says that the bream should really fire up now, but he has not heard of too many targeting them with the snapper poised to strike.

Australian salmon from 30-40cm were fairly busy down below the road bridge in the Barwon estuary last month. Most fish were from 30-45cm and taken on white Clousers and soft plastics on the incoming tide when the water was clearest.

Anglers fishing off Barwon Heads have taken snapper from 1-3.5kg drifting over rubble in 40-50m of water. Some big gummy sharks have also been caught by anglers drifting the deep water off Barwon Heads and bite offs have been attributed to seven-gill and school sharks. Plenty of smaller fish up to 1.8kg have been caught by anglers fishing over the shallower reefs off Ocean Grove and Collendina, but they generally shut down as the sun hits the water.

Ken also notes that some tiger flathead have been available for anglers drifting the offshore rubble beds as well. These are some of the finest eating flatties available and have nudged 2kg so far. November is generally the peak month off Barwon Heads next flat day should be a sickie!

The Anglesea River has been high and fairly slow, but hard work can yield some 30cm plus fish. Dylan Pace from Torquay has been working the Surf Coast estuaries like a kelpie on sheep and always seems to grab a few bream here and there. Dylan says that most of his fish have been between 400g-1.1kg and hard work! Best lures for Dylan have been Berkley 6” sandworms, 3” minnows, Squidgie wrigglers and MF40 soft vibes.

Surf Coast surf beaches were pounded by very large swells over spring and this has restricted most from surf fishing. Dylan did have a good session from the sand one night where he beached a 4.5kg gummy shark, a 40cm trevally and a 50cm flathead.

Catch a few around Geelong, Bellarine Peninsula or Surf Coast to Lorne recently? Send in a report to --e-mail address hidden-- with “VFM” in the subject field or give me a call on 0408 997348. Please include where (without giving away your secret spot!), when, what on and who caught the fish. Pictures are always great, but please make sure they are at least 1mb (file size).

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