Great Cold weather fishing
  |  First Published: July 2011

This has been one of the better cold seasons I can remember inside Corio Bay.

Anglers have enjoyed some great whiting fishing around the shallows with first light being best. Ross Winstanley has enjoyed some bag limit captures fishing in as little as 2.5m over near Point Henry with fish up to and over 40cm. Ross says he was minding his own business catching a few whiting one morning when a school of marauding salmon came through, ate all his baits and caused mayhem scaring off all the whiting!

The salmon have shown up at various locations inside Corio Bay with good consistency. They’re pretty much always there, but this winter has seen big schools with a few fish over 2kg amongst them.

They can sometimes be spotted attacking schools of baitfish on the water’s surface. If you are lucky enough to see this, be sure to approach the school slowly and avoid trolling lures straight through the middle of them, as this will only drive them off.

Try to position your boat ahead of where the school is heading, cut the motor and cast lures into the feeding frenzy. Soft plastic minnow imitations and flies are the real winners while chrome metal lures also account for plenty.

July morning can be bitterly cold in Geelong, but there can be good influxes of trevally along Cunningham Pier. Justin Ware had a quick look down there one weekend and noticed anglers were pulling in snotty trevally (Aka: warehou) like no tomorrow.

Justin says most were around 25cm but there were some pushing 40cm and a few lucky anglers had double hook ups! Justin managed to borrow a morsel of raw chicken and lobbed it out only to get small pinkie after pinkie using his paternoster rig.

As Justin found out, they can be a very fussy fish! Best bet is to either use unweighted baits or have a float setup so that the slightest pull from a fish will take it underwater. Some anglers use the long 14 foot poles with no reel. The line is at a pre-set depth so once the fish are found, the bait goes back to the same depth each time.

Michael Moore from Q-Tackle says the fishing has been hot around the peninsula over the last month. Geelong waterfront, from eastern beach around to Bird Rock, has seen schools of 1-2kg salmon working over bait schools in the area with plenty of customers having a ball catching these on lures and bait from many land based locations.

As well as these there have been some quality snapper to 8kg being caught from boat anglers fishing the inner harbour as well as some nice fish from St Helens and North Shore rocks.

Clifton Springs and Portarlington

Clifton Springs and Portarlington have come off the back of a bumper whiting season leading into July but there are still a few calamari to be had. Portarlington Pier can be great this time of year for small salmon, mullet and garfish with after dark providing a few calamari near the lights.

St Leonards to Queenscliff

St Leonards has had good numbers of calamari and cuttlefish over the shallow reef areas but the whiting have tapered off a fair bit. Brenton Hodges fished in his new boat with Aaron Hassett out off St Leonards where they caught their bag of squid fairly easily on the drift in 3-4m of water either side of high tide.

Few of the calamari were up around 1kg but most were much smaller. Brent says that they were mostly in groups of 2-6 and reasonably aggressive towards cast and drifting jigs.

Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head says they are having a cracker season on the squid at the moment with most boats bagging out. Rod says that anywhere from Indented Head boat ramp round to Portarlington has been good.

Rod also notes that the whiting have also been worth a look around St Leonards from the entrance to Swan Bay round to the Queenscliff Pier.

Queenscliff has some top class soft plastic fishing for silver trevally. Michael from Q-Tackle in Queenscliff says since the local boat ramp was closed, it has been a boom for land-based and yak anglers. The reduced boat traffic has seen the fish really settle with quality trevally to 2kg and snapper to 4kg being taken inside the harbour.

Gummy sharks are always a good option if you’re keen on a cold night out. Try Swan Bay channel and St Leonards out in 10m plus with fresh salmon fillets or cured eel for bait.

Barwon Heads

Australian salmon from legal length to just on 40cm often invade the estuary this time of year. These are fantastic fun for boat and land-based anglers using light spin and fly tackle. Brenton Hodges fished the lower estuary for about an hour and a half shortly after the low tide change recently. Brent found a few salmon down the front using soft plastic lures as the tide started to push in. He also noticed a few busting up in the shallows on the way back to the ramp on the incoming tide at dusk.

Silver trevally and bream are also prime July targets and with the ever elusive mulloway that the Barwon estuary used to be famous for, it is well worth a trip.

Thirteenth beach and Bancoora have produced some quality salmon fishing just on dusk. Most fish have been around 1kg, but there has been the odd school of 2kg fish come through.

Torquay and Great Ocean Road

The ever popular Jan Juc Surf Beach is always good for a few surprises. It is a very good surf fishing beach because it is relatively deep, close to the open ocean and has nearby reef structure, which attracts all sorts of fish.

Apart from your regular salmon captures, you have a good shot at gummy sharks over July and more than one mulloway has been caught from this beach in the past.

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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