Anglers come down with red fever
  |  First Published: October 2011

Snapper fever has its grip on the region! The ramps are as full as the boat service centres and anglers are gleefully blowing the dust off their snapper gear in anticipation for the big red annual influx.

Corio Bay

Corio Bay can often be last in line to receive its share of snapper but those who persist, can be rewarded with beautiful fish this time of year. Soft plastic anglers should be looking to the shallow rubble areas of the bay where they can lock drags with some snapper over 4kg. Target 4-6m of water and try to link this up with an outgoing tide.

Clifton Springs and Portarlington

The sleepy bay side towns of Clifton Springs and Portarlington come alive with anglers seeking snapper and with good reason. Both these towns have been consistently producing 6-8kg fish over the years and October can be nuts on occasions. Big schools of fish can come through and with a real chance at a 7kg fish, the ramps can get busy early.

Dawn and dusk can be dynamite off these towns and low light during an outgoing tide can see some great fish caught. Try in the deeper water north of the shipping channel off Portarlington or The Turn east of Clifton Springs.

Please be patient when launching and retrieving boats this time of year and if you do see someone struggling, offer to give them a hand.

St Leonards to Queenscliff

Anglers fishing the 15m mark out off St Leonards and Indented Head have enjoyed some good flathead fishing. Most fish have been either side of 35cm, so while there’s been no monsters, a good feed is still on offer.

Snapper fishing off this end of the Bellarine Peninsula is well worth a look with some anglers catching 5kg fish while waiting their turn to get their boat out last year!

Most larger snapper are taken in depths over 10m off St Leonards and Indented Head so start your effort here. Stop by all the shallow reef areas on your way out, as you have a good chance of stocking up the bait supplies with the numerous squid available.

Barwon Heads

The Barwon River estuary has enjoyed some fantastic fishing over the last month. Australian salmon have made their presence known in the estuary and local beaches.

Most fish are either side of 1kg with the larger fish being caught out on the beaches. The Barwon River is running fairly hard and brown, which can put the fish off the bite. But when the tide turns and the clear salt water runs in, the salmon enter the lower reaches and wreak havoc on all smaller fish.

Salmon are schooling fish so you may have to wait a while for the bite. But once the first fish hits, you may get multiple bites if you can keep the fish in the area and a bait or lure in the water.

The Barwon estuary has some great land-based fishing options, including top spots like the Sheepwash, Ocean Grove Boat ramp, Ozone Jetty just upstream from the road bridge and Fishermans Jetty down near the mouth. Fish have also been taken way upstream by boat anglers when the clear water extends that far.

Lure fishers should try chrome slide type lures and pink Tassie devils also work a treat. Soft plastic anglers will do very well using baitfish imitations fished on medium jigheads.

Fly fishers should try sparsely tied white Clousers fished slowly with the flow of the water, with a twitch here and there. Six weight fly gear is okay if there is no wind.

If you are stuck in the Barwon on an outgoing tide with coffee coloured water, try earthworms for bait. Bream often come on the bite when the water is muddy and earthworms make great bait and are relatively easy to gather.

Silver trevally up to 1kg have also been taken in the Barwon estuary by anglers using pilchard fillets for bait. The trevally are spread right throughout the estuary, but bite best during the incoming tide.

Torquay and Great Ocean Road

Torquay can have some fantastic snapper runs and around the time of AFL grand final is generally the time to be on the water. Try the deeper reef areas around the 20m with anchor mark and drift the 40m rubble beds.

I got an email last month from “Lucky” who tells a story where he and a group of friends decided to have a fish from the beach near Anglesea. Amongst the group was two and a half year old Rupert Flanders who decided to play in a rock pool while dad fished from the rocks nearby.

Suddenly, Rupert let out an all mighty scream that had all and sundry running over to see if he was ok. Attached to Rupert’s leg was a very large crayfish that possibly thought of the youngster as lunch. Once they detached the big cray from the teary Rupert, they noticed that the cray had actually drawn a bit of blood as they do have some spikey bits all over them.

There were two small puncture marks on Rupert’s upper thigh that actually required four stitches. The doctor suggested that the hungry crayfish was probably attracted to Rupert’s soiled nappy to which dad’s reply was, “If his nappy wasn't soiled beforehand, it certainly was afterwards!”

Rupert got the last laugh as he and the family devoured the crayfish that night for dinner. We’re told that now 'Rupe' constantly tugs at Daddy's shirt requesting, “Daddy let’s catch the red crabs!”

Rupert’s old man insists, “He’s not only good luck, he’s terrific bait as well!”

Most of the blokes at the local surf club said its one of the biggest they've seen since Andy Doyle's a few years back. The big crayfish weighed in at a hefty 3.9kg and was verified as a male by the local fisheries officer.

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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