Corio Bay Alive with fish
  |  First Published: December 2011

The Geelong region continued to receive good rainfall over the last month and as a result, the Barwon River remained fairly coloured.

Lure fishing is still possible when there is a few feet of visibility. Anglers fishing from the banks of the Barwon River have caught plenty of European carp to 6kg using corn and worms for bait.

Corio Bay

Inside Corio Bay is alive with fish! Quality captures of pinkie snapper, silver trevally, flathead and salmon are available for anglers during the day while the odd gummy shark and larger snapper have been caught after dark.

Soft plastic anglers have been doing very well on snapper from legal length to 60cm casting and drifting over rubble beds in 4-7m of water. Handy by-catches using this method are flathead and it always pays to have a squid jig over the side. Top possies to try this January include; the Geelong waterfront precinct, Royal Geelong Yacht Club and North Shore Rocks where both land and boating based anglers can fish these locations.

Clifton Springs and Portarlington

There has been no shortage of quality snapper for anglers fishing these two towns. Big snapper in excess of 8kg have been taken for the last two months now but expect their frequency to taper off over January and February. Bag limit captures are available for anglers that put the time and effort in for good bait. Squid can often be caught on the way to your fishing destinations and are top snapper bait.

You do not have to travel far to find good fish providing the conditions are favourable. Early mornings are best when you plan to fish shallow water and head to 10m plus when fishing during the day. Land-based anglers should head to Portarlington Pier after dark for a real shot at a decent snapper.

This pier generally fishes best after a northerly blow but is well worth a look at any time. Load up with either pilchards or squid for bait and settle in for a few hours of waiting. While the snapper rods are in, go for a walk around and check for squid under the lights. During the day, the pier can also cough up solid schools of garfish and salmon on occasions so keep your eyes peeled.

Flathead have been biting well off Grassy Point in 8m of water for anglers drifting with pilchard pieces. Anglers fishing in 4-5m of water off Mountain View Quarries have been rewarded with top class snapper to 8kg and plenty of 5-6kg fish as well.

St Leonards to Queenscliff

Indented Head and St Leonards have been producing snapper up to 6kg for anglers drifting in 15-20m of water. Use your sounder to locate schools and then send them a bait or lure. Large numbers of flathead can be a problem on occasions as they swipe baits meant for larger fish. Load up with a smaller hook and you’ll get yourself a fair feed of flatties.

Calamari have been consistent over the inshore reef areas in depths of 2-5m. Out deeper, arrow squid are around but a little scattered. Sometimes they will grab or chase a hooked flathead on the way up to the boat.

King George whiting have been biting but are a little hard to find on occasions. Give each spot about 20-45 minutes and then move on.

This has been one of the best two years for silver trevally inside the Queenscliff boat harbour. They have been around for almost all year and provide fantastic sport for both land and boat-based anglers. They have a fairly soft mouth so doing up the drag only increases the chances of a hook pulling out. So you’ll need a light drag setting and a bit of skill to extract the larger ones from the boat moorings.

Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire in Indented Head says snapper are coming in all over the place including the piers at Portarlington and St Leonards. These fish have been taken mostly after dark.

Good snapper are being taken in the deeper water off Portarlington around to the Prince George light in deeper water during the day but are in close whenever the water is a bit dirty.

There are plenty of squid from Portarlington all the way around towards Queenscliff.

Rod is also starting to see some nice whiting in the Indented Head and Portarlington areas and as always whiting have been coming in at St Leonards.

There has been quite a few gummy sharks coming in with Portarlington area being the best bet.

Rod also notes that if anglers want to get some fresh bait on their way out then the garfish have been prolific on the Prince George bank and Portarlington areas.

Barwon Heads

Barwon Heads has been fishing very well both in the Barwon estuary and offshore. Ken Stevens from Barwon Heads Angling Club has caught plenty of silver trevally and bream to 40cm of late. Ken says that Bass yabbies are the gun bait for bream but they have been very hard to find over the last two months. Pilchard fillets and an incoming tide with clean water gets the silver trevally going.

Anglers fishing the mouth of the Barwon estuary have caught good numbers of King George whiting up to 38cm. Best times has been the run-out tide just on dusk. First light has seen much larger fish caught on pilchard fillets around the shallow reef areas off Ocean Grove and Collendina.

Anglers fishing the surf at Thirteenth Beach on dusk or trolling offshore during the day have encountered Australian salmon to 45cm while offshore trollers have had both salmon and small yellowtail kingfish. Larger kingfish to 3kg have been taken by anglers fishing the deep water off the rip and using jigs and bait such as fresh squid.

Torquay and Great Ocean Road

Torquay has had a pretty good run of King George whiting to 43cm. Dawn, dusk and fishing into the night has been best but they can be located during the day when they are really on the chew.

Snapper anglers have caught fish to 6kg fishing baits in 20m reef areas on the run out tide. In close at Fishermans Beach there has been the odd school of salmon and calamari closer to Little Reef.

We had our annual camping weekend down at Cumberland River where the wily trout were taking caddis imitations. They would snap at them during the day but dawn and dusk was by far the best with a few 30cm fish caught and released.

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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