March into autumn success
  |  First Published: March 2012

It’s been a long time since the Barwon was brown from rain in summer but yep, it was brown!

The carp (and mozzies) have been biting well in the slower sections of the river downstream from the Queens Park Bridge. Tinned sweet corn or garden worms have been bringing fish either side of 4kg to the bank for anglers fishing unweighted baits on the bottom.

There was a blue-green algae outbreak in mid summer. Outbreaks of blue green are well gazetted with sign posts and local media so keep an eye out for these and avoid skin contact or drinking the affected water.

Corio Bay

Corio Bay has been fishing very well for flathead, small whiting and pinkie snapper. Soft plastic anglers have had a ball from Limeburners boat ramp to Western Beach casting in 3-5m of water. Berkley Gulp in Nuclear Chicken always does well on pinkie snapper and small minnow-shaped plastics twitched slowly along the bottom for flathead.

Pete Mohr and I fished one terrible Saturday morning using the above techniques and managed two small pinkies and three flathead from 35-50cm. Kayak anglers were enjoying the fishing that day as well with one gent capturing a fine 40cm pinkie.

March can see the size and numbers of King George whiting increase inside Corio Bay. Hit the water early and concentrate your efforts in 2-5m. Ross Winstanley had found the whiting a little slow in mid summer but that is typical for that time of year.

Ross has also caught and released plenty of undersized pinkie snapper and only a few small whiting.

Sixteen year old Justin Ware has been fishing Griffin’s Gully Jetty a bit with Benson Cassidy. The lads have caught a few flathead around the 35m mark as well as some small whiting. Justin says that squid and tubeworms have been the best bait.

Clifton Springs and Portarlington

The big snapper have tapered off somewhat but there are still quality fish around 5kg to be had by anglers who are prepared to put a few hours in. Good numbers of garfish and calamari can be caught near Grassy Point while flathead anglers should drift in 5-10m of water as their quarry lies in wait here! Steeles Rocks has been holding a few pinkie snapper dawn and dusk and soft plastic anglers have taken full advantage of this, catching fish to 45cm using lightly weighted plastics when there is little or no tidal movement.

St Leonards to Queenscliff

Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head says that the easterlies made for fewer fishing opportunities over the last month but those that got out when the wind eased got into to some great fish.

Rod says there are some cracking King George whiting to be had by anglers fishing the Governor Reef system back to Portarlington. Best time has been the hours around high tide plus dawn and dusk. Same goes for calamari – high tides plus dawn or dusk. Tie on a green jig for best results.

Snapper have been biting well here in depths of 15-20m out off Indented Head and St Leonards.

Rod says that those keen on flathead will be happy with good size and numbers lurking from the sand of the Prince George Light to the St Leonards Pier.

Good-sized calamari have been taken by anglers fishing the shallows from St Leonards to Queenscliff with bright jigs working the best on the run-out tide. You can use small silver whiting that can be purchased at supermarkets and use skewer style jigs or plain artificials.

I normally use artificials for convenience but when the big calamari are about, silver whiting or garfish can be dynamite bait. Try setting one on a float and cast one jig about while drifting in about 4-5m of water.

The Queenscliff harbour has been a little hit and miss for anglers of late. Most fish have been caught on soft plastics on the run-out tide, but not much larger than 800g.

Australian salmon up to 1.5kg have also been working the bait schools in the rip. Keep an eye out for surface rippling and birds hanging around as this can indicate a school of salmon. If they are not visible, try trolling lures around and you may stir them up.

If you do come across a school of salmon in a feeding frenzy on the surface, never troll through the middle, as this will put the fish off the bite very quickly.

Figure out which way the fish are moving, position your boat around 80-100m ahead of them, cut the motor and cast lures to them as they approach. I have had fish all around and under the boat with almost a fish per cast on many occasions using this method.

Barwon Heads

The bream have turned it on a bit since the flush out and some quality fish around the 1kg mark have been landed. Mark Ford fished upstream from the Ocean Grove Boat ramp where he caught legal length whiting, small salmon and a bream of about 1kg using pipis for bait.

Silver trevally and Australian salmon are always obliging in the Barwon estuary. Dylan Pace fished with Carlo Muncy and his dad Aaron in the estuary recently. They managed plenty of salmon on vibe lures and plastics. Switching to pipis and fresh squid, they were soon into silver trevally and whiting. Some good flathead have been caught out off Barwon Heads by anglers fishing on the drift in 30-50m of water.

Try using squid strips as this hangs on the hook very well.

Anglesea and Great Ocean Road

Mick Allardyce from Winchelsea fished out off Anglesea early January and just about had the ocean to himself. Mick says that there have been reports of yellowtail kingfish coming from the rip plus other areas along the Surf Coast and he was hoping to encounter a couple. Mick trolled from Anglesea to Fairhaven using Stiffies for only a handful of big barracouta.

Mick also notes that the normally quiet boat ramp on Point Roadknight Beach was very busy and that we all need to allow a bit of room either side of the ramp for others during the busy period – especially beach launching areas where waves can be a problem.

Anglers keen on the hard pulling kingfish should try trolling squid strips in the rip, off Collendina and Barwon Heads.

Mick also notes that fishing in general has been a little slow off Anglesea, which is a bit frustrating.

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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