Good sport for the canny angler
  |  First Published: August 2012

It’s been a pretty good ‘off season’ with some surprising captures around the region. This winter has been like the winters of old - cold and wet with brown rivers. Let’s hope this kicks the fish into gear!

Geelong Freshwater

The Barwon River in Geelong has been brown for most of the reporting period. This generally brings the eels out and makes fishing difficult. I was on my regular Sunday bike ride with mates when we saw a bloke fishing the banks with a net in one hand and rod bent in half and pointing towards the water in the other.

We pulled over to watch the action and saw a fair amount of water being moved that could only mean a European carp. The successful angler was Tom Hanum and he caught the big carp using a piece of bread for bait. Tom said it was getting a little harder to catch them now with the onset of cold weather, but this was a good 5kg plus fish none the less.

Tom used big 2/0 hooks as he said it helped set the hooks in the larger fish and reduce breakages. Tom caught the big carp in between the James Harrison (Princes Highway) and Barwon (Moorabool Street) Bridges on the southern bank.

As part of the Department of Primary Industry’s very successful Family Fishing Lakes program, several lakes in the region have were stocked with advanced rainbow trout (180-230g) mid-June. These will be in their prime of feisty-ness right in time for the July school holidays!

These lakes are Seagull Paddock Lake (opposite Fords and behind the shops there) and St Augustine’s Waterhole (off South Valley Road, Highton). These fish are often very hungry and have adapted to their environment by the time the kids get a crack at them. They bite on almost anything but top baits include worms, corn and Berkley Powerbait. They will also grab a revolving blade spinner or small minnow pattern lure.

Corio Bay

Brent Hodges reports that Lara Secondary College Connections students had a ball recently while fishing from the rock wall and jetty at St Helens. Garfish were about in good numbers and most fishing nearby caught a few. Maggots and small pieces of silver fish rigged on a size 14 hook and presented under a pencil style float resulted in around 20 garfish for the youngsters.

A fine breadcrumb based berley and some loose fed maggots kept the fish interested and within casting distance. The odd salmon and mullet also made an appearance at the top of the tide to make things interesting.


Greg Urquhart made the trip to Portarlington from Healesville a while back and had a ball catching plenty of fish. He kicked it off by catching a calamari of around 1kg off the main jetty that he invited to lunch the next day with a fancy salad. He then cut the wings into strips and went out to catch some whiting off the little jetty in the Caravan park later that afternoon.

Using a Mustad size 2 light gauge circle hooks with a 2500 Stradic reel and 8lb mono, Greg caught lots of little Australian salmon but no whiting. After a fair bit of fish feeding, Greg had a more serious inquiry. He set the hook and the line peeled off the reel at great knots with the fish heading for Point Wilson on the other side of the Bay! After a short but torrid battle, a large snapper was spotted in the waves about 15m from the jetty. The fish was too big to lift onto the deck so he called on another angler, Stavros, who was pleaded with to go and grab a landing net out of Greg’s boat which was about 100m away in the Caravan Park.

His return saw the fish nearly spent beside the jetty and a bit more patience saw a beautiful 6kg snapper in the bottom of the net with the circle hook pinned neatly in the hinge! Greg then shot out in the boat of St. Leonards the next arvo and found the place was fairly busy. The remaining calamari wings were converted into 13 King George whiting from 35-40 cm before having to pull the pick to go out for tea.

Barwon Heads

Brent Hodges fished with Aaron Hassett in the lower Barwon River a few times last month (prior to his first daughter, Zoe arriving!) and he says that there's a few silver trevally starting to move. Brent noted that the river is crawling with juvenile salmon.

These are awesome gummy bait and fantastic fun for keen kids on school holidays! Brent reckons that any number of salmon are available on both the incoming and outgoing tides, although most are very small with just the odd fish pushing the 30-35cm mark.

Berkley Gulp Turtle Back Worms in Pumpkinseed have accounted for most of the trevally. We've also snared a few on small diving minnows which has been good fun in the shallows.

Aaron also managed a reasonable bream while flicking a soft plastic around the ramp before Brent arrived with the boat!

Surf Coast

Jordon Ayton fished the Anglesea River with a few mates over a weekend recently. The lads got stuck into some bream up to 39cm which made for great sport.

The Anglesea River had a few locals concerned with the colour of the river turning green recently. The local paper also showed a resident who found a pair of dead flounder on its bank and further to that, around 30 fish were found dead on its banks around mid-June.

Let’s hope we don’t see another 2010 fish kill.

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