Corio Bay has awesome snapper with whiting getting better
  |  First Published: December 2012

The Barwon in Geelong has cleared up a heap and well worth a shot in January with the redfin on the bite.

European carp also bite very well during the day especially when the temperature is over 30C. The Barwon River has excellent access all along its banks and you can catch a fish almost anywhere. Tops spots for both species include Breakwater Bridge, Queens Park and the Stan Lewis Walk downstream of Queens Park.

Minnows and gudgeon can be caught in the river using bread in a trap or size 18 hooks baited with worms. Carp are happy with almost anything but if you wish to specifically target them grab a tin of corn kernels. Carp can get over 13kg in the Barwon so don’t be shy and load up the hook with plenty of bait. Keep an eye out for blue-green algal outbreaks and avoid contact with the water if you see signs up indicating a bloom.

Corio Bay

Corio Bay has been fishing very well for snapper, flathead and snook. Whiting are about but a little patchy. Anglers fishing Cunningham Pier, Griffins Gully Jetty and St Helens Rocks have taken yellow-eye mullet, garfish and small flathead. Around dawn and dusk some pike and snapper are available and keen land-based whiting fishos should try the break wall at Limeburners boat ramp.

Boaties should try Point Henry for Australian salmon and squid while whiting and snapper are best hunted for around dawn and dusk, they are still worth a look if you get a run out tide during daylight hours.

Ross Winstanley has been fishing inside Corio Bay and helping out DPI with his catch data. DPI have noted that the exceptional snapper fishing over the last few years can be attributed to excellent recruitment (breeding) in 2001, 2004 and 2005. Ross says, since then, we have had three mediocre and four almost zero years of snapper recruitment so we can expect some lean years to come.

Clifton Springs and Portarlington

Clifton Springs and Portarlington have been fishing well for snapper up to 8.2kg. Best bet for a trophy fish is to fish after dark using fresh bait such as squid or salmon caught during the day. Other tops baits include whole pilchards, silver whiting and sauries. Anglers fishing from Clifton Springs to Hermsley have caught squid and the odd salmon while drifting and using soft plastics.

Pike and snapper have also been caught here using softies and some rippers at that. Pike have nudged 1m in length and snapper up to 70cm have been taking using big baitfish profiled soft plastics. Mitchell and Briony Wemyss fished with their dad Dennis out off Clifton Springs recently. They moved about a few times without much luck until they got onto a patch of hungry flatties and hooked into some rippers up to 48cm plus a 40cm king George whiting. Dennis says they fished around 100m from the shipping channel and used pipis for bait.

St Leonards to Queenscliff

Aaron Davies fished with Darren O'Sullivan off St Leonards recently catching a bag limit of whiting on the run up to high tide. The lads also nabbed 15 flathead which they caught in between the whiting bites. They then moved down to The Rip to troll lures for salmon and ended up with a big fat 2.5kg snook which smashed Darren’s Rapala X-rap in the Hothead pattern.

Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head says there are some big squid around from Portarlington to St Leonards with the high tide the best time.

Rod had four gummy sharks come in over one weekend all caught by customers fishing near the Prince George light and again around the high tide.

Whiting are still being taken although the size has dropped and the changing low tide has been the best.

Barwon Heads and Surf Coast

Ken Stevens from Barwon Heads Angling Club says the Barwon River estuary has been on fire after the big flush out it had during the cooler months. Big high tides have bought a lot of clean water up the estuary and some surprising captures with it including a big snapper from the Ocean Grove boat ramp jetty.

Also biting well have been bream to 35cm and silver trevally to 40cm. Offshore, there have been some great snapper and gummy shark captures with the 40-50m line over gravel producing the best numbers.

The Otway Streams were fishing well for trout but will heat up over the holiday period. I had a day down at the Cumberland River recently where I caught a brown trout on a caddis pattern dry fly. The little fish was 35cm and 500g, which is a good size for this river.

Abalone Fishing in Victoria

Fisheries Victoria has nominated 60 days for abalone fishing. These are; 24-25 November 2012, 1-2 December 2012, 8-9 December 2012, 15-16 December 2012, 22 December 2012 to 2 January 2013, 5-6 January 2013, 12-13 January 2013, 19-20 January 2013, 26-28 January 2013, 2-3 February 2013, 9-10 February 2013, 16-17 February 2013, 23-24 February 2013, 2-3 March 2013, 9-11 March 2013, 16-17 March 2013, 23-24 March 2013, 29 March 2013 to 1 April 2013 2013, 20-21 April 2013, 6-7 April 2013, 13-14 April and 25-28 April 2013.

Please check the DPI website for location restrictions plus bag and size limits.

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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