Some quality snapper have graced the creels of anglers fishing inside Corio Bay.
Deeper areas fished best for large fish but if you want a bit more action and are prepared to sacrifice size for quantity, head into the shallow weed beds and either flick soft plastics about or try fresh baits such as pilchards or squid.
The larger snapper have been around 5kg and the smaller fish are from legal length to 40cm. April is time to seriously start targeting King George whiting inside Corio Bay. Larger fish around 40cm move in and bite best dawn and dusk. Try Point Henry and the sand spit here, Stingaree Bay near Alcoa and Bird Rock.
Good numbers of both rock and blue spot flathead have been available to both soft plastic enthusiasts and bait fishers. Anglers fishing both the Limeburners Rock wall and St Helens have also taken flathead to 45cm and snapper to 40cm. Flathead seem to bite right on dark while the pinkies will continue on into the night.
Plenty of big carp have been caught recently. Top baits have included scrub worms, bread and corn kernels. Fish either side of 5kg have been reasonably common and they are best targeted where the water is slow flowing such as the deep wide sections near the two big car bridges. Redfin to 800g have been caught on minnow pattern lures in both divers and soft plastics plus revolving blade spinners in dark colours. Upstream the Queens Park Bridge and out near Pollocksford has been best.
Calamari have been on the prowl over the inshore weed beds off Clifton Springs. Nothing too big but a few will make for excellent bait and a great feed. Again, flathead, snapper and whiting have been biting well all around the Bellarine Peninsula with both Clifton Springs and Portarlington doing very well out of the deal. The whiting and flathead have been best at Point Wilson and Avalon while the snapper enthusiasts should try Hermsley and just north of the shipping channel for fish up to 6kg. Run-out tides on dawn or dusk have been best and they will take almost anything when on the bite here.
The Sunday morning of the Bellarine Flathead Challenge competition saw the St Leonards Ramp with 15 knots of southerly wind and waves breaking on the ramp. The organisers had no choice but to relocate competition headquarters to Clifton Springs, where the Portarlington headland gave some protection.
A good roll up of 70 fishos entered, with some from Ballarat, Colac, Montmorency and Broadford.
Both soft plastics and bait were used with the winning fish taken on plastics in Swan Bay, despite the conditions! Some nice fish taken on the rock wall of the Clifton Springs boat ramp including one at 810g and another at 510g.
First prize of $250 cash and trophy went to Sam Holwell who caught a flathead of 1.37kg. Sam fished Swan Bay with his brother Reece who boated a nice fish of 890g and mate Ben Clay who also boated a quality fish of 910g.
Mystery weight winners pocketed a $50 voucher from Mario’s Bait & Tackle. They were Aaron McGowan, Alan and Jac Eaton, Anthony Proitto and a ‘mystery man’ who slipped out without leaving his name.
It was a great day with 70 entrants weighing in 42 fish which is a pretty good strike rate.
There have been piles of garfish kicking around the Bellarine Peninsula from St Leonards to Queenscliff with Swan Bay the stand out. Get a liberal trail of berley going and you’ll soon have stacks of garfish fighting for your bait here. Anglers berleying up for garfish have also encountered some very large flathead when fishing in Swan Bay with some approaching 2.5kg.
Pike are also very keen on gars and you can often see them tearing into a school of them. Some of these pike can give a metre a nudge so can make for some fairly exciting fishing. Best bet for pike is super sharp hooks as they have a tough mouth and a small live garfish drifted out over the weed beds. They’ll also grab a lure retrieved relatively slowly such as a soft plastic along the bottom.
April can see some whopping King George whiting invade the Surf Coast. Some of these fish can exceed 50cm although a good fish is anything over 45cm. The Barwon estuary can be crawling with undersized whiting but come dusk, the larger fish can move in. Try the outgoing tide in the estuary or around the shallow reef areas just offshore. Fishermans Beach is also a known hotspot for big whiting and you don’t have to travel too far to get some. Pick a clear patch during day light hours and cast to it from the beach or launch a small tinnie from the sand and fish an hour or so after dark with fresh squid or pippies should the conditions allow.
Nick Scerri from Ocean Grove Fishing Charters has taken a couple of quality gummy sharks off Barwon Heads drifting in 40-50m of water and the odd pinkie snapper fishing out off Black Rock.
Anglesea Primary School grade threes had their first outing of their five week fishing program on the Anglesea River recently. Mick Allardyce was the master of ceremonies with his son Harry a keen helper. Using prawns for bait, all the kids caught a few fish and finished the day walking the bank and clearing up some rubbish – good on you kids!
Catch a few around Geelong, Bellarine Peninsula or Surf Coast to Lorne recently? Send in a report to --e-mail address hidden-- (note the new email) 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).Reads: 1994