May can be the top time for good whiting
  |  First Published: May 2013

The Geelong freshwater scene sees European carp biting well in the Barwon River.

There has been some ripping fish either side of 5kg. They have been biting better closer to dark but will bite during the day if it not too cold. I had a few goes down on the Barwon River near Balliang Sanctuary with the kids and a few friends over the last month. My ten year old daughter Adele called out and pointed at her bending rod which was locked up on what was clearly a large fish. We got it all the way to the bank where it spat the hook after a five or so minute fight.

It was every bit of 6kg maybe more. It was a bit of a letdown for me for it to get off but the kids coped better than I did and went back to their snags in bread. On another trip down there, Andy Worland hooked another decent fish using Powerbait only to have it drop the hook after a brief fight. We’ve used bread, Powerbait and corn plus the kids have hooked and lost a couple of possible redfin using live gudgeon we trapped in the river for bait.

Redfin have also been caught by anglers using single tailed grub soft plastic lures upstream near Queens Park.

Corio Bay

May can be red hot for king George whiting all around the Bellarine Peninsula and inside Corio Bay is no exception. Quantity and quality of fish increase and anglers should be looking to be on the water at first and last light with a spread of different baits.

Ross Winstanley has had mixed success fishing inside Limeburners Bay. Ross has caught a mixture of whiting, pinkie snapper and big rock and yank flathead using bait. Ross notes that 2012 was the poorest year in the last 16 he has fished here, which is in line with DPI whiting and snapper stock recruitment assessments conducted over the last few years. Ross says that snapper have had seven years of poor recruitment so it is possible snapper captures could lean off over the next few years.

Matt Bruce has had a couple of goes around Point Henry fishing out of his kayak. He has also had mixed luck with a few salmon and flathead to 35cm using soft plastic lures.

Land-based anglers have also enjoyed a few pinkie snapper fishing from Limeburners rock wall, Geelong waterfront, St Helens rock wall and North Shore rocks. North Shore has seen the larger fish but the other areas have seen higher numbers. Best time by far has been from dusk and into the night with most fish from legal length to 45cm.

Clifton Springs and Portarlington

Some fair snapper are still available for anglers prepared to put a few hours in. Blair Hager locked horns with a snapper while fishing of Clifton Springs using squid as bait. The snapper eventually pulled the scales down to 4.5kg and stretched the tape to 75cm. The water around 4-6m from Clifton Springs to Leopold have been yielding rock and yank flathead to 45cm, big pike to 80cm and reasonable captures of whiting to 40cm.

Anglers fishing after dark from the Portarlington Pier have caught a few small squid using small, dark coloured jigs cast under the pier lights. These then make dynamite bait for any resident snapper cruising close to the pier after dark and some anglers have locked up on snapper either side of three kilograms using these squid.

St Leonards to Queenscliff

Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head says that the main focus over the last month has been squid but King George whiting are on the improve with some solid fish to 700g coming in. Rod says anglers should look to the edges of the deeper water near the Prince George Light for whiting during the day then hit the shallower grass beds as the light drops. Best bet for squid has been the change of tides and while they can be spotted on calm days, doesn’t always mean they’ll bite. Flathead have been a little harder to track down over the last month but Rod says there has been the odd boat that hits pay dirt and bags out on them so it is just a matter of moving around.

Tim Biviano has been fishing pretty hard for trevally with soft plastics for a few years and decided to give the hardbodied lures a go for them. After a lot of hard work, Tim cracked the code and has taken a few silver trevally using minnow-styled lures inside Queenscliff Harbour.

Nick Scerri has done ok fishing outside the Rip catching flathead and the ever reliable Australian salmon.

Barwon Heads and Surf Coast

April can see some whopping king George whiting invade the Surf Coast. Some of these fish can exceed 50cm but they are more often caught in one’s or two’s rather than big numbers. The larger fish seem to bite best after dark and will take large pieces of pilchard, Bass yabbies, fresh squid and of course, pipis. Smaller whiting can also invade the lower reaches of the Barwon River estuary. These fish are far from 50cm monsters but what they lack in size, they can make up for in numbers and a feed can be extracted if you’re prepared to wade through the undersized fish.

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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