Winter woes don’t extend to the fishing opportunities
  |  First Published: August 2013

It’s winter but the that first sniff of spring is almost here.

Geelong Freshwater

One word – nasty! The Barwon in Geelong is coffee brown making fishing difficult. If you’re dead keen, try fishing with worms after dark and you should find a few eels. Best bet is to head out west to Wurdi Buloc reservoir near Moriac and try your luck on the trout out there.

Corio Bay

In the depths of August, the fishing can be tough so the tough go fishing (with beanies and a thermos). Frosty mornings will see plenty of long poles and beanies lining Cunningham Pier in hope of snotty trevally. To be honest, I have not heard of these tasty fish in a while so let’s hope this year is the one. Best tide and time has been high into run out at first light and best bait is raw chicken, pipis and pilchard fillets.

Hardcore snapper anglers will also target the resident fish inside Corio Bay over August. The nights are cold and the fish are few and far between but they are quality – 5-8kg are not uncommon. Top spots to try for the finger numbing snapper trips include; Corio Quay, out front of the Royal Geelong Yacht Club and Western Beach. The ground there seems featureless and boring as bath mats but the fish are there. Try pilchards and fresh squid. Check your bait often as the lice can be about. Big rock ling are a welcome by-catch around August and are awesome on the plate.

Clifton Springs and Portarlington

The piers are well worth a shot this time of year with squid available after dark and Australian salmon showing up in numbers during the day. Portarlington Pier can be busy for both as can St Leonards Pier. Generally, the salmon are not big but they can be there in numbers.

St Leonards to Queenscliff

Surprisingly, we had a good burst of King George whiting biting near the start of July out off St Leonards. These were not monsters by any stretch at 35cm but you take these tasty critters when you can. Calamari have been the main focus over the shallow reef areas. These have not been big but available in numbers worth getting out of bed for.

Barwon Heads and Surf Coast

Ken Stevens from Barwon Heads Angling Club says the Barwon River estuary has been brown now for a while due to the June rain but it is still worth a trip. Best bet has been the incoming tide when the water clears up a bit with quality silver trevally available from 35-40cm and plenty of tiddlers amongst them. Best baits have been pipis and pilchard fillets.

Australian salmon are still quite thick in the estuary and make for fantastic fun on light gear when they are really in the mood. As part of the Connections Program, a group of Lara Secondary College year nine students spent a few hours learning to tie knots, bait a hook and cast a line on Barwon River estuary with Brenton Hodges.

Since most of the land-based fishing platforms we were occupied, their only option was to fish from the bridge near the mouth. A good move as it turned out, with juvenile salmon and tommy ruff going nuts and keeping Brent busy re-baiting. Baits of peeled prawn and pipi accounted for over 100 salmon, all of which were released. Small metal slices and soft plastics also proved productive with the run-out tide being best. A few small flathead, silver trevally and pinkie snapper were also encountered on bait.

The Lara students returned to the Barwon River estuary for a second dose where they were once again amongst the action with small salmon on the go in the lower reaches of the system. Baits of peeled prawn and Gulp Turtle Back Worm soft plastic lures accounted for plenty of small, entertaining fish before they moved further upriver. Setting up along River Parade, it didn’t take long for the action to recommence.

Within just ten minutes, three somewhat unexpected catches were recorded, including a juvenile mulloway and a silver trevally on a blade as well as a ripping flounder on a soft plastic!

The mulloway capture was no fluke as other anglers have encountered a few either side of the legal length in the Barwon estuary. These fish have no pattern and been caught on all tides using both lures and baits.

Ken notes that offshore has been a little quiet although a ripping 20kg gummy shark was taken recently by anglers drifting in 40m of water. A couple of big snapper from 6-8kg have been landed in 40m as well which is unusual for this time of year.

The Anglesea River has been the place to be on weekends of fine weather where plenty of families were enjoying the sun and catching some of the local bream. I fished there recently with Andrew Sertic and his family. We caught and released plenty of small bream, flipped a few snags and the kids had a ball.

The Lara crew also fished Spring Creek at Torquay last month. Each student caught and released a bream fishing with light running sinker rigs baited with peeled prawn and bread fishing close to the mouth.

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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