October is the biggest month on the calendar
  |  First Published: October 2013

This is arguably the biggest month on the angling calendar, as October heralds the start of the snapper season around Geelong, the Bellarine and Surf Coast.

The past few years have been nothing short of sensational with many anglers cashing in on trophy snapper of 4-8kg

Geelong Freshwater

The Barwon River in Geelong is running high and brown due to the plentiful rain throughout the last few months. Lure fishing is definitely out, but those fishing with bait have caught plenty of eels right throughout the system. All you need is garden worms or small pieces of meat and a running sinker rig or no sinker at all will do it.

The Corangamite Catchment Management Authority has installed a fish ladder on the Barwon River at the second breakwater. The ‘second break’ is located not far above Lake Connewarre and was originally installed almost 100 years ago to hold fresh water in the lower reaches of the Barwon to provide stock with drinking water. Many estuarine fish species require freshwater to spawn and the second break almost wiped most of these species out of the Barwon River. Hopefully, the installation of this fish ladder will allow native species like estuary perch to resume breeding and see their populations increase.

The fish ladder is made of a series of concrete culverts forming a ladder in the riverbank. Running water at the opening is designed to entice fish to enter and start their upstream journey.

The project, which was two years in the planning and took two weeks to construct, was funded by the Victorian Government, including funding from recreational fishing licence fees, with support from VR Fish, Fisheries Victoria and Parks Victoria.

Corio Bay

At the time of writing, Australian salmon and yellow eyed mullet were biting well along the Geelong waterfront. Best bet has been first and last light. The salmon are all over soft plastics in baitfish profiles and the mullet have been caught by anglers using pipis, bread and raw chicken under small floats.

October is snapper time in Corio Bay. Best land-based spots to nab one of these great sportfish in Corio Bay include; North Shore rocks, St Helens rock wall, Cunningham Pier and Limeburners boat ramp rock walls. They love fish baits such as garfish, pilchards and whitebait but also love fresh squid. For boaties, try the edge of the shipping channel near Point Henry, Western Beach and Corio Quay.

Clifton Springs and Portarlington

Clifton Springs and Portarlington are one of the best places in Victoria to bag a trophy snapper in October due to the consistency of the big fish captures here. Only problem is that everyone knows this and it does get flat out at the boat ramps. Please be patient while launching and help out others as required.

Bait fishing is reasonably straight forward with fresh being best. Use those old yellow, mushy pilchards from last season for berley and grab some new stuff. Even though they have decent teeth, you can still use a reasonably light leader of around 7kg onto a running sinker rig.

Soft plastic fishing has changed the face of snapper fishing in Victoria forever with plenty of anglers taking up this exciting way to target this so called ‘bait only’ species. If you’d like to give this a nudge, grab a few soft plastics and target depths from 4-6m over broken ground. Shallow water fishes best first and last light and the deeper you go, the harder it is to control your lure. Try drifting and jigging your lure or cast well ahead of the boat and keep the lure within about 1m of the bottom, twitching it, rest it, twitch it and rest – all the way back to the boat/jetty etc.

St Leonards to Queenscliff

Peter Axiak took his sister Lisa out for a flick on the squid recently after dark on the night Queenscliff pier. Peter says the squid had not been in great numbers or size but his theory was they might be in with a chance of landing a beast because the night before Peter lost a giant right at the pier. As luck would have it, Lisa hooked and landed a beast on her fourth cast of the session right on dusk.

At first she thought she had snagged the bottom and called for Peter’s assistance. But as Peter walked over to lend a hand the reel started to scream and so did Peter. The squid measured 43cm hood length and he estimated its weight to be over 2kg. The squid fell to the ever reliable Shimano Sephia 14T in 3.0 size. Barwon Heads and Surf Coast

The Surf Coast can be red hot for snapper early October. Sadly, Ocean Grove has the only boat ramp where large boats can safely be launched until you hit Apollo Bay. Beach launching can be done from Zeally Bay in Torquay and Roadknight Bay in Anglesea

Mick Allardyce has had a couple of reports of some good gar fishing along the Surf Coast with most sheltered bays offering the chance at these tasty morsels. Mick’s mate Luke Willis has done very well fishing for gars near Artillery Rocks using sand fleas for bait. Mick says the best bait has been sand fleas but they will take pipis, pilchard pieces and bread. Sand fleas are easily caught by kids when you lift seaweed on most beaches. If you have no kids, lift the seaweed and throw yourself on the sand to trap the fast moving critters.

Garfish are relatively small and have hard mouths so you need fine, super sharp hooks to connect with them. Find a sheltered bay and berley up with some bread or chook pellets oaked in tuna oil and seawater.

Mick notes that Luke has also been for a walk along Lorne Pier where he saw anglers tearing into some ripping salmon around 2kg.

Mick says that the Anglesea River is full as a boot after the recent rains and is teeming with undersized bream. If there is ever a better pace to take the kids to catch a fish, let me know and I’ll compare it with the Anglesea River.

Nick Scerri from Ocean Grove Charters has had a couple of good days out in Bass Strait over the last few months. Nick says a few clients got stuck into a ripping thresher shark plus a few pinkie snapper. Nick says the thresher took a live snapper! Nick noted that the water was still quite cold but there is so much bait offshore at the moment, he expects this season to be a good one.

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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