The region is buzzing with yet another cracking snapper season. Boat ramps are full by sun up as plenty of anglers flock to the water in search of big red. However, snapper need not be your primary target as there are plenty of other species that really have a crack over November.
The Barwon River has defrosted somewhat and the fish are back on the bite. The river has very good flows and has cleared up a fair bit from the dirty coffee colour late September.
Redfin from 200-600g have been caught by anglers fishing minnow profile and soft plastic lures hard up against the banks, while bait anglers have enjoyed similar captures using live minnow.
Australian salmon are still terrorising the baitfish inside Corio Bay. Fair schools of salmon have been hanging out around the Grammar School Lagoon and Alcoa Pier with the odd fish being caught along the Geelong waterfront.
Most fish have been around the 800g mark, although there has been the odd 2kg model plus a 40cm snapper pulled from schools of salmon.
Snapper have been the main target and have not disappointed anglers who are prepared to work a bit for their fish. After dark has been best time and if it’s on a run-out tide, even better. Most fish are either side of 5kg but there are bigger fish amongst them.
Pilchards and fresh squid have done most of the damage with soft plastic enthusiasts also accounting for some quality fish to 50cm from just under East Geelong Golf Club to Cunningham Pier.
Again these coastal towns are the place to be if you’re after a big snapper with persistent anglers returning with snapper either side of 5kg with the odd fish over 8kg.
Good numbers of calamari are in the shallows here and make great bait on the trip out. Along the bank from Clifton Springs to Point Henry, anglers using soft plastics on the drift have tangled with rock flathead to 45cm, snook from 70-90cm and snapper up to 45cm. Best plastics have included Berkley Gulp in nuclear chicken, lime tiger and turtle back worms.
Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head reports there are plenty of flathead on offer in the deeper water. Clients have been drifting around the 15-18m mark and catching plenty of flathead using bluebait between Portarlington and St Leonards. Rod says there are stacks of little ones but persistence will see a few fish around the 37-40cm mark.
Rod notes the calamari have been going great guns from Grassy Point at Portarlington to Indented Head. Again, there are plenty of small squid to contend with but there are also enough around the 1kg mark to keep you keen. Rod suggests trying smaller jigs for the larger squid and move around a lot as they are moving around a lot depending on the tides and time of day.
Rod suggests that November should see the whiting really kick into gear with this region of the Bellarine being one of the best in Victoria for these tasty fish.
The Queenscliff area has been buzzing with silver trevally and whiting. Some cracking trevally have been caught by anglers fishing ‘The Cut’ using soft plastics and baits such as pipis and pilchard fillets. Best bet has been right on the change of the tide when the water isn’t flowing as hard (slack water). Small single tailed grubs and turtleback worms have done well for soft plastic enthusiasts.
There has been a fair few small salmon jumping on baits and lures meant for trevally but if you can patiently wade through these, some of the silvers have nudged 2kg.
King George whiting have been biting inside the Lonsdale Bight. What the captures lack in consistency, they have made up for with quality fish either side of 40cm. Best baits have been fresh squid and pipis and make sure you use a long leader if the tide is running hard.
Quality snapper to 4.5kg have been caught by anglers drifting over rubble beds in 35-40m of water. In a little closer and further down towards Torquay, anglers have caught snapper to 6kg anchored in 15-20m of water over reef areas. The Barwon River estuary has had good numbers of Australian salmon and silver trevally but mostly on the incoming tide.
The river remained discoloured for much of September due to the wet September. The beaches have produced some hot days on the salmon although they have been a little hard to predict, some of them have pushed 2kg. Walking the beach with short but powerful beach rods around 2.4m and casting metal lures into the surf can be great fun but also covers a lot of water when trying to locate fish.
The rock platforms either side of Lorne have yielded plenty of barracouta to 60cm and salmon from 600g to 2kg.
The Otway streams are flowing high clear due to the good spring rains and with the warmth of November, we’ll see some enjoyable light tackle flyfishing.
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).Reads: 1988