Big bite at the Barwon
  |  First Published: March 2014


The Barwon River in Geelong has been nice and clear and the fish have been biting well.

A group of friends and I fished Australia Day near Balliang sanctuary, which is loaded up with snags, hoping for a European carp or redfin. We managed to trap a few gudgeon using a bait trap baited with bread. They were getting snapped up pretty quickly but the redfin were hard to hook. I did manage a redfin of around 400g on gudgeon but the carp kept removing my bait while I tended the snags.

Ebony Plowman, 8yo, was too excited to leave a bait stationary for too long so we rigged her up with a single tailed grub soft plastic lure. She was happy to cast and retrieve for ages and it wasn’t too long before there was some squealing and she hauled in a small reddie that had attacked her lure! Her dad Murray managed a doughnut, which she gleefully reminded him about on the way home.

Corio Bay

April is whiting time inside Corio Bay and since we’ve had a fair season around the Bellarine, I’d expect good captures over this month as well. Best possies include Clifton Springs, Hermsley, Bird Rock, Point Henry and Stingaree Bay. Land-based anglers should try the rock wall at Limeburners boat ramp, the Portarlington pier and Griffins Gully jetty in Corio Bay. Snapper have prolonged their presence inside Corio Bay much to the joy of anglers.

Richard Boyd had a day off Clifton Springs recently. Fishing just north of channel marker nine, he caught a pinkie snapper around 45cm plus a good bag of King George whiting.

Late December, Gary Adams boated a ripping snapper that weighed in at 10.1kg and measured in at 95cm! Gary caught his fish in the outer harbour using pilchards for bait.

Jonny Meehan took his daughter Lyra out on their first fishing expedition together recently. Leaving home just after 7am to test out their new rods, they headed for Bird Rock. After having no luck there they then headed over to Stingaree Bay where Lyra caught her first whiting of about 30cm. All up they caught three whiting and one toadie but they had a great time and Lyra can’t wait to head out again.  

Ray Aquilina from Karumba Fishing Adventures has had reports of anglers catching pinkie snapper and gummy sharks from the shore at Hermsley after dark. Ray also notes that a couple of very large whaler sharks around the 150kg mark were caught off Clifton Springs around mid-January. Clifton Springs has also yielded good numbers of King George whiting. Ray says that bag limits are a possibility with South Australian pipis proving the best.


Ray Aquilina says there has been a few small salmon on offer from the pier at Portarlington. They make great bait for squid and gummies but they must be of legal length. Ray notes that the snapper move in after dark and anglers have enjoyed fish to 3.5kg fishing from the pier here.

Work colleague Andrew Bowers has enjoyed good fishing out off Portarlington catching whiting around 35cm and plenty of flathead around the 40cm mark. Andrew caught the whiting on pipis and a few flathead on soft plastic lures.

St Leonards to Queenscliff

Ray Aquilina has had good reports of snapper to 7.5kg taken out in the deep water off St Leonards. Ray also notes that after dark, there has been snapper caught from the pier at St Leonards, which is good news for land-based fishos.

Ray has had some reports of quality calamari fishing the rock wall to the marine park boundary in the Lonsdale Bight. I fished here and did have a big calamari chase up the jig but he would not take it.

I fished with a group of other boats around 50m from a bloke who was smashing the King George whiting while we all remained whiting-less! I could only manage a small salmon and a tommy rough, but did notice this guy boated one whiting that would have been well over 45cm.

Anglers nearby were enjoying a hot session on the Australian salmon trolling not far from Bell Reef. Some of these fish were easily 3kg so I just had to have a crack at them! My first trolling run I boated a fish around 2.3kg and a few more either side of 1.5kg. These fish were a little hard to locate as they were not breaking the surface.

Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head says the whiting have been best at St Leonards but only an hour either side of the tide change with high tide best. Rod had a group of customer’s bag out on pinkie snapper at the Prince George Light around the high tide with fish up to 35cm. Rod says those chasing squid have found them tricky to tempt but Governor Reef has been fishing well. The squid are down deep so your jigs need to be presented down where they are which can be difficult.

Barwon Heads and Surf Coast

Ray Aquilina says there have been some big gummy sharks caught by anglers fishing around 1km east of the Rip.

Mako sharks have been caught by anglers fishing the 60m and 70m line from either side of the Rip to Torquay.

The unluckiest fish of the month must be a 65cm mulloway caught by Ray’s son Matthew at the Barwon River mouth. Matt hooked a bunch of tangled line so thought he had better pull it all in to dispose of it. But when it started to pull back he started to take things serious then in came one unhappy mulloway!

Ken Stevens from Barwon Heads Angling Club says the Barwon estuary has been fishing well for silver trevally, King George whiting, small salmon and mullet with the odd mulloway after dark. Whiting, trevally and salmon have been biting best when the high tide brings clean saltwater up the estuary. Whiting are most common downstream of the Ozone Jetty while the trevally will go as far as the clean saltwater does upstream.

The Surf Coast salmon have had a good summer with some quality fish being beached. Larger fish have come from the rock platforms while more fish are caught from the beaches on occasions. Mick Redolphy can vouch for the salmon after he caught a whopper fishing from the rocks near Lorne.

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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