Ripper of a redfin season
  |  First Published: December 2014

The redfin perch and European carp have been biting well all along the Barwon River in Geelong. Both species love a bit of warm water and the Barwon is well set up for bankside access allowing families to set up a barbeque and dangle a line on a summer’s arvo.

Take mozzie spray, white bread, small hooks and sinkers, a few lures and a bait trap. Bait the trap with some white bread and pop it beside the bankside weeds. This can provide some of the best redfin bait available in the form of galaxid minnow and gudgeon. Carp love sweetcorn kernels and white bread squashed over the hook on unweighted or lightly weighted rigs.

It is about this time of year we see some blue-green algae outbreaks in the Barwon so keep your eye out for the signs along the river that tell us to avoid water contact.

A little further out of town, Wurdi Buloc Reservoir near Moriac has continued to produce fat redfin nudging 50cm in length but a lot of time casting lures is required to land one. Michael Evans is one angler who continues to produce big redfin from this waterhole. Michael caught 4 redfin on a recent trip that were all between 44-48cm using fish arrow soft plastics.

Corio Bay

Corio Bay has been a soft plastic enthusiast’s playground with pike, snapper, flathead, salmon and the odd silver trevally patrolling the Geelong waterfront. Both land and boat based anglers have enjoyed these species with the best times being dawn and dusk.

Boat-based anglers are enjoying another bumper snapper season with quality fish around the 4kg mark being caught from North Shore rocks and just out off Western Beach.

Late November, Ross Winstanley fished the outer eastern edge of the spoil grounds off Rohm and Haas for 16 pinkie snapper up to 42cm plus a feed of sand flathead. The following week, Ross fished on the edge of the Stingaree Bay spoil grounds for two pinkies, a 39cm king George whiting and a yank flathead – not unusual for November mornings there according to Ross’ experience.

Local protests

Sunday 16 November saw 1,200 anglers blanket Moorabool Street in Geelong on the way to Cunningham Pier calling for a ban on commercial netting in Corio Bay.

The rally, which was initiated by the ‘Friends of Corio Bay Action Group’, commenced at Haymarket car park and then hooked north down Moorabool Street to Corio Bay. The peaceful protest almost completely covered Moorabool Street between Myers and Ryrie streets. It certainly gained the attention of the public blocking traffic in central Geelong for around 15 minutes and made the local politicians stand up and take notice of the recreational angler.

Legendary fishing presenter, Rex Hunt led several speakers, which included members representing the Coalition, Labour Party and the Country Alliance. Anglers came from far and wide to participate in the rally, and I did spot participants from Melbourne-based angling clubs – well done and thank you for coming down guys!

The Friends of Corio Bay Action Group can be contacted by searching on Facebook or by emailing --e-mail address hidden--

Clifton Springs and Portarlington

Jason Calder sent in a report where he caught a fair slab of gummy shark fishing in dead calm conditions out off Clifton Springs on a jet ski! Love the innovation Jason.

Ben McLean has been putting in a few hours lately and was rewarded with a snapper most dream of that weighed in at 9.35g (a tad over that magical 20lb) mark. Ben invited Stewie Turner out off Portarlington recently, the lads tried something a little different and sent some big lures to the depths using a downrigger. They didn’t have to wait long before Ben’s rod bucked and his reel’s drag let out a wail. Before Ben could reach it, Stewie was all over it and claimed a 6kg+ snapper! They had two other hook ups but failed to stay connected.

St Leonards to Queenscliff

Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head says the recent rough weather has stirred up the snapper and things are going well on the Bellarine. Rod says many anglers have caught snapper off both the Portarlington and St Leonards piers. Best times are evening and early morning, so it’s well worth a crack. Rod has had some reasonable pinkie snapper and gummy sharks come in from around the Prince George light with the best time around the turn of high tide. Pilchard and fresh squid are best bait. Fresh squid is easy to pick up at the moment between Indented Head and Grassy Point using natural and green jigs.

There were some great flathead being caught by anglers drifting in the shallows off Indented Head as the water has been pretty stirred up.

Rod notes that there has been bucket loads of flathead caught by anglers drifting out deep and also some larger fish in the shallows. Best baits have been squid and pilchards. The amount of fish over 40cm was quite amazing.

Plenty of pinkies caught this week and they are on the increase. High tide out deep around the Prince George was good and in the shallows around the mussel farms and St Leonards Pier areas in the morning and toward the evening. Some big fish were taken to the west of the Prince George around high tide. Best baits were fresh squid and pilchards.

The whiting have been hotting up as well from Indented Head back to St Leonards on the flood tide on pipis.

Other fish about were pike and barracouta using lures. Rod had had one big seven-gill shark come in at about 40kg which was caught by Damien on his own. Great effort!

If you’re keen on calamari, then you’re in luck as they have been prolific around the Bellarine Peninsula of late. Largest ones seem to be down around Queenscliff with Dean McDonald getting stuck into plenty recently just off Bell Reef in about 4.5m.

Barwon Heads and Surf Coast

We had a few days down at Wye River with a few friends last month. I fished the point the night we arrived and caught five pinkie snapper from 35-40cm right on dusk. Nothing was happening until the light dropped and then they went nuts for the squid bait I had out there. I kept one for the pan and returned the others.

I fished it again Friday night with Cam Duthie and his son Sam. Sam hooked a fish and immediately got snagged up in the weeds so Cam stepped in to wrestle the fish from the kelp. It was a grand effort by Cam to get the fish free of the weed and onto the rocks. They were very happy with the 1kg salmon, which took a pilchard. Sam also caught one other smaller salmon also on pilchard but that was it. We fished it again Saturday night with Ben McLean, Dean McDonald, Stewie Turner and Heath Wells but could only manage undersized snapper.

I took my youngest Max along the river and showed him how to use lures. We spotted a brown trout of around 35cm but the lure fouled on weed and the trout moved on but it was exciting nonetheless.

• 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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