Action in autumn
  |  First Published: April 2015

The freshwater fishing in the region has been pretty good over summer, with the blue green algae outbreaks we often get this time of the year failing to occur thanks to the relatively cooler summer.

Michael Evans has been catching plenty of redfin at Wurdiboluc Reservoir near Moriac over the past month, with this great sportfish coming on the bite in late February, and continuing to bite throughout March for anglers fishing the weed beds late afternoon and early morning.

The redfish that Michael has been catching have been full of good sized yabbies and minnows, giving bait anglers a good tip on their baits of choice if they choose to hit Wurdiboluc Reservoir in search of a few redfish. Wurdiboluc trout have been slow due to the dropping water levels, but should start to pick up over the next few months. A few trout have been on the prowl on the surface early in the morning and late afternoon, with the mudeyes the flavour of the month for bait fishing trout anglers. Rainbow trout to 1.3kg and the occasion brown trout to 3kg have fallen to mudeyes fished under a bubble float.

Lures of choice for over the last month for redfin have been the ever reliable Fish Arrow soft plastics in 3 and 4in, Pegron Tiger Minnows, Strike Pro Bob n’ Spoon, and Daiwa Double Clutches. Andrew Partridge recently hit the Barwon River to give his new kayak its maiden run and spent the day dragging a few diving minnows along the weed beds for good result, bagging a stack of redfin to blood his new kayak in grand style.

Shore Based

Land based anglers have been having a ball on the trevally schools hanging around Cunningham Pier. While most fish are small, weighing 300gm, there is the odd 600gm fish getting around. Raw chicken and pippies have been the best bait and small single tailed grubs in motor oil colour have done well for soft plastic enthusiasts. Corio Bay has been crawling with undersized pinkie snapper, and they love anything you throw at them and are especially keen on baits meant for whiting.

A recent trip to Point Henry with work colleague Andrew Hill saw us drifting and flicking lures in 4-5m of water. Andrew caught a stack of undersized pinkie snapper on squid bait, plus a 40cm plus flathead caught on a vibe hoped across the bottom. I used a Berkley Gulp Minnow down deep and had stacks of hits but failed to stay connected.

Whiting time

Who likes whiting? Well you’re in luck because April is whiting time, and if February and March are anything to go by we could be in for a cracking April. Anglers fishing around Corio Bay with pippies and squid have caught whiting from legal length to 38cm, while there has been a few larger fish to 45 cm caught between St Leonards and Queenscliff.

I fished out off Clifton Springs recently and picked up a handful of whiting using squid as bait. These fish were caught in about 4m of water just south of the mussel farms. I’m not alone with my whiting experience, with plenty of anglers getting amongst them, including a couple of anglers I recently chatted to at a cleaning table who had a good bag of whiting caught from Point Henry and Point Wilson. Pippies have been the best bait, with mussels coming in a close second, followed by squid.

Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head says that clients have been getting good bags of whiting between the Indented Head Boat Ramp and Grassy Point near Portarlington. Rod notes that the rising tide has been best, but as long as the water is moving you should catch a few. The whiting have been caught very close to shore when the boat traffic is light, while the evenings have been red hot on the Prince George Bank lately.

Flathead challenge

Phil Walters from St Leonards Angling Club says the 2015 Bellarine Flathead Challenge was a huge success with 66 competitors vying for the heaviest flathead. Phil says that some competitors found it hard to drift because of the light and variable winds off Clifton Springs, however off St Leonards the wind was ideal for drifting and catching fish.  In total 39 fish were weighed in, and ranged in size from 180 to 860gm.

Australian salmon and yellowtail kingfish have made their presence known at The Rip and down along the Surf Coast. The most successful method has been deep jigging knife jigs, with fish from legal length to 70cm the most common sizes caught. Anglers fishing with heavy tackle have caught fish in excess of 13kg, both at The Rip, and out towards Torquay. Out from The Rip and Barwon Heads salmon to 3.2kg have also been taking lures trolled for kingfish. Salmon have also been spotted tearing into baitfish on the surface, which really gets the blood pumping and the casting arm twitching.

Fish HARD – Die Happy!

Have you caught a few fish around Geelong, Bellarine Peninsula or the 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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