By May we’re really starting to see a chill to the wind and water surface temperatures are dropping. A few species wane over the colder months so you need to adjust your sights if you wish to land a few with consistency.
May should see the snapper taper off a bit with increases in silver trevally in Queenscliff Harbour and Australian salmon along the Surf Coast beaches. Anglers keen on self-punishment should try for mulloway in the Barwon estuary as their captures are becoming more frequent over the last few years, which is great news. Those who have caught quality mulloway in the past have spent plenty of hours covered in plenty of clothing after dark on the Barwon River estuary. Try to pick tides where there is the least difference between the high and the low for minimal amount of water movement and a few days before a full or new moon has proven to be peak.
Michael Evans has been haunting Wurdi Buloc Reservoir near Moriac where he caught and released a 45cm brown trout. Michael was using a kosan ayu coloured 2” Flash J Huddle Tail Fish Arrow soft plastic lure on a 1/16 Nitro jighead.
King George whiting should bite well early in May and start to taper off slightly as we approach these cooler months.
Whiting were biting well out off Clifton Springs with anglers catching fish to 36cm and a few bag limit captures amongst them. Anglers fishing close to the mussel farms using pipis early in the morning have caught good numbers.
Alan Jones writes in to tell us that the gummy sharks were biting well off St Leonards. Alan caught one that stretched the scales down to 12kg. Alan caught his fish in 15m of water using fresh salmon for bait half way through the run-out tide. Alan says he had to wade his way through many banjo sharks and was busted off by something that he could not stop before the gummy took the bait, but it was well worth it.
Phil Walters from St Leonards Angling Club also managed a gummy shark fishing out off St Leonards. Phil caught his in 23m of water while fishing with Ray Beeden using salmon they’d caught on the pilchards. Ray also boated a couple of small seven-gill sharks and they were bitten off a couple of times.
Whiting have been a little tough to find out off St Leonards but those that have got a school excited have boated fish either side of 40cm. The whiting have been caught out a little deeper in the 6-8m range.
Work colleague Andreas Rohringer has been fishing hard from local piers lately. His captures have included the odd legal length whiting, calamari, undersized pinkie snapper and leatherjackets fishing from St Helens, Cunningham, St Leonards and Limeburners rock wall. Andreas has used a wide variety of baits, which include raw chicken, pipis, pilchards and squid, but Andreas reckons pipis have been working best.
Corio Bay has been teeming with bait thieving, undersized snapper of late. DEPI Fisheries note that surveys of snapper stocks by fisheries scientists indicate a large number of these small fish entering the fishery, which is a great sign for the future. To ensure most have a chance to grow up, anglers should fish responsibly, abide by catch limits and release all undersize snapper carefully and quickly with least possible injury. Report suspicious or illegal fishing activity in Victoria to 13FISH (133474).
The St Leonards Angling Club in conjunction with the Bellarine Pirates Angling Club held the Portarlington Mussel Festival Flathead Challenge a week after it was scheduled due to bad weather. I signed up with work colleague Andrew Hill and I have to say it was one of the tougher days I’ve had on the water in search of a legal length flathead out off Clifton Springs.
Apart from a few motor issues, all we could catch were undersized pinkie snapper, undersized to barely legal flathead and toadfish! Back at the ramp, many anglers fishing Clifton Springs had similar tales of woe (apart from engine issues). However, a few anglers were catching flatties around the corner at Portarlington. Phil Walters from St Leonards Angling Club says the number of entrants was lower than expected and plenty found it tough going. Daniel Johnson fished soft plastics from the bank near Clifton Springs were he caught a 68cm flathead the week before the competition but the best he could manage during the competition was a fish of 700g. That was enough to win him the $100 first prize for heaviest flathead! Daniel Hill fished from a kayak not far from the Clifton Springs boat ramp where he caught a few flathead around the 400g mark.
Swan Bay has seen a few King George whiting biting on pipis during the outgoing tide, and calamari and garfish have also been inside Swan Bay in good numbers so you’ll need a few changes of tackle to cover all bases!
After dark has seen pinkie snapper and gummy sharks caught. Remember to check the marine park boundaries if you’re planning on fishing Swan Bay.
The Queenscliff Boat Harbour has produced some quality silver trevally, calamari and small Australian salmon for anglers using bait and artificials. Slack water has been best but you can still catch them when the tide moves as long as it doesn’t run too hard.
Some big Australian salmon to almost 3kg have been caught by anglers trolling lures from the Rip to Beamlea. They have been spotted busting up on the surface so you can cruise up carefully and lob lures at them, which always provides plenty of yelling and pointing.
The Barwon estuary has been coughing up a few quality elephant fish for anglers using pilchard fillets after dark. Some of these fish have given 3kg a scare, so it is well worth a visit.
• 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 997 348. 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: 1230