Beach bums having a ball
  |  First Published: August 2015

Winter has been a cold, drawn-out and gruelling time for anglers in the local area, but those getting out and braving the condition and seeing the rewards.

Wurdi Buloc Reservoir near Moriac produced a few brown and rainbow trout up to 2.5kg for anglers fishing mudeye under a float and casting winged lures and soft plastics from the main wall. Those bouncing soft plastics along the bottom have managed to catch a few redfin to 44cm as well.

There has been a few good-sized Australian salmon kicking about inside Corio Bay. There are stacks around the 400g size but it is well worth a trip as some of them have been exceeding 2kg on occasions. They have been caught in the Grammar School Lagoon, Geelong waterfront and near the Royal Geelong Yacht Club.

Bait anglers fishing from Cunningham Pier have enjoyed snotty trevally from 400-800g. Best bait has been raw chicken, pilchard fillets and pipis while small single-tailed soft plastics have also caught a few.

Anglers with glycol for blood have fished into the cold Corio Bay nights and been rewarded with snapper to 6kg. Best bet has been to motor around with a quality depth sounder until you find a school and lob some baits down to them. Getting them to bite can be tricky so pack a variety fresh baits and be prepared to try them all. Land-based anglers have also caught quality snapper with a few to 3kg coming from North Shore Rocks.

Calamari and flathead were caught earlier last month out off Clifton Springs, St Leonards and Queenscliff. Most I heard of were better than average size at about 30cm of hood length for the calamari and up to 45cm for the flathead. The flathead are always the exception with some sections of the bay floor generously carpeted with undersized bait stealing flatties, so wading through these can require patience. Land-based anglers have caught a few King George whiting from legal length to 35cm lately. Best spots include St Helens, Rippleside and North Shore.

King George whiting have been caught around the Bellarine Peninsula lately. Portarlington Pier has had a few calamari come from it for those using skewer style jigs baited with pilchards after dark.

I fished out off St Leonards with my son Max, Terry Wise and his son Nick recently and it was standing room only out at the white lady. We drifted for flatties in 18m of water to keep the kids excited and caught plenty but all undersized, although I did catch a solitary 31cm whiting drifting in 8m of water on a pilchard tail – not what I was expecting! We moved in with the crowd and were punished by undersized leatherjackets, so we headed in.

A few anglers in at the ramp had caught fair numbers of whiting from legal length to 35cm, but no real big ones amongst them. Best baits have been fresh squid and pipis.

We all fished again the following day as it was too calm to mow lawns and do boring house stuff. We began by trolling for salmon along the Geelong waterfront then drifted for flatties and squid off Leopold, tried for whiting near Point Henry and ended up just off East Geelong Golf Course but pretty much did not lose a bait in the few hours we were out! Other anglers at the ramp had caught a few pinkie snapper fishing near Clifton Springs. The kids were treated to a wildlife show with a small hawk hovering near the ramp plus a seal and some dolphins working over some small fish near Point Henry.

Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head says some of his clients have done well on flathead and squid over the last month. The biggest buckets of flathead were caught drifting out deep off St Leonards and Indented Head and there has been plenty of them according to Rod. Rod says if you’re keen on larger flathead and can brave the cold mornings, try in the shallower water before the drop off with pilchards and blue bait for better-sized fish.

Quality squid have been caught around the Prince George Light, Grassy Point and Governor Reef areas with morning and evening fishing best. Rod says to keep moving if you luck out and keep changing your jigs as they seem to bite on different colours at different times of the day.

Rod notes that those land-based anglers should have a go on the Portarlington Pier where lots of Australian salmon are coming in throughout the day. Rod says plenty have been caught on silver wobblers but any chrome lure should be in with a fair chance. Rod’s clients have had mixed results for whiting on the shore side of the White Lady with some returning with near bag limits and others a lot less.

The lower reaches of the Barwon River estuary has been producing Australian salmon on lures and flies on the incoming tide. They have been caught up to 40cm so it makes for some great fun on light gear for pesky kids.

John Albrecht from Torquay Angling Club says he has seen some nice whiting being cleaned at the table recently, one of which weighed in at a back slapping 875g! John hasn’t been out a great deal but has heard reports of plenty of bait pinching pinkies about but most are under size.

The Australian salmon have invaded the beaches so it’s time to dust off the surf rods! Mick Allardyce from Allyweld Group fished from the beach at Anglesea where he caught a few quality Australian salmon to 2kg and some silver trevally using small metal lures cast into a deep gutter.

Some quality salmon to 2kg have been caught by anglers spinning from Jump Rock right before Lorne and the rock platforms under the hospital in Lorne have been worth a look with some ripper salmon from 0.5-1.8kg caught here on both bait and lures.

Make sure you check the tide and swell before you fish any rock platforms. If the waves are crashing over the rocks, forget rock fishing and hit the beaches. Speaking of beaches, Fairhaven to Eastern View should be worth a look this month for salmon. Try walking along and casting lures into the gutters in close. You’ll be surprised just how close big salmon will come in - especially around dawn and dusk.

If soaking a bait is more your thing, they absolutely love raw chicken and traditional fish baits such as pilchards. I have had success casting out a paternoster rig baited with soft plastic lures so if crabs are a problem, this can work well.

Been Fishing?

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).

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