G’d up in Geelong
  |  First Published: November 2015

At last we’re seeing some glorious warm weather and we aren’t the only ones excited - the fish are too!

The lowdown

The Barwon River in Geelong has remained clear and the fish are biting well. Kelvin Baldwin fished the Barwon after dark for redfin during last month’s full moon. What bait was he using? Well, he wasn’t using any if you can believe it! Kelvin was using lures, a unique way to target these fish and caught a few very fat redfin as well as taking a sizable eel on a sot plastic after dark.

Kelvin also fished up near Buckley’s Falls where he cast minnow lures during the day and landed a superbly conditioned brown trout measuring in at 46cm. The unusual thing about this trout was that it was very light and silvery colour. This colouration is consistent with trout that have moved from the fresh down to the salt water as they do in their native lands. Have we seen the Barwon River’s first ‘sea run’ brown trout? Remember the fish ladder installed by fisheries last year? We may even end up seeing estuary perch at the breakwater.

Kelvin has also fished the Barwon in Geelong with Sharon Lindsdell and Tracey Trenorden chasing carp with corn and bread as bait and caught a couple around the 5kg mark.

I fished Corio Bay with Kelvin last month. Using soft plastics, we flogged the water to a foam at Portarlington, Clifton Springs and finally the Geelong waterfront but could only manage a few flathead, pike and small Australian salmon. Kelvin caught a King George whiting on one of his soft plastics. A few bigger Australian salmon were also caught by anglers trolling lures near the Alcoa pier and there seemed to be plenty of flathead about from tiny tiddlers to 35cm.

November should see the snapper go off around the Bellarine. Boat fishos should be heading to Clifton Springs, Portarlington and out deep off St Leonards and Barwon Heads or Torquay. Land based fishos should be trying North Shore Rocks, St Helens and Cunningham Pier after dark. Portarlington Pier can fish well during and after a strong northerly wind after dark as well. If you have surf fishing gear and are keen on a snapper, try Fisherman’s Beach at Torquay, Jan Juc Surf Beach east of the Surf Lifesaving Club and the rock platforms along the Great Ocean Road.

Pilchard and fresh squid are the go to baits but try a few others like silver whiting, sauries or red rockets.

The flathead are thick inside Corio Bay but there are plenty of small ones amongst them. Ross Winstanley fished in fog one morning out past Point Henry where he caught 41 flatties of which only 5 were of legal length. Ross says they were still enough to satisfy his wife and her craving for flattie tails!

Snap snap snapper

Clifton Springs have had a few snapper up to 7kg come in for those anglers fishing after dark in 5-8m of water. Calamari have also been caught by those drifting over the shallow reef and weed areas near the ramp. Brendan Brown made the trip down from Ballarat to fish Clifton Springs recently and reported a great day, catching ten squid and some quality flathead in fantastic conditions. As part of the ‘Target One Million’ project by the Labour government, Clifton Springs is destined to have a new fishing jetty! Go to http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/new-fishing-jetty-for-clifton-springs-boat-harbour to find out more.

The garfish have also been busy in and around the Bellarine Peninsula. They can hang deep when the sun is out but don’t say no to a liberal amount of berley sent out. These fish make excellent snapper bait and do ok on the plate too!

St Leonard Angling Club and the Bellarine Pirates Angling Club are hosting their annual Bellarine Snapper Challenge again this year. The competition started on the 11th of September and runs to the 1st of April 2016. Phil Walters says last year’s winner, Tony Mollenhaeur who caught an 8.41kg snapper is already planning his campaign despite having his boat stolen last year. The winner previous to Tony – Andrew (AJ) Johnson– weighed in a cracker at 11.2kg. Both are predicting a good snapper season with some nice fish already being taken. Phil notes that Paul Mayer (the local soft plastics and lure specialist) reckons there is a big chance to be among the trophy winners using some of his new lures.

Calamari have been biting well in the Queenscliff Bight with some up around 2kg. Brendan Brown made the trip down from Ballarat recently and managed a couple of rippers to 45cm hood length using artificial jigs.

The Australian salmon are biting well in the lower Barwon estuary. Most fish are from legal length to 35cm with the odd 50cm fish caught here and there. Work colleague, Andreas Rohringer spent a few hours down there on the incoming tide and caught plenty using squid and raw chicken for bait. Andreas also caught a silver trevally and a mullet just to mix things up a bit. Ten year old Ashton Brogen and his dad Dave also fished the lower estuary but only caught a couple of smaller salmon. Dave suggests they got there a bit late and the tide had started to run out.

Anglers fishing out off Barwon Heads have caught snapper either side of 5kg in weight drifting in depths of 40-50m. Inshore reefs have also produced pinkie snapper from legal length to 40cm right on sun up. As soon as the sun hits the water, it’s time to head out and drift as they stop biting.

Lorne has been fishing well for quality flathead to 55cm and pinkie snapper either side of 45cm, caught by anglers drifting in around 10-20m of water.

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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