Barrels keep coming in…
  |  First Published: December 2015

Looks like we could be in for a warm summer of fishing, so don’t forget the sunscreen and hat!

The biggest news on the planet was the game fishing scene out in Bass Strait with plenty of anglers hooking, losing and landing XXOS southern bluefin tuna. From memory, the biggest I heard of was around 160kg and caught out off Lorne, so some big distances have been covered. Other anglers caught tuna from 70-120kg in water as shallow as 35m or only 5km from land!

Rapala X-Raps have been a proven winner while skirted lures have also produced plenty of fish. One effective technique has been to send one lure a long way behind the boat to tempt boat shy fish.

Launching out of Queenscliff, Brent Telenius and Cam Lugg aimed for Torquay. While trolling in about 60m of water, they hooked and landed a southern bluefin tuna that weighed in at 122kg after a stubborn four-hour battle.

Launching out of Barwon Heads recently, Anthony Zammit fished with Phillip Exe and Gary Austin in hope of tangling with one of these big tuna. The three headed about 30km southwest out from Barwon Heads and started trolling skirted lures in 65m of water near Anglesea. An hour and a half into the trolling and they spotted a ball of bait with dolphins, birds and a whale working the area so they decided to circle about and continue to drag some lures. It was an hour and a half later before they finally got their hook up trolling a Pakula Evil Angel. Around 50 minutes later, they had the big fish to the boat. However, it wasn’t finished yet and it took off for the horizon! Not long after the fish bolted, a seal started mooching about sensing a free feed and they were worried they were going to lose the tuna. Lucky enough, the seal moved on, the fish was bought boat side again and they managed to haul it on board. A quick stop off at Mario’s Fresh Bait in Moolap saw the fish weigh in at a very impressive 112kg.

The boat ramps at Queenscliff and Ocean Grove were flat stick as word got out of a big tuna landed lately. I went to chase a few squid recently with plans to launch at Queenscliff. The cars waiting to launch were gridlocked back to the second roundabout in the main street at 5:30am! We ended up launching at St Leonards and managed 15 calamari to 40cm in the hood between myself, Greg Ainsworth and Michael Crawford. The best performing colour on the day was white early on and then darker colours as the sun poked through.

Snapper season has paled into insignificance a tad due to the epic tuna being caught but rest assured there are some quality fish being caught in the region at the moment. The turning buoy out off Clifton Springs and north of the shipping channel at Portarlington have been popular with a few snapper being caught here either side of 6kg.

Fresh squid and pilchards seem to be the bait of choice with squid being reasonably easy to capture on your way out if you have a bit of light. Some anglers have reported seeing fish caught by nearby boats while others fail to lose a bait so persistence is the key.

Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head says he has been flat out during periods of calm weather. Rod says there has been some cracking squid around the 1kg mark caught from St Leonards around to Grassy Point, with some larger ones on the deeper reef areas. Best bite has been first thing in the morning but clients still caught plenty during the day. Flathead have been biting well out in the deeper water off St Leonards.

Gummy sharks have also shown up in the deeper waters, which Rod estimates have been around 4-5kg with pilchard being the bait of choice.

I took my seven-year-old son Max down to the Barwon estuary where we met Andrew Sertic and his lads Lincoln and Fraser recently. We had a great time baiting rods, de-snagging and untangling lines as the kids hauled in a few small Australian salmon while inhaling Cheezles on the incoming tide.

The section of the Barwon River that runs through Geelong has been fishing very well for redfin. Anglers have caught quality fish to 40cm casting soft plastics and diving lures parallel to the bankside weed beds. A bait trap with crumbled white bread can attract local gudgeon and galaxid, which are also dynamite redfin bait.

Those after some light tackle and big fish shenanigans can look no further than the Barwon for some XL European carp to 6kg and better. Best bet here has been lightly waited running sinker rigs baited with white bread, worms or sweetcorn kernels on those warm days.

Big carp have also been biting at McLeods Waterhole at Clifton Springs. Danny Stephenson has been taking his kids Midian and Salem down to McLeods Waterhole in Drysdale over the school holidays to fish for carp. Danny says they are so plentiful you can see them moving about the shallows. They have caught a few using corn as bait and there has been some rippers amongst them too.

• 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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