Calamari steal the show
  |  First Published: March 2016

The Barwon River in Geelong recently had a nasty outbreak of blue-green algae. Please check the signs near the water if they are there and heed the warnings. It’s about this time of year the European carp really fire up, so if it is safe to do so, lob a few bunches of corn about the Barwon on a running sinker rig near Balliang Sanctuary or Queens Park.

Good season ahead

Bradley Cox recently chased some redfin at Wurdi Buloc reservoir near Moriac. Bradley says it has been hard work but still managed a few quality fish using Fish Arrow Flash J shads in 3-4” sizes. Ross Winstanley fished Stingaree Bay last month where he caught fifteen pinkie snapper, three yank flathead and thirteen King George whiting over a three day period. Other anglers have also enjoyed good fishing inside Corio Bay with flathead and pinkie snapper to 45cm and King George whiting to 35cm. These anglers’ results bode very well for the next month of fishing!

King George whiting have been biting well around the Bellarine Peninsula of late with anglers reporting quality and quantity from Point Wilson to Queenscliff. Gummy sharks have also made a strong appearance around the Bellarine over the last month and a bit. Gummies to 12kg have been caught out deep off St Leonards and in Bass Strait from The Rip to Torquay. No need to get up early either as they have been caught throughout the day. Best baits have been salmon fillets, but pilchards and squid have also caught plenty.

Marty Ellul from Warrnambool spent some holiday time on the Bellarine Peninsula over the Christmas break. Marty boated a 3.7kg snapper fishing out in 24m of water east of St Leonards. Marty also caught some quality King George whiting at Point Richards right on dusk, and plenty of calamari between Queenscliff and St Leonards on white, orange and green size 3 Sephia squid jigs.

The yellowtail kingfish have been biting well out off The Rip and along the Surf Coast. Brent Telenius has caught plenty of kingfish either side of legal length plus some XOS Australian salmon to 4kg not far out off Point Lonsdale. Brent trolled with white octopus surface lures and small divers while searching for them, and sent down jigs as the fish appeared on the sounder. Brent notes that they can be very fussy, going from inactive to crazy in no time.

Other anglers have enjoyed the kingfish action out off Point Lonsdale where some rippers close to 10kg have been landed. Plenty have been lost as they do have lots of power, and those not equipped to handle their blistering runs are quickly caught out.

Salmon dominate catches

I fished out off Queenscliff last month and found Australian salmon to 1.5kg working the surface in both Symonds and South Channel on the flood tide. It was quiet on the ebb tide and as soon as the flood started, the salmon showed up. The first fish I caught was on a Rapala CD14 I had trolled in the hope of a big salmon or kingfish. This fish turned out to be the best at 1.5kg. I switched to fly and chased the school for most of the arvo. The fish were a little boat shy so for those anglers who choose to cast lures take note and keep your distance from the school. I still managed about six or seven salmon to about a kilogram on fly tackle, which was great fun. I also hooked a small kingfish, which took off, hung deep and eventually spat the hook. I found the salmon quite fussy and had many follows without hook-ups. They seemed to prefer very fast retrieves with short, sharp action rather than the longer stripping action I’ve used in the past.

I had another session off Queenscliff with Dave Reynolds and his brother in law Drew, who was visiting from Canada. It was Drew’s first visit to Australia and even though he was fitting in plenty of tourist activities, he was dead keen on fishing. We tried for squid in the Lonsdale Bight and near Swan Bay with the latter producing a few small calamari for us on small green jigs. The highlight was when Dave lined up Drew with the bad end of a calamari and turned his blue shirt to black! My boat now also has a few new black stripes – thanks Dave! We also trolled for salmon in The Rip without luck and ended up catching a feed of whiting closer to Queenscliff just on dusk. The best whiting was 37cm, which went to our bait of choice, a pippi. We did catch a few on squid. Dave also hooked a small ray, which provided a bit of late session fun on whiting gear.

Ben McLean fished out off Queenscliff with Stewie Turner and Dave Marton hoping for a whiting or three. They lucked out on the whiting but managed a great feed of reasonably sized calamari near Swan Bay. Ben has done well on the flood tide with tenderised squid strips catching whiting to 40cm.

Nikita Page sent in a ripper story about her first gummy shark capture while fishing out off Ocean Grove with her dad Phil. They were hoping for a few pinkie snapper and managed to locate a school early, but could not talk them into biting. They moved into a shallower reef and sent down some bait plus a couple of baited squid jigs when the rod with the baited jig screamed off – this was no calamari! Not long after that, the bait rods went off and Nikita writes, “I was laughing, giggling and yelling to dad as time and time again the fish peeled line from the lightly set drag. Each time I had him close to the boat he would take off again and then at last we got him into the net and on board seconds later.”

Anglers casting metal lures from the rocks near Lorne have also caught some big salmon. Both Jump Rock and the rock platforms under the hospital have produced salmon up to 2kg.

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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