Remember last May, when anglers were catching 100kg+ southern bluefin tuna out off the Surf Coast? I hope everyone has spent their kids’ education fees or inheritance on some game fishing gear in anticipation of the same this season! Early signs are good out west, so let’s hope they make another appearance for us!
May is traditionally a great month for King George whiting around the Bellarine and Surf Coast. We could definitely be in for a whiting bonanza! We’ve also had a bit of a pinkie-fest inside Corio Bay. There has been plenty of bait stealing undersized fish, but enough from legal length to 45cm with a few around the 5kg mark as well. The larger fish were caught on pilchards and fresh squid over near Point Wilson and in 20m of water off St Leonards after dark.
Australian salmon have been smashing baitfish on the surface along the Geelong waterfront. They have been spotted from the promenade to St Helens and can be caught from St Helens rock wall, Cunningham Pier, the waterfront break wall and near the Yacht Club by land-based fishers casting lures or using pilchard pieces for bait. They are not trophy sized at 30-40cm, but are fantastic fun.
Ross Winstanley has been getting stuck into the whiting inside Corio Bay and returning with a few mixed bags. Ross varies his depth and by fishing as shallow as 1.8m he has caught himself a bag limit of whiting on pipis and squid (keeping only those fish over 30cm). By-catch has been good too and includes rock and blue spot flathead along with a few pinkie snapper.
Matt Wakefield has been enjoying his new boat with his fiancée Ally Martin, fishing inside Corio Bay and catching plenty of flathead including Matt’s first fish using a soft plastic lure. Matt and Ally caught most of their fish drifting near the Promenade using bluebait and squid for bait.
I took my son Max out in Corio Bay where we fished with Dean McDonald and his two sons, Hunter and Harvey. We trolled for salmon without luck and ended up soaking some baits out off Leopold where the kids caught a few pinkie snapper and flathead. Max ended up with the biggest – a 35cm pinkie.
My work colleague Andreas Rohringer fished from Rippleside Park where he caught a pinkie snapper on pilchards within ten minutes of setting up. Andreas noted that pipis, squid and chickens only seemed to attract tiny pickers.
More work buddies Adam Jordan and Byron Sharrock both fished out off Clifton Springs where they found the squid very keen on the incoming tide. At one stage, Adam had groups of squid cashing his jig in. They ended up with a dozen in the boat while Byron caught eight small salmon fishing from his boat.
Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head says the squid are firing on the Bellarine Peninsula at the moment. Rod suggests that the best spots have been Governor Reef, Prince George Bank and Grassy Point. The run of King George whiting around the Bellarine has been up and down but if you put the time in, you’ll get the fish. Rod notes that dawn and dusk have been best on either tide and that St Leonards has been good as well as Steels Rocks near Portarlington for whiting. Pinkie snapper have shown up in the region, and Rod has had a few customers get stuck into them right on the turn of the high tide out off Indented Head. Most fish have been from sub legal to 35cm, but well worth it all the same.
Craig Rippon from Apollo Bay fished out off Indented Head over Easter where he found bag limit captures of whiting and excellent squid numbers each day of his holiday! Mick Allardyce from Anglesea has hosted fishing sessions for Anglesea Primary School kids in the Anglesea River over the last few weeks. The kids have been having a ball catching and releasing small bream and the odd small salmon using bait.
Barwon Water plan to open up Painkalac Reservoir for public access later this year. The dam is currently the primary water supply for Aireys Inlet and surrounds but needs expensive upgrades to the water treatment plant. A pipeline from Anglesea will connect Aireys Inlet to Anglesea’s water in late 2016. The dam will be opened to the public for walking, riding, bird watching and recreational fishing.
I had a reader send in an email last month concerned about the amount of rubbish he was picking up from the stretch of beach from Aireys Inlet to Eastern View. He is also a keen fisher and is very careful to pick up any rubbish he sees lying about. What I find disgusting is how people can carry bait, beer or chips to the beach full but cannot carry it out empty? This is one of the most beautiful stretches of beach we have on the Surf Coast so please take your rubbish home – wherever you go.
I fished Moggs Creek Beach with a few mates hoping for a salmon or three last month but lucked out. We tossed everything at them including fresh bait and an armoury of lures but doughnutted. There were some fantastic gutters here running parallel to the beach, which could be good after dark on a low tide.
Throughout May, expect Wurdi Buloc Reservoir trout to get excited. Michael Evans has caught a couple of rippers on soft plastics and metal spoons already. Mudeye suspended under a bubble float when there is a light easterly is a winner for this lake or cast lures until your arms fall off. The Surf Coast can have an excellent run of big whiting at this time of year. Try the mouth of the Barwon on the run-out tide and those shallow reef areas off Ocean Grove for XXL KGW.
There will be a new moon on 7 April and a full moon on 22 April. Both dates will have excellent tides for mulloway hunting in the Barwon. Fresh squid, a warm thermos and a beanie will give you the best chance.
• 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: 1327