Time for tasty tentacles
  |  First Published: June 2016

June is the month of thermoses and beanies in the region, but quality fishing can be had for those willing to tough it out.

Wurdi Buloc Reservoir continues to produce XOS redfin to 45cm and quality trout for those prepared to put the hours in, flogging the water to a foam with lures. Winter can see the trout really fire up and the redfin decrease in numbers, but increase in size. For those keen on trout, try winged lures or mudeye suspended under a float while reddy anglers should try soft plastic lures worked slowly along the bottom.

The Barwon River in Geelong is also producing redfin to 35cm for anglers casting minnow styled lures parallel to the bankside weed. However, as we enter June, try casting to the middle of the river and working the lure back slowly rather than fishing the edges.

Southern bluefin tuna could well be on this month’s to do list. Last month, there were 25kg models showing up off Apollo Bay, and this time last year we were talking big barrels, so let’s hope they drop in around the Surf Coast!

This year’s whiting season has been excellent for sheer numbers of fish around the Bellarine, and according to fisheries recruitment studies, it should taper off over the next few years. For this reason, I’d expect good to fair whiting fishing to continue throughout June. Last month, King George whiting were biting well from Stingaree Bay near Geelong, Clifton Springs, St Leonards and Queenscliff around the Bellarine while Fishermans Beach at Torquay also produced a few quality fish.

Ross Winstanley has been catching a few whiting early mornings inside Stingaree Bay. Ross says things were reasonably quiet until they came on the bite when the incoming tide started to move. Ross finished up with two pinkie snapper and nine whiting from 33-36cm.

Brendan Brown from Ballarat fished in an Emergency Services fishing competition inside Corio Bay last month. Brendan had a ball catching 17 flatties over 40cm, eight whiting and four pinkie snapper. Brendan says there were some quality fish caught including a big snapper and a solid gummy shark.

Troy Longson fished the western end of Corio Bay land-based and also got stuck into a few whiting using pipis for bait on the run-out tide.

Australian salmon have been busy inside Corio Bay on occasions, but locating the school has been difficult. Andrew Hill and I caught a couple to 35cm trolling lures around Point Henry one arvo after work.

I’ve had a couple of goes out off Clifton Springs with limited success. Firstly, with Andrew Hill where we caught a couple of whiting and flathead. The same night, Stuart Liles fished down near the Turning buoy with a mate where they caught a couple of gummy sharks while fishing into the night. I had another crack with Dave Reynolds and we were smashed by toadfish, but managed a couple of squid and whiting. We caught the squid drifting over the shallow weed just north of the ramp and they definitely preferred smaller jigs.

The better size whiting have been caught from Queenscliff and the shallow reef areas from Barwon Heads to Torquay, while good numbers were best at St Leonards and Indented Head. Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head says clients have done well fishing the areas from the Prince George Light, Governor Reef and down to the boat ramp at St Leonards. Both tides have been producing fish with pipis and squid proving the best baits. Rod says there have been bursts of fish either side of 40cm and they are fat, so they have provided some quality table fare.

Rod notes that the calamari have also been running hot with Governors Reef around to Grassy Point at Portarlington the best areas to try. Early morning have been the best times, but they have been available all day. Rod says that land-based anglers have been catching a few snapper after dark and whiting during the day from Portarlington Pier as well.

Wayne Ellmer had a trip down to Indented Head recently for his ‘annual squid off’ with three other families. Their annual event had Murphy, Moore and Williams family teams compete with the Elmers and they hired boats from Rod Ludlow at Beachlea Boat Hire. One of the Murphy sons, eleven-year-old Matthew Murphy said in the first 20 minutes most of the people on his boat had been inked, even though only one of them had caught some squid! But then again, it can be hard to get a squid off the jig without getting inked. Matthew says that his dad hooked a cuttlefish so big it broke the line and got away. The Murphys were victorious, however, with five calamari in the boat, and Matthew catching the biggest!

I knocked off early and fished out off Queenscliff with work colleague Andreas Rohringer last month. We trolled lures about hoping for salmon, but ended up heading up towards Swan Bay entrance hoping for a squid or three. We tossed a few jigs about but had no interest from cephalopods, so we anchored up, opened some chips and cool drinks as we sent some baits out for whiting.

We were just enjoying our first mouthful of chips when the rods baited with squid loaded up and we had a few on board! We could not get them to bite on pipis, which is normally as good a bait you can get for whiting. Squid was the winner for the day, and we kept 22 whiting to 36cm. We released a couple around 30-32cm, and I also released a few without seeing them… I chatted to a few anglers back at the ramp who also struggled to get a fish on pipis, and found squid to be the best bait.

Dean McDonald had an early start with his son Harvey and good mate Stewie. They planned for some Bass Strait work out off Barwon Heads, but were greeted with larger than safe waves at the mouth of the Barwon estuary. They decided against Bass Strait and launched at Queenscliff instead. They found things tough going down there, only landing a squid, some small whiting and flathead fishing near Swan Island.

The Queenscliff harbour can be excellent for silver trevally at this time of year, and they were biting well last month on small soft plastic lures and pilchard fillets on slack water. Most were around the 30cm mark, but there were a few caught around the 45cm mark as well.

• 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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