Wonderful whiting in winter
  |  First Published: August 2016

August can be tough work fishing the Bellarine and Surf Coast. You need to adjust the cross hairs a bit and pick your target species carefully. Australian salmon, bream, trevally and trout are the species you can rely on to be biting in winter, but our whiting season has continued into the cooler months and are well worth looking for if you get the chance.

Jarrod Blackman decided on an afternoon’s fishing with Jasper George and a few other friends recently. They fished for a few hours in the Barwon River at Inverleigh on a friend’s farm without a sniff. So they decided to try their favourite redfin spot behind the pub for an hour or so before it got dark.

They each had a rig with two hooks and felt pretty confident they would catch a feed. After half an hour had passed, they were beginning to doubt the move, but suddenly Jasper’s rod tip signalled some interest. He waited for a second nibble and struck hard when the rod tip dipped to the tune of a reasonable fish. As the fish came bankside, they could see a second fish near it and thought that it had followed the hooked fish to the bank. But no, Jasper had caught both fish as a double header! The bigger of the two redfin was a respectable 33cmand the other was 27cm.

Michael Evans fished Wurdee Buloc Reservoir near Moriac recently. Michael says that the redfin fishing has slowed down a fair bit, but he did catch a ripper of 45cm casting a Nories Metal Wasaby spoon from the main rock wall. Other anglers have also caught similar sized fish, but from all reports, you really need to put a few casts in to get them. If we get any light easterlies, then sending out a mudeye under a bubble float will give you a good chance at a quality trout at Wurdee Buloc.

Keen whiting angler, Ross Winstanley fished with Gary McLachlan in Corio Bay recently where they caught 13 whiting from 34-38cm in a couple of hours before the high. Ross says he is fishing in around 2m of water down the southern end of Stingaree Bay, and for the first time ever, his hands were so cold he couldn’t wield the filleting knife, so they had to take fish home to clean them!

Australian salmon have been tearing into baitfish on the surface inside Corio Bay. They have come to within casting distance along the Geelong waterfront and St Helens on occasions, giving land-based anglers a shot at them. Most of the larger ones have been around the 45cm mark and have been spotted from St Helens to Limeburners boat ramp. I went looking for them one glassy Sunday, but they were scarce. I managed to find a very fussy school near Point Henry that only provided a tentative bite.

Clifton Springs did yield some better quality calamari last month for anglers fishing the outgoing tide in 3-5m of water over grassy patches.

Garfish have also been caught from the many land-based possies around Corio Bay. If you’re going to use berley, pick one that sinks a bit, as they will scatter if birds are attracted to it.

King George whiting have continued their fine form around the Bellarine Peninsula, with good numbers being caught from Clifton Springs to Queenscliff. Best bait appears to be squid with pipis running second, which is unusual. They have been quality fish as well with a few up to and over the 40cm mark.

Calamari have really turned it on around the Bellarine last month, with anglers bagging out in less than two hours according to Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head. Rod says they are spread from Portarlington to St Leonards and hanging on the weed beds.

Flathead are plentiful with some nice fish around 45cm caught by anglers drifting from Indented Head to St Leonards in about 13m of water.

The whiting have been excellent with some quality fish in the high 30cm range taken on fresh squid and pipis. St Leonards seems more consistent with fishing on both moving tides, whereas Indented Head is fishing best on the flood tide from the Prince George back to the outer Governors in about 8-10m of water. Rod says he has never seen a better whiting season than this one!

Some big salmon have been caught from the rock platforms along the Great Ocean Road, with some of them nudging 3kg. The best baits have been pilchards and raw chicken, while lures are also accounting for fish. Lorne Pier, Jump Rock and the rocks from the Surf Club to the pier are also worth a look with some salmon around the 2kg mark being caught here last month.

Torquay and Barwon Heads can see some quality whiting move into the shallow reef areas just offshore at this time of year. Your best bet will be after dark, but plenty are still caught during daylight hours. Fishermans Beach at Torquay is a great spot to lob a piece of squid out on surf tackle, as they come in quite close here.

Those keen on garfish should try Roadknight Beach after dark with pipis as they gather in the shallows in here in winter.

Fish HARD – Die Happy!
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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