Going coastal
  |  First Published: February 2017

As we roll into February, we should be targeting sharks and kingfish offshore. Inshore areas will see big schools of Australian salmon congregate out off Queenscliff. Whiting and calamari are continuing their excellent run out off the Bellarine Peninsula and surrounds. Quality snapper are being caught from Corio Bay Inner Harbour and down the Surf Coast.

Clifton Springs and Portarlington are winning for snapper sizes, while numbers are strong off Barwon Heads and the Surf Coast for fish to 55cm. Thresher sharks seem to be about in better numbers than previous years and they can often be seen slapping bait schools with their elongated tails. It’s common to hook threshers in the tail as they attempt to stun the bait before eating it. They can also be caught trolling diving bibbed lures along the Surf Coast, so give that a go.

Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head says they are having some of the best fishing that he has seen in the last 14 years. Many species of fish are being taken in good numbers and size. The King George whiting have been fantastic. Some boats bag out with fish averaging 37-40cm and weighing about 500g.

The whiting are spread from Grassy Point around to St Leonards with the Prince George bank a hotspot. Rod suggests to try any of the grass areas in close and out to the edge of the deep water. The best baits have been squid, pipis and mussels. Fish when the tide is moving and try to get the wind direction with the tide. Make sure you hold onto your rod – some rods are getting pulled over the side as the whiting are hitting hard.

The squid are still running hot with plenty of Rod’s hire boats bagging out again this month. Try any of the weed beds from Grassy Point around to Governors Reef.

Gummy sharks have been plentiful in the deep water around the Prince George Light. Nice snapper have come in over the past couple of weeks in a similar area, while flathead have also been plentiful drifting from Indented Head down to St Leonards.

Clifton Springs has also been a good bet for calamari and King George whiting lately. The weed banks either side of the boat ramp have produced calamari, while a little further out can get you stuck into the whiting. I fished out off Clifton Springs with my mate Dave in glass calm conditions last month.

The boat ramp car park was unusually empty considering the calm conditions and all the talk about whiting of late. We drifted for squid just out off the Dell over a few weed beds, but didn’t see any. We fished a few shallow weed beds for whiting without luck and moved out to about 6m where we caught three to 33cm in quick succession on squid. We also caught some nice rock flathead to 43cm and took home a decent feed.

The Queenscliff boat harbour has had a run of silver trevally to 40cm and small salmon from legal length to 35cm. They can be caught on small soft plastic lures or pieces of pilchard. The best times are when the tide slows or stops running in the main channel, or inside the boat harbour. Anglers fishing out off Queenscliff have caught quality whiting and calamari in the Lonsdale Bight, near the pilot jetty and near the entrance to Swan Bay.

Barwon Heads has been fishing well offshore for pinkie snapper, flathead and barracouta. Yellowtail kingfish should be well and truly on the radar for anglers seeking these powerful sportfish. They can be caught jigging deep water out off the Rip and trolling bibbed lures near Charlemont Reef or Collendina. Dean McDonald fished out off there recently where he caught small barracouta, flathead and pinkie snapper to 50cm fishing in 48-55m of water.

Bradley Cox took his son Jayden down to the Anglesea River where they had a ball catching and releasing plenty of undersized bream. They also managed three quality bream of 36-37cm, which they also released. The river seems to be in good health.

Wurdee Buloc Reservoir near Moriac has produced a few rainbow trout for anglers using mudeye under a bubble float and casting lures from the rock walls. The better fish have been around the 1.8kg mark, but most are around 1.2kg and have been putting on a spectacular aerial display once hooked.

Stony Creek Reservoir has opened up for anglers for the first time in more than ten years. Located on the Geelong-Ballan Road about 40km north of Geelong, the three upper Stony Creek Reservoirs are part of Barwon Water’s Moorabool water system. The reservoir was recently stocked with 5800 brown and rainbow trout. From all reports, they’ve been biting well on lures and baits. For more info, head over to the Barwon Water website.

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 997 348. Please include where (without giving away your secret spot!), when and who caught the fish on what. Pictures are always great, but please make sure they are at least 1mb (file size).
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