Cooler weather bringing new species on
  |  First Published: April 2017

Last month will be a tough act to follow. As we ease into the cooler months, expect some species like kingfish and snapper to taper off while other species such as bream, King George whiting, Australian salmon and maybe even southern bluefin tuna in Bass Strait and the Surf Coast could provide opportunities.

The Barwon River in Geelong has fished well for redfin. Anglers casting lures parallel to the weed beds have picked up reddies from 300-900g. Single tailed grubs and minnow profile soft plastics have been killers, while minnow styled divers have also caught plenty. Live bait such as galaxid and gudgeon have been the picks for bait fishers. Anglers who like carp have caught them to 4kg using bread, worms and corn kernels. Up around Queens Park has been good for reddies, and carp seem to be all over the joint!

St Leonards Angling Club held the inaugural Come and Try Fishing Day at McLeods Waterhole, Clifton Springs recently. It had a cracking turn out with 91 children and families registered for the festivities. The day included fishing coaches, gear, bait, snags and was attended by Fishcare Victoria. The club cleaned up the area with nine bags of rubbish and fish frames removed before the event. On the day, 12 European carp were caught and removed from the waterhole, weighing a total of 8.85kg.

The biggest carp landed was by seven year old Xavier Dean at 1.69kg. Xavier’s 5-year-old brother Liam caught a 450g carp while their 3-year-old brother Archie caught a 840g carp. Their dad Brent, Isabella and Brandon Scaffidi also helped the boys who were over-encumbered by the fish they caught.

Runner up was 10-year-old Jack Inderberg with a 1.662kg carp, while Isabelle Scaffidi caught a 1.22kg fish, and 12-year-old Brandon Scaffidi managed a 390g carp. Raffle winners were Maddy Kirk, Lachlan Humphries and Harry McGowan who all took home rod and reel combos donated by Fishcare.

St Leonards Angling Club would like to thank Fisheries Victoria, Queenscliff Marine Discovery Centre for their help and the many club members from St Leonards Angling Club and Bellarine Pirates Angling Club who helped the many entrants try fishing. The State Government and Fisheries Victoria provided a grant with funds from the Recreation Fishing Licence fees to St Leonards Angling Club to make the day possible.

Ross Winstanley has been fishing early inside Stingaree Bay and catching some pinkie snapper to 48cm. Ross has lucked out on the whiting so far. He has caught anything up to seven pinkie snapper per session. Ross says there are heaps of banjos still. He suggests that it’s only a matter of time before the whiting show up.

I fished with Trent last month near Point Henry where we caught small snapper and flathead drifting and casting soft plastics in 4m of water. Best lure was the lime tiger coloured soft plastics. Hugh Hanson was also out with a mate nearby and caught a couple of flatties. Hugh spotted garfish on the surface and wasted no time rigging up a few smaller hooks with bait. Sending out a berley trail, it wasn’t long before they’d caught a few garfish for a feed.

Danny Skene has been taking clients out fishing in Corio Bay and getting them amongst some impressive snapper. A recent client, Kevin went out with Danny and caught an excellent snapper up around 4kg. Danny also fished inside the Barwon River estuary with Rowan Morrison where they caught two mulloway using squid strips for bait. It’s great to see a few mulloway kicking about the Barwon estuary again.

Peter Taylor from St Leonards sent me an email saying he’d recently come across a pelican that looked to be in distress. With some help from a passer-by, Peter managed to capture the pelican and remove some fishing line and hooks that it had become tangled in. Peter was surprised to find that the line had six large hooks tied to it. It is illegal for recreational fishers to have more than two hooks per line in Victoria and it is extremely important to collect and bin any waste line, or rubbish in general that you may have.

Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire says the whiting were slower last month. Unfavourable tides where there is little difference between high and low can be the blame for many species slowing down and this could be a prime example. However, there have been a few reasonable catches along the edge of the deep water from Governors Reef back towards the Prince George Light off the Bellarine Peninsula.

Rod has caught quite a few good size pinkies and even some larger snapper to about 4kg out off the Prince George Bank with the best time being the high tide. Other anglers have caught quality gummy sharks to 8kg fishing out here in 18m+ of water using salmon fillets for bait.

Rod notes that calamari are still around in good numbers. Be prepared to move around to find them. Governors Reef is the place to start looking. Rod says that plenty of flathead are about the deeper water off the Bellarine Peninsula and are biting much better on the flood tides.

I fished out off Indented Head with Hugh Hanson recently. In glassy conditions, we caught 18 calamari in about 4m of water over a mixture of grass beds and reef. We found the squid in groups of up to 20 or so hovering over the reef areas. Some of them were quite small and would make excellent kingfish baits for those keen on prospecting the rip for them. A wide variety of jigs worked at different times for us. Hugh’s favourite small green jig smashed them early while my orange jig caught a few later on.

The Bellarine Flathead Challenge was held by the St Leonards Angling Club in conjunction with the Bellarine Pirates Angling Club on the last weekend of January. The turnout was great with 38 contestants enjoying the competition held out of Clifton Springs. Mark Stalio weighed in a ripper of 1.12kg to win the $200 prize.

Mystery weight winners who all received a $25 voucher from Mario’s Fresh Bait were Mick Nocera, Terry Gill, Maria Stalio, Mark London and Jimmy Robinson, while the $100 raffle on entry tag was won by Grace Scaffidi.

• 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).

Photo coutesy of Danny Skene.

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