Trying new tactics for winter
  |  First Published: June 2017

Easing into winter isn’t always a great deal of fun, however the fishing can be excellent if you’re prepared to try a few different tactics – with a beanie!

The cooler months always see the larger redfin come on the bite. You’ll get fewer redfin at your chosen location, but the ones you get should be of a larger average size. Wurdiboluc Reservoir near Moriac is renowned for its large redfin – some of which can top 50cm and 2kg! Working mid to large sized minnow imitations slowly and as close to the bottom as possible will give you a shot at the big redfin. Soft plastics can be worked super slow and are relatively snag-free, while heavier spoons can also be used with a slow retrieve which sees them near the bottom.

Bradly Cox took his two-year-old son Jayden fishing at Stoney Creek Reservoir to break in his new Dusk custom rod last month. The father-son team were casting spoons in very shallow water using a super slow retrieve when Jayden caught a very respectable 38cm redfin! Bradley says that it was good to see a few bigger models showing up.

Michael Evans has also been busy chasing trout and redfin at Wurdiboluc and Stoney Creek reservoirs. Michael caught a ripper rainbow trout of 53cm and 2.3kg on a Nories Metal Wasaby spoon. Michael says ample 20-45cm redfin have been on the chew, and bigger models are starting come on the bite now that the weather is cooling down. Michael’s tip for would-be reddy chasers is to use bright colours when it is a bright day, and on dark days use darker colours.

Schools of Australian salmon have been spotted smashing into baitfish schools on the surface inside Corio Bay. This is an exciting form of fishing, and if you happen across an angry school, it can be a fish per cast! They have come within casting distance on some days, much to the delight of pier fishers. Remember that if you are approaching a school, stop and cast at them. Never troll lures through the middle of the school or you’ll just frighten them off.

Land-based anglers fishing the rock wall at St Helens have enjoyed getting into a few pinky snapper and flathead to 35cm. Bluebait and pilchards cut into pieces have been the best baits. Ross Winstanley has been hitting Stingaree Bay hard in search of King George whiting over the last month. Ross notes that the cool weather may bring the whiting deeper inside Corio Bay over June.

Anglers have enjoyed quality King George whiting either side of 40cm fishing in 5-7m of water out off Clifton Springs. Bag limit captures aren’t common. The quality of fish makes up for this. Snapper to around 3kg have also been caught by anglers fishing out off Clifton Springs. The first few hours after dark has been the best time, and pilchards are the best bait.

Remember there is now a new jetty off the rock wall at Clifton Springs. It is quite shallow here so it will be best fished when the water is dirty after strong winds, or after dark. Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head says the fishing has been pretty good over the past month, with mixed species on the bite.

There has been the odd large snapper around, up to about 6kg, and plenty of pinky snapper up to 1kg being taken between Governors Reef and Portarlington. The best times have been first and last light and around the high tide with the Prince George Bank a standout. The snapper are coming in close at night and when the water has been dirty following strong winds. Good numbers are being caught off the Portarlington Pier. The best baits have been fresh squid and pilchards.

Rod notes that the squid have been biting well with some rippers approaching 1kg in weight among them. The whole Indented Head area has been amongst the best spots. Rod had one client throw back over 30 squid just so he could keep the biggest ones. Rod suggests that all you need to do is find a weed bed and get onto them.

Rod also had a couple of boats do extremely well on the whiting with fish up to 44cm and weighing 750-800g. The deeper reefs off Indented Head and Grassy Point in about 4-8m have been best spots. Either side of the high tide is the best time. Rod says you should use good quality pipis or mussels for the best results.

Flathead were also biting well last month with some good-sized fish taken in fairly shallow water around Indented Head and St Leonards.

The Barwon River estuary has been high and brown with all the rain we had making fishing difficult. The best method has been to fish the last half of the run in tide when the clean salt water heads upstream. Silver trevally and small salmon have been the most common captures. Mulloway to 6kg have also been good on fresh squid during the right tides around a full or new moon.

We’ve had a shipload of rain in the region and a lot of Surf Coast estuaries have turned to coffee, making lure fishing very difficult. Those estuaries that were closed at the mouth are now open. If the water is dirty, large scrub worms can see you pestered by eels, but you should still be able to snag a bream if you’re lucky.

Painkalac Reservoir near Aireys Inlet has been opened for public use. Fisheries plan to stock it with estuary perch in December, which is very exciting. It has not been stocked with fish before, but I’d expect there would be a few resident trout kicking about in there, so it could be worth a visit.

Salmon have been a little sporadic along the Surf Coast with schools being spotted busting up on the surface offshore. There have been no bites for those fishing from the beach. Expect the salmon to move into the breakers over June. Dawn and dusk are always best and it is still possible to catch a few during the day.

Anglers are spoilt for choice in June. Give St Helens Rockwall a go for pinkies, the Barwon estuary (remember to fish the incoming tide) for small salmon or trevally, and Painkalac, Wurdiboluc and Stoney Creek reservoirs should have trout and quality redfin!

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