A Few Surprises
  |  First Published: July 2006

Winter is traditionally the time for bream and salmon in the salt, and trout in the fresh. Geelong and the Surf Coast has kept with tradition lately, but thrown us a few curve balls too.

Corio Bay

Anglers have been doing okay on garfish, fishing from boats and piers around Corio Bay. Limeburners Rockwall has been doing particularly well when the cormorants and wind have allowed.

Ross Winstanley reports in on a fairly lacklustre whiting run from the inner harbour over what has traditionally been their peak period of April to June. They have slowed from regular captures of fish between 32 and 36cm in April and early May to dribs and drabs of fish under 30cm.

Ross has started chasing squid and has done very well off Clifton Springs and Curlewis fishing with his mate Joe. The pair have taken calamari approaching 1.5kg using cloth covered jigs in 2m of water. Ross also fished with his wife Anna and caught around 25 whiting from 27 to 30cm fishing in 7.5m off Clifton Springs.

Kelby from Catch 22 has had some good fishing over near Point Wilson using soft plastics for 40 to 50cm flathead, with Silstar Jig 'ems a stand out performer.

Andy from Ray Longs Tackle World had Steve from First Cast Charters telling him about a client that took a 7kg snapper from inside Corio Bay recently.

Kelby from Catch 22 concurs and hints that the winter run of snapper in Corio Bay should be in full swing by July, and that some anglers have already taken decent fish over 4kg at the Mountain View Quarries.

In July, anglers should hang around Cunningham Pier for the annual run of silver and snotty trevally. Raw chook, pilchard fillets and pipis are top baits. High tide on dawn or dusk yields the best captures.

Portarlington to Queenscliff

John Duxson from Drysdale Sportfishing Club has got the soft plastics bug. Fishing in 4m of water not far from the Portarlington boat ramp he took some ripper flatties from 45 to 50cm. John said the plastics were the difference after catching nothing but smaller fish on bait.

John also mentioned that there has been some great whiting, straight out off the Portarlington Pier, for anglers fishing just on dusk and about 2 hours after dark. These fish have been well over 40cm, some nudging 45cm. He has also seen plenty of anglers fishing off St Leonards with a few coming in with decent whiting.

Kelby from Catch 22 reports that big calamari have started their run at Queenscliff with some anglers taking these tasty cephalopods to 3kg. They have been a little patchy, but when they are this big you only really need a couple.

Andy from Catch 22 notes that the salmon in The Rip have been patchy, but some anglers continue to get amongst the schools. Fish between 1 and 1.5kg seem to be average. Most have been taking trolled lures.

Barwon Heads

Snapper are persisting here! Most are between 800g and 3kg, and have been taken drifting over rubble beds in water between 10 and 40m.

Big whiting are about just on dusk as well. Anglers have enjoyed small bags of up to 10 fish, but they’ve been between 40 and 47cm, and taking pipi, bass yabbies and fresh squid. Most have come right on dusk around the shallow reef areas, and at the mouth of the river, on the run out tide.

Bream have been a little inconsistent although some anglers have been getting a few fish between 30 and 35cm using bass yabbies, upstream from Sheepwash Road. Stephen Speechley from Barwon Heads reports big whiting out the front of Ocean Grove and Collendina. One of his mates took home 9 rippers. He also mentioned seeing large numbers of salmon about.

Andy from Ray Long’s Tackle World has been catching any number of small flatties and salmon on soft plastics in the Barwon estuary of late.

Over this next month anglers should target those elusive mulloway in the Barwon River a few days either side of the full or new moon. Pick the tides that have the least amount of difference. This gives you the most slack water. Fresh calamari is the top bait.


The whiting have continued, but not in big numbers. Fish between 40 and 49cm, and over 700g, have been taken after dark. I’ve had a couple of goes and taken a few very nice fish to 48cm. These whiting weren’t fussy, biting on squid, bass yabbies and pipis. Squid was best once the light dropped because the lice made short work of anything soft.

John Albrecht from the Torquay Angling Club has been into the whiting after dark, taking fish over 600g regularly. John says there has been a lot of salmon about, but most are sub kilo specimens.

John and one of his mates got stuck right into a school of small salmon to 800g spinning from the shore in Cosy Corner one night after work.

Calm nights with little or no swell have seen some good schools of garfish milling about in the shallows of Cosy Corner and Fishermans Beach. You’ll need waders, a headlamp to keep your hands free and a nice light rod rigged with a quill float.

John also notes that snapper to 4kg have been about over the rubble beds, and have been biting best on silver whiting.

Jan Juc has been the pick of the surf beaches with good salmon at dusk. Anglers have taken fish from 1 to 3kg using pilchards on ganged hooks and surf popper/whitebait combos.


Good pinkies have been caught by those drifting over rubble. Big whiting are also on offer, fishing the low tide at Point Roadknight and the shallow reef area by boat.

Sixteen-year-old Ryan McKnight reports that the gars have been biting well close in at Roadknight Bay after dark when the swell isn’t too big.

Ryan and mates then headed out early the next day for a flyfish in the Anglesea River where they managed a very small 4cm bream! They were up early again at 4:30am to catch the low tide at Point Roadknight. A bit of berley went out, but the lads could only manage a few wrasse.

The lads have also been fishing the surf at O’Donohues where they’ve been taking lots of not so fussy salmon to 500g.

Aireys Inlet to Lorne

Painkalac Creek at Airey’s Inlet has been producing a few small bream but it’s been tough for those who have persisted.

Chris emailed in a nice 48cm pinkie he caught fishing off Airey’s Inlet in 30m of water.

The salmon have shown up too. Good beaches have been Moggs, Eastern View for some bigger specimens to 2.5kg and Hutt Gully for fish to 500g.

Kelby from Catch 22 has been down to Jump Rock at Lorne where anglers have been catching salmon between 1 and 3kg, casting lures and bait.

Andy from Ray Long’s reports that Fairhaven has produced some good salmon. He’s beginning to get some consistent reports from surf fishermen right along the Great Ocean Road beaches.

‘Hoops’ from Lorne sent in an email saying it was the windiest autumn he can remember in 20 years! The Lorne ‘ramp’ has been inundated with weed until recently, making things hard for anglers beach launching, but a few pinkies and gummies have been about out wide.

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