Whopper Whiting at Barwon Heads
  |  First Published: August 2005

Last month saw the extended season just keep on giving with the traditional winter targets mixing with the spring targets. Bottom line is that this is good for the angler! Colder nights saw the tapering of the great snapper season we’ve experienced along the peninsula – all except for Barwon Heads which continued its reputation as one of the more consistent spots for pinkies along the Bellarine Peninsula.

Sean ‘Splinter’ Devlin has been into a great run of King George whiting that turned up off Barwon Heads. These fish were around the 45–48cm mark and if you can keep your bait away from the marauding hoards of ‘goldfish sized’ snapper, you’re in with a good shot at a real slab of whiting.

Splinter also picked up on a school of snotty trevally that is quite unusual for Barwon Heads. He wasn’t complaining of course as some of these fish were up around 35cm.

Splinter also drifted by the Clifton Springs boat ramp where he saw many anglers with small gummy sharks to 2kg. But from all reports, the whiting have slowed somewhat.

There has also been a very late run of fantastic snapper off Breamlea and Black Rock. Workmate, Colin Northwood got into these snapper with some friends recently and they took a few nice specimens to 2kg along with a 45kg seven-gill shark in 40m of water.

Kelby from Catch 22 Fishing Tackle on Melbourne Road reports catching some massive whiting from 40 to a massive 50cm anchored in the shallows out from the Cottage by the Sea near Queenscliff.

He also makes mention that there has been some very large calamari in around here which is very early for them. They normally turn up around September to October but who’s complaining? Kelby also reports that the great run of snotty trevally has slowed right down for all of you who like chasing them off the local piers. The larger snapper have also slowed but there are a few decent fish to 3kg being taken from the outer harbour on dark for those persistent anglers.

Danny Skene phoned Gordon from Geelong Bait and Tackle on Ormond Road last month with a very nice 6kg snapper, but Gordon mentions things are getting tougher. Traditionally this time of year will see anglers trying out for the winter reds that we see in Corio Bay. Places to try include, near Royal Geelong Yacht Club, Western Beach, Corio Quay and Grammar School Lagoon – both by boat and land-based.

Brian from Ray Long’s Tackle in Shannon Avenue tells me he has been into the silver trevally down in the Queenscliff cut. Some of these fish are giving 1.5kg a real shake and with the water so clear near the start of July, you could see them quite easily around and under your boat when they come on the bite! Brian also knows of one keen soft plastic angler who has been taking some very nice flathead casting from the bank around the Grammar School Lagoon. These fish are from around 800g to 1kg and well worth the effort. Brian concurs that the snapper are getting tough but he has taken a few with relative consistency in the outer harbour from 1 to 3.5kg. They’re often single fish; from dusk to around 10:30pm seems best.

Brian has also been down around the entrance of Swan Bay and has taken some nice calamari along with some decent flatties to just under 1kg on soft plastic lures. He says a friend of his has been catching a few small salmon from the Portarlington Pier. These fish have been happily biting throughout the day and are from 800g to 1kg. Persistence pays off and if you are there all day, chances are you will get a few.

Guy Calcagno spent a few days fishing from Clifton Springs to Portarlington near the end of June. Guy found it tough going apart from a few whiting taken out in 10m of water. At around 30–32cm these weren’t massive fish, but a dozen or so later, he had a good feed. Guy also had a crack off the Portarlington Pier where he caught some nice squid using a luminous jig after dark.

August can be a tough time for anglers on the Bellarine Peninsula. Keep an eye out for birds diving into fish schools off Portarlington. Sometimes they are diving on garfish, but other times they can be diving on the baitfish that salmon force to the surface. The squid don’t seem to know when to quit so treat it as if they haven’t and continue fishing your favourite squid spots. Clifton Springs in the shallows, Portarlington reefs, Indented Head, St. Leonards and of course, the Queenscliff Bight near Cottage by the Sea are all reliable producers.

Bream and gummy sharks are a real chance this time of year from the bank at Lakers Cutting and from a boat in the designated fishing areas (the channel) in Swan Bay after dark. The salmon schools should turn up along the outer beaches such as Breamlea, 13th Beach and RAAF’s at Barwon Heads. Keep an eye on the rip as they like to school up in here. Run-out or low tide seems best.

Finding whiting in winter can be tough. Torquay can have some good runs over winter and the fish can be big, but launching from the beach is sometimes a trial.

Got a fishing report from the Bellarine Peninsula? Email me the details such as angler, species, where caught (no secret spots necessary!) and what bait. Fish Hard – Die Happy!

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