Now is the Time
  |  First Published: October 2009

November is one of those months you tell yourself that it’s good to be alive and on the Bellarine Peninsula because the fish are extremely keen!

Geelong Freshwater

The Barwon River received above average rainfall during September. It’s been a long time since I actually saw the Barwon rise, but it happened. This flush of fresh water will reinvigorate the river and the Barwon estuary normally fires as a result so keep this in mind.

November is often peak time in a lot of areas and the section of the Barwon that flows through Geelong does have some ripping redfin perch that awaken during November. I’ve caught more fish over 40cm around November than any time of year so break out the lures and go for a stroll up near Queens Park. Bear in mind that the Barwon is home to plenty of snakes so keep your wits about you on warm days.

Corio Bay

Soft plastic enthusiasts have been enjoying good sport on a wide variety of fish inside Corio Bay. Keen kayaker, Matt Bruce has caught a few small salmon and snapper flicking baitfish imitation soft plastics along the Geelong waterfront. Also available have are silver trevally to 35cm, flathead to 45cm and the odd bream to 30cm. Garfish and yellow-eye mullet have been keeping the piers busy with a few silver trevally thrown in to pull the kinks out of the light line.

Larger snapper have moved in and set up camp in Corio Bay with a few anglers nabbing the odd large fish over 6kg near the Mountain View Quarries, Grammar School Lagoon and around the shipping channel.

Clifton Springs and Portarlington

Let’s hope the snapper must be queuing up to appease the dormant angler as there was a fairly slow start to October. Boat ramps have typically been full around 5am on calm weekends so get there early. The run out tide has been the more productive and no bait has really stood out to be the most effective, but if you can get yourself a cuttlefish while squidding, you could be a step in front of the next angler.

Calamari are always politely offering themselves as a convenient bait en-route to the fishing destination by clasping jigs over the shallow reef areas of Clifton Springs and Grassy Point at Portarlington. These are normally not that big, but are excellent bait. Clifton Springs did provide some anglers with 2kg calamari amongst a bag of smaller examples so the big ones are out there.

St Leonards and Indented Head

Every year someone boats a 5kg snapper not far from the boat ramp here, but you never see anyone fishing for them. The area is perfect for whiting and squid; shallow and laced with small reef and weed areas. More often than not, they are a fluke by someone with whiting gear or waiting their turn at the boat ramp – food for thought!

Most snapper anglers head out to deep water off these towns and sound around for the big arches. Once they find a school, mark the possie on the GPS and drift over them. This is quite effective in depths of 10-20m and quality fish can be taken right throughout the day here using this method.

Members of the Drysdale Sportfishing Club have done well on whiting off St Leonards with some bag limits taken of fish from legal length to 38cm using pipi and squid for bait either side of dusk.


November is trevally time. Inside the Queenscliff boat harbour can be some of the best soft plastic fishing available in Victoria with silver trevally over 2kg available to anglers on occasions. I say available because hooking them is not that hard, but landing them is another story!

Some absolute belter calamari have shown up inside the Lonsdale Bight. Some of these have topped the 3kg mark and provided a few anglers with some rings the size of fanbelts. Baited jigs have fished better than artificials so far.

Barwon Heads

The Barwon estuary has had the best flush out in about five years I reckon. I have not seen the water brown down there for ages and it did kick start the bream for a week or two with a few over 35cm coming onshore just upstream of Sheepwash Road for anglers fishing after dark with Bass yabbies. Silver trevally and Aussie salmon have been the mainstay of the river captures over the last eight weeks. Incoming tide for silvers and outgoing tide for sambos makes it a very user-friendly destination – just rock up and start fishing because the tide chart is not needed!

The surf beaches have been pumping out some salmon around the 1-1.5kg mark just on dusk around Thirteenth and Bancoora beach. Some anglers have done well one night but miss out the following night - they have been a bit hit and miss.


John Albrecht from Torquay Angling Club says the whiting have been going bananas offshore with most guys bagging out in a short time. John notes that is it possible one of the best whiting seasons he has ever experienced even though the fish have been quite small at around 35cm - for Torquay standards.

The snapper are well and truly firing up with some good specimens being boated up to 5kg in the usual spots in and around the heavy reef and deep gravel areas.

Jan Juc Surf Beach has provided the surf fishos with fine salmon fishing. Most of the fish have been around the 30 to 35cm mark, but there has been the odd school around the 1.4kg region.

Anglesea and the Great Ocean Road to Lorne

The Anglesea River has been the focal point for families with plenty of bream action. This would have to be one of the best possies to take the kids fishing along the Surf Coast as the river here is crawling with bream. Some anglers fishing after dark with bait have caught a few nice fish over 35cm on small freshwater yabbies.

Offshore, the snapper have come good with fish either side of 3kg arriving back at the ramp. Anglers fishing Point Roadnight Beach after dark have been rewarded with a few fat salmon over the kilo mark.

Metin Ugur had an early start on the Lorne Pier where a 30 knot sou-wester threatened to dampen his spirits. A good thing he stuck it out as Metin managed to land a 4kg snapper on the rod he had baited with squid strip. Metin puts his capture down to the use of cubed pilchards as berley and persistence.

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 997348. 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 300kb (1mb preferred).

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