Bait your best bet
  |  First Published: May 2014

The Barwon River has cooled off quite a lot and it’s often harder to entice a bite from a redfin at the end of May. If the rain dirties up the water, your best bet will be bait. Live minnow or gudgeon will tempt a redfin this time of year but it will only get more difficult the colder it gets.

European carp will continue to bite but they also slow down a bit. If you’re dead keen on fishing the Barwon River in Geelong, start fishing the late afternoon after the sun has been on the water for a bit and cast your baits parallel to the bank and close to the reed beds.

Trout are a possibility up near Buckleys Falls and towards Ceres before the closed season if the water remains relatively clear. Best lures for Barwon River trout are those that closely resemble baitfish and small Tassie Devils or Lofty’s Cobras.

Corio Bay

June can see salmon, mullet and trevally move into Corio Bay as the snapper slow right down. Hard core anglers prepared to put in the work will still capture big snapper right throughout winter in Corio Bay but be prepared to fish well into the wee hours. It’s beanies and thermos time for anyone keen on all nighters.

The run-out tide is best for those hunting for trevally, salmon and bream with soft plastics along Geelong’s waterfront. Small, single-tailed soft plastic grubs do well on the bream and trevally while larger minnow styled soft plastics will tempt Australian salmon.

Clifton Springs and Portarlington

There has been isolated captures of snapper from 1.3-4kg by anglers fishing on dusk but be prepared to put the hours in.

Flathead to 40cm have been caught by anglers drifting and casting soft plastic lures in water around 2m deep.

Calamari have be caught by anglers drifting with baited jigs over the weed beds just out from the boat ramp.

Gummy sharks have been a welcome capture by anglers putting the hours in for snapper. The gummies have mostly been around the 3-4kg mark and all caught on pilchards.

St Leonards to Queenscliff

Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head says the calamari have been biting well when the weather has allowed boats out. Rod says that the whiting have been a little patchy but still worth chasing as they have been good sizes with some fish over 40cms. Rod suggests trying the dropping tide on evening anywhere from the St Leonards Pier back to Swan Bay.

Rod notes there has been a few garfish around the Bellarine Peninsula of late, which are a real favourite amongst many locals. The gummy sharks have been biting here as well but out in deeper water around 15m near Grassy Point and back to St Leonards.

Australian salmon have been thick out off Queenscliff at the time of writing and there were still a few yellowtail kingfish kicking about as well. The salmon were not showing themselves on the surface all that much so you need to troll a few lures around until you found a patch of them, but they were worth the work as some were over 2kg.

Swan Bay has been fishing very well for flathead either side of 45cm. They have been caught by anglers casting soft plastics in the shallows and retrieving them back over the drop-off into the channel. Andrew Bowers has fished in there with his brother a few times where they have caught good numbers up to 45cm plus a ripper silver trevally using this method.

The silver trevally have been a bit hit and miss inside the Queenscliff harbour but still well worth a trip. Slack water is always best here, which occurs around about 2 hours after the gazetted tide time at Port Phillip Heads.

Barwon Heads and Surf Coast

The Barwon estuary has a few small salmon kicking about the lower reaches which are great fun on light tackle.

Larger silver trevally around the 40cm mark have been caught by anglers fishing the piers further upstream using raw chicken, pipis and pilchard fillets on the incoming tide.

We had a weekend down at Moggs Creek with a few other families in the final days of the warm weather. We spent ages fishing the many gutters along the beach with baits and lures but failed to register a single bite! Other anglers fishing the area also found it tough going with everyone having the same story. The rock platforms along the Great Ocean Road fared much better with anglers hooking into salmon from 700g to 1.6kg casting metal slide lures around the 30g mark.

John Albrecht from Torquay took his son Mitch bream fishing in one of the local creeks recently. Using freshwater yabbies for bait, the father/son team managed to catch and release six big bream from 28-40cm, including Mitch’s best ever at 37cm, which he was happy to release.

Torquay has had a good run of King George whiting in previous Junes. Small boats can be launched from Fishermans Beach and whiting can be caught fishing from the beach just north of the boat ramp on dusk. You need to pick a gap in the reef areas and lob out a bait of pipi or squid.

The Surf Coast can really turn on some quality surf fishing over the cooler months. Try Bancoora Beach, Jan Juc and Fairhaven for those keen on tussling with a few salmon.

• 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 1mb (file size).

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