Latest Report 19.07.2022

Hi FishingMad Members, Let’s get into our latest fishing report.

Every year I go through the same cycles. I call this time of year “THE WINTER GRIND”. Why because the water temperature has plummeted and sitting currently around 11 degrees and the outside temperature during our cold morning are frequently between o and 5 degrees. This has multiple effects. The obvious is that it is cold and can challenge the motivation of even the keenest anglers but more importantly some of your bread and butter species become harder to catch as they become more dormant during the cold water snap.

There are going to be some challenges that’s for sure but let me stress the point though that you can and will catch fish during this time of year. You just need to make some basic adjustments and hone in on what species are in season and fish the optimal bite windows. I have done a detailed 40 minute workshop on this which you can watch but let me spend a few moments pointing you in the right direction. Personally, I will be fishing as often as possible. On those windy days, I will be land-based fishing around Geelong, Queenscliff, St Leonards and Clifton Springs.

Keys to success in the middle of Winter

Focus on the species in season

Breaking things down to the most basic form certain fish species flourish during cold water temperatures. This includes squid, garfish, salmon, trout, tuna and sharks. Whilst other fish species go dormant and be difficult to catch. You will also have a mix of species that you can target but are a bit quieter than normal this will include species like pinkies, whiting and flathead. A great example of this is the flathead and whiting were on fire in May and June however the bites have gone very quiet in July. However, the gars and squid are fishing exceptionally well at the moment.

Fish landbased

Don’t overlook the basics of bread and butter species fishing from the piers, rock walls and jetties. I immediately think of the abundance of garfish you can catch at this time of year, the pinkies in the shallow reefs, the salmon moving in the shallows schooling up in huge numbers and trout in your lakes and streams. Last week I was fishing Mt Martha rocks and the biggest school of salmon came past and it was a salmon a cast for an hour. I also venture to port Melbourne and berleyed hard and bagged out on garfish. Aswell as catching countless pinkies around Geelong Waterfront. ( keep an eye out new vid will be on this in the coming days.

Fish the afternoon

This is more for your own sanity as fishing those sub-5-degree mornings are tough. But fishing in the afternoon has multiple benefits. The sun has been up for hours so the water temperature will be at its warmest for the day which can help the fishing. Plus you will be more comfortable and avoid the freezing chill of the morning so it’s more pleasant for fishing in general. If you can align a tide change with an afternoon or evening session then that’s the best outcome. Eg peak high tide at 4.30 pm allows you to fish an hour on each side of the tide change whilst it’s comfortable.

Anyways let’s get some specifics of our report.

 

Geelong Township ( Cunningham pier, Wangim Walk, Waterfront, Carousel, griffins, St Helens area )

Land-based fishing is an awesome option over Winter. I spent several days fishing Geelong Waterfront mainly in front of the Carousel, along the edges of Wangim Walk and the small rock wall near the helicopter landing pad. The volume of pinkies landed on soft plastics was amazing. Casting close to any structure and working the plastic slowly with hops, lifts and lengthy pauses.  At times when the bite was on even in open water. I found that during the day you would consistently pickup pinkies but at sunset and in dark the bite would get quite frantic. There were also plenty of local anglers fishing with unweighted baits such as pilchard and chicken strips and also catching plenty.

It wasn’t just pinkies we were also catching snook on hard body lures, trevally, mullet, grass whiting and countless bay trout. I also got spooled by something on sunset one evening most likely a big Trevally.  My go-to plastics were zman 2.5 inch slim SwimZ in bad shad colour and Berkley turtleback works in pumpkinseed. The snook took a real liking to 75mm double clutches worked slowly near the carousel. I landed a few using my favourite kawamutu silver colour. Those fishing with unweighted or lightly weighted baits accounted for many mullet and pinkies in the same immediate areas but particularly around fisherman’s jetty and griffins jetty.

Keep an eye out for surface action as the salmon have turned up in big numbers. They come and go very quickly so you need to keep your fingers crossed they show up when you are there. You will know because of the surface bubbling and small curl tail and paddle tail soft plastics will get hit very quickly. So will small metal jigs and shallow diving hard body lures. Last week I had a session catching 30 salmon in 45 minutes all the salmon were between 35 and 55cm so it was amazing fun.

 

The gars are finally starting to come on strong. The most productive grounds have been St Helens fishing the jetty but facing back to shore and the Lagoon Grammar school. The waterfront area specifically the shallows of Cunningham pier and Wangim walk is also starting to pickup. You will see the regular faces there daily targeteing them. Berely is the key to catching consistently some vids have been added in our rigs and tips section which shows how we berley. Berly an isolated area every 10 minutes to bring them in and keep them around. The most productive baits continue to be silverfish and maggots.

 

Clifton springs/Indented Heads 

Clifton Springs boat ramp continues to be a bit of an issue. Dangerously shallow inlet has seen many boats including us beach their boat momentarily, especially on low tide. Therefore I have been fishing here mainly by kayak. Cliffton springs continued to fish very extremely well the past few weeks bagging out on both whiting and squid in the shallows in around 2-4 meters of depth. For Whiting a lightly weighted paternoster rid baited with some pipi or freshly caught squid has been working best. and for the calamari white and natural size, 3.0 squid jigs should work well. Clifton springs have been a hotspot for whiting as well as squid, whiting has been present on a runout tide around about the 4-6 meter mark. The usual whiting baits including pipis, fresh calamari or a cocktail of both have been standout choices. The squid is lurking around the same areas as the whiting just in shallower water. Drifting in the shallows whilst working squid jigs has been a really effective way to catch them. I have included some very productive GPS marks that I have been fishing in below and also some great marks for indented heads.

Below is a pic of the double bag out of squid I had near indented Heads, several times in the one week last week. Calm days with clear water = bag out of squid.

 

 

 

Swan Island | Queenscliff | Point Lonsdale | St Leonards | Portarlington | Lorne

The Portarlington boat ramp is getting closer to being finalised which will be welcome news once we get closer to peak fishing season again. Queenscliff has seen the old ramp removed and the new one finally underway with completion expected sometime later this month.

Swan island has been one of the recent fishing heroes consistently fishing well. The volume of whiting and squid being caught here is fantastic and also picking up the occasional large flathead and snook. A close mate of mine recently caught a 20 foot bronze whaler shark so be prepared for anything and be careful when bait fishing on a kayak you do get plenty of sharks that live around here lurking in the shallows. For squid and whiting launching from the main area and heading towards the corners on tide, changes have been a good recipe for catching in big numbers.

The squid continues to fish well off St Leonards Pier. Those flicking soft plastics have also been catching plenty of grass whiting and bay trout with worm imitation plastics lightly weighted. The squid also continues to fish well in Queenscliff along the harbour. The trevally catches have gone temporarily, but they will be back in a few months.

The volume of salmon being caught at Lorne pier has been really encouraging lately, also plenty of squid of the shallow sections of the pier using squid jigs on flotas because of the strong waves.

Point Lonsdale the surprising thing here in this area in recent times has been Snook and some big ones too. In between times of targeting squid off the pier, I have been catching plenty of snook and bay trout. The snook have been happily taking small pieces of pilchard, prawn or squid and happily chasing down shallow diving hard body lures. The squid here have been a tad hit and miss and quite challenging during low tide to avoid snags. Member Anthony shared with us a recent 80cm snook landed at Point Lonsdale Pier.

Corio Bay

the Corio Bay, the fishing has recently been fishing well, with large numbers of Australian salmon being caught all across the bay, with the waterfront providing the most of the activity. casting hardbodies and soft plastic among the schools should almost always result in a hookup. Pinky snapper and flathead have both been kicking around recently as well.

During the past month, the bay has been producing steady numbers of flatheads as well as small pinky snapper, as well as reports of schools of  Australian salmon chasing baitfish on the surface. plastics such as zman grubs, slimswimz and gulp turtleback worms have been proving to be a great choice. Recently the bay has been fishing relatively well, With the Geelong waterfront producing some quality pan-sized pinkies, as well as flathead, salmon, mullet and the occasional whiting. These fish have been taken on a range of lures and baits such as grub and worm-style soft plastics and baits such as pilchard, squid and chicken.

 

Offshore

The Tuna have arrived and many venturing out Barwon heads and fishing around the 50 meter depth mark. Tuna is a primary target species over Winter. Stickbaits and Surface poppers continue to be a great choice when flicking lures especially if you see birds congregated in an area. Those trolling skirts and large deep divers close to the back of the boat have consistently been producing. The volume of shark bycatch in the form of gummies and schoolies has also been very encouraging. This really is only an available option for those with large boats in areas outside the heads in areas like Torquay and further out along Portland, Port Fairy and Apollo Bay. I have fished with a mate and fellow report writer at Portland on our kayaks and was amazed that we were able to peddle comfortably on calm days out to grounds that helped good numbers of tuna or Kings. Either by seeing them clear as day on our sounder, seeing bubbling surface action, watching boats near us catch them and getting onto a few ourselves.

Use the marks below as rough guides and be prepared to move around, and troll lures until you find schools of tuna and kings., The obvious signs will be diving birds, bubbling waters and a big congregation of boats in one area.

Some areas to concentrate your time on would include.

  • 38 20 502 | 144 28 297
  • 38 24 863 | 144 17 908

Land-based anglers have also been getting in on the action while fishing areas such as Cunningham pier, Wangim walk and st Helens. The southern Calamari are still present along with the shallow parts of the bay such as Clifton, with natural coloured jigs providing the most action.

 

Barwon river 

The Barwon river fishing has been extremely slow as the water temperature has started to cool down, however catching a carp on unweighted bread or corn is still possible if you persist. The Barwon river has been hit hard with rain and as a result, the water levels have risen and the water clarity, as well as temperature, has decreased drastically these factors have caused lure fishing to be very tough going. however, the carp were still easy enough to catch on unweighted bread and corn. The river is starting to clear up and should produce some redfin and estuary perch in the coming weeks.

 

Wurdi Buloc | Stoney Creek Reservoir | Saint Augustines

The land of 1000 casts comes into its own this time of year as the cold water temperatures bring on the big trout. It’s a challenging spot to fish because it’s so open and exposed to the elements. Cold and windy days are tough but during this time of year, anglers are often rewarded with big rainbow trout. Surprisingly the redfin has been fishing well still with many catches off the rocks on evenings and sundown. Long casting spoons such as pontoon 21 paco spoon, wasabi spoons and Tassie devils are fishing well. So are shallow diving hard body lures and soft plastics weighted heavy enough for decent casting distance. WurdiBuloc has also provided some good trout fishing as it always does during winter. It can be very cold and windy here so do rug up and where possible fish the days with the wind at your back to get ample casting distance. I have found a whole range of soft plastics and lures work well here and it’s just about chopping and changing on the day. For me, I have been using long casting spoons like the wasaby 8 and 12 grams in gold, and the Pontoon 21 paco spoon in 10 grams. casting them and working them at a constant steady pace to avoid getting snagged. Shallow diving hard body lures such as 75mm double clutches and bullet lures have also accounted for several trout and small curl tail soft plastics in black and gold colour sometimes paired with a small jig spinner. You can fish here from the rock wall ( do be careful it does get very slippery ) or in your waders in the shallows.

St Augustines was recently stocked with an additional 750 rainbow trout around 30cm in size. You need to be quick here as the bucket brigades turn up and pillage the system very quickly. I often take my kids here and we generally do catch and release fishing whilst showing other families how to catch a few. Powerbiat, slamon eggs and spinners are great options here.

 

Here are some species-specific details which should help you land a few fish.

Flathead

Our target species this month is flathead so let’s start with them. There is a false perception that you only catch flathead in the warmer months. Wrong you will catch flathead all year round. The whole bay will fish well for flathead, I generally fish between 4 and 8 meters deep, cut the engine and don’t anchor up. Drift and cover ground and you will find them. Also, ensure you use your sounder and mark waypoints when you do so you can redrift over productive grounds. I’ve had some very productive sessions drifting around Avalon, St leonards and Clifton Springs.  Launching from the beach near the boat ramp and sticking to 3-5 meters and catching plenty of them. Many are between 40 and 50cm. Again, soft plastics have been fishing more consistently than bait.

Here are some productive flathead grounds which have fished well for us over the last couple of weeks. Again, use these marks as a guide and drift around.

  • 38 05 979 | 144 25 749 ( Avalon/Kirks )
  • 37 57 122 | 144 44 514 ( Campbells Cove )

 

Whiting, Whiting, Whiting……

I’m head over heels with whiting fishing on soft plastics in recent times. It has quickly become one of my favourite forms of fishing. The whiting fishing has been exceptional over the past month but will start to slow down a little from here as the cold water temperature really kicks in. Peak whiting fishing is between Jan and March, but the last couple of years I’ve been catching whiting in big volumes all through winter. This may be a testament to the commercial netting which has stopped allowing the whiting to flourish. I continue to fish against the trend and had many bags out sessions during the middle of the day around tide changes in locations like Avalon, Point Wilson, Wedge Spit, Werribee, Clifton Springs, and Corio.

The stand-out baits continue to be fresh squid strips. I often will use the squid tentacles which I generally try and catch before whiting fishing. Otherwise, pipis, mussels or packet squid strips will also work fine. Pin them with optimal hook exposure on a Black Magic King George Whiting KL 1/0 Hook or a Gamakatsu C10U hook. We have whiting rig videos in our rigs and tips section which will guide you on how to make your own rigs. For soft plastics, I continue to use a TT headlocks 1/12 3/0 jighead ( optional 60-80mml of trace to a size 6 small hook ). Berkley 4-inch turtleback worm in camo and pumpkinseed. If you haven’t tried this before I highly recommend giving it a go. It’s a fun form of fishing and whiting will surprise you with how hard they hit soft plastics.

Here are some productive marks we have been catching whiting on the previous few weeks.

  • Avalon – 38 06 045 | 144 24 795
  • Clifton Springs – 38 08 734 | 144 33 136
  • Clifton Springs – 38 09 118 | 144 30 776 ( Mark from plastics video )
  • Corio Bay – 38 05 001 | 144 32 869
  • Indented Heads 38 08 785 | 144 33 343 ( look for boats cluttered up as whiting move around here ).
  • Indented Heads – 38 06 751 | 144 41 526
  • Limeburners – 38 04 479 | 144 24 369
  • Kirks Point – 38 02 850 | 144 34 017
  • Queenscliff – 38 16 359 | 144 39 938
  • St Leonards – 38 11 438 | 144 43 643
  • Swan Bay – 38 14 407 | 144 42 461
  • Queenscliff – 38 15 699 | 144 41 340

 

Squid, Squid, Squid

Arguable squid is the best target species around Winter. You will find them in big numbers and in the right conditions should expect quick bag-out sessions. The squid fishing is amazing this time of year with calm days and clear waters. Drifting around is the most productive way to fish for squid and also changing squid jig sizes and colours if the catches aren’t coming on. Also, don’t be afraid to use a sleeper and double your chances of catching and even try using a squid spike with a nice fleshy bait like whiting to catch nice big calamari. Reds, blacks and white squid jigs have been working really well for me in recent weeks. Even though I know that’s a broad range that covers lots. If I had to pick one standout colour it would be a mix of red and black. One thing that squid and whiting have in common is they both like similar grounds and ecosystems so the marks above for whiting will also be very productive grounds for squid too.

Here are many productive marks we have been catching squid in recent weeks.

  • Avalon – 38 05 536 | 144 25 815
  • Clifton Springs – 38 08 953 | 144 31 883
  • Clifton Springs – 38 08 670 | 144 33 291
  • Corio Bay – 38 05 085 | 144 32 228
  • Indented Heads – 38 06 838 | 144 41 824 ( double bag sesh in 30 min )
  • Indented Heads – 38 06 981 | 144 41 700
  • Kirks Point – 38 05 794 | 144 30 383
  • Queenscliff – 38 16 419 | 144 39 841
  • St Leonards – 38 10 804 | 144 43 409
  • Swan Bay – 38 14 047 | 144 41 813

 

Salmon

It’s difficult to provide GPS marks for salmon that purely because these mini-missiles of the ocean are constantly moving around in big numbers. My last few encounters with massive schools of salmon have been whilst fishing around Altona 2 minutes out from the boat ramp, Sorrento 5 minutes out from the boat ramp, Geelong opposite waterfront in 4 meters deep, BlackRock in 6 meters deep, and massive numbers between Avalon and kirks point, Salmon fishing is one of my favourite forms of fishing. They are such a strange species to target because they are so hit and miss to find, and they often turn up when you least expect them to. Rule of thumb I always carry an extra spin rod ready for salmon. That’s because they will just show up without warning and in big numbers and they can be gone in the blink of an eye. When I see the bubbling water, birds diving or thick lines on my sounder I grab the pre-rigged rod and usually throw out something like a small metal or 3-inch paddle tail and the action is crazy.  I like to just always be ready. I continue to find that salmon seem to show up more regularly in shallow weedy areas between 2 and 5 meters deep. Consistently I seem to stumble upon them around Altona not far out from the boat ramp, Corio bay near point Wilson, Rosebud in close and Barwon heads outside the river mouth. For fun, I usually target them with a 2-4 or 2-5 kilo rod and really treasure those moments when the big schools turn up and stick around for a while.

Also note the volume of bay trout ( juvenile salmon ) at this time of year is crazy. Areas between Williamstown and the Warmies are swarming with them. Small soft plastics worked slowly or troll small lures and jigs and you will catch plenty of them.

 

 

Late Season Snapper

The Snapper fishing has really slowed down now. Actually seeing more land base snapper being caught than from on the boat out in the bay. But we are still seeing some catches of the rock walls and piers.  I’m often following BayWX which shows graphs of the water temperatures scattered around Port Phillip Bay. There is a link to this in our member’s area under helpful links. The graphs will highlight the warmest and coolest parts of Port Phillip Bay which can really help you work out productive grounds to target. If you are prepared to spend some time staring at your sounder and looking for them, you may just be surprised that you might get some great catches so late into the season.

Areas that have been fishing well

  • Limeburners Pinkies – 38 04 479 | 144 24 369
  • Outside Spoilgrounds – 38 13 281 | 144 56 233
  • Outer Shipping Channel – 38 13 454 | 144 56 322
  • Portarlington Deep – 38 05 873 | 144 48 967
  • Williamstown Reef Pinkies – 37 52 572 | 144 54 213

 

Garfish

It’s prime garfish time these mini marlins love the cold water conditions. We’re also seeing them turn up all over the place such as Mt Martha, Mornington, Sorrento, Corio bay and Wedge Spit. Because of this I have been packing an extra ultralight rod with a small float rig setup and some prawns and catching plenty of them. For land-based anglers areas include St Helens Pier, Princess Pier, St Leonards Pier, Cunningham Pier, and Grammar lagoon Pier.

For gear set up a light 1-3 kilo rod paired with a 2000 or 2500 size reel and 4lb line and the leader is perfect. A very small size 12 or 14 hook and a tiny piece of prawn or maggots and you will catch plenty. If you want to catch them in big numbers, then berely is essential. Berely every 5-10 minutes. You can buy premade garfish berley from the tackle store or make your own with breadcrumbs, tuna oil, aniseed oil even a tin of cat food.

These are the marks we caught heaps of gars when out in the boat targeting snapper and whiting.

  • Wedge Spit – 38 01 056 | 144 36 341
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