Fish are on the bite

December 02, 2016

Kevin Tyler with fishing mate Peter Smallwood and one of the huge haul of snapper they caught off Queenscliff at the weekend.

What a week I have had.

In the wee small hours of Tuesday morning, the three musketeers — Nathan, Brian and I — drove all the way to Queenscliff to go fishing with Adamas Fishing Charters’ Peter Smallwood and Rod Lawn, who had been telling us for a couple of weeks it was time to get among the snapper.

So we drove, we fished, we conquered. The three of us bagged out on snapper and as a by-catch we managed some very nice flathead and a couple of calamari squid.

The hardest part of the trip was making sure we did not exceed the maximum of three fish over 40cm per angler. This was because all the snapper were around that chunky size, with an occasional bigger fish.

The worst part of the day was the drive home. What should have been a cruisy three-hour journey turned into a much longer one after we got caught in peak hour traffic and the gridlock that resulted from two accidents, one on the Western Ring Road and one on the Hume Hwy.

While still basking in the afterglow of our snapper day, we ran smack bang into the opening of cod season in Victoria and NSW yesterday.

Anglers can now target cod and, from all reports, we should be in for a better than average season with all of the smaller fish from last year now a good size or more larger. We have plenty of water in the rivers and conditions appear to be in our favour, so all in all there should be no reason for it not to be a good year.

The bag limit is one cod per person from rivers or two if caught in dams such as Eildon. The size limit is 55cm minimum and 75cm maximum. Stick to these simple rules and our cod fisheries will continue to improve.

Fishing in our region continues to get better and better.

Graham Thompson and a buddy fished Eildon last week and hauled in a fine swag of yellowbelly, although they said redfin were a little scarce.

Dartmouth is also fishing well and a bunch of worms trolled behind a Fender is accounting for nice trout around the dam, mainly early in the morning before the water begins to heat up. The best spots are around the tree lines near the wall and Larsons Cutting and the mouth of the Eight Mile.

Some scattered reports from Waranga Basin indicate that while some anglers are catching big redfin, a lot of work must be put in to find the fish.

As reported earlier, saltwater fishing is on the up and while snapper is not plentiful in the northern part of the bay, there are plenty to be had around Queenscliff. According to Peter and Rod, this is going to be one of the best seasons they have had for some time.

Rod said the bay at Western Port was also on the improve, with plenty of big snapper being caught on the turn of the tide.

He said all the casual marks were worth trying. Pilchards, squid and silver whiting were the best baits, but salmon fillets were also worth a try.

Some gummy shark were being caught by anglers fishing the deeper water off Point Lonsdale and around the edges of the shipping channels.

North of the border at Eden, John Liddell said plenty of reef fish were being caught along the coast down to Green Cape.

He said snapper, morwong and flathead were the main target, but some kingfish were also being boated when anglers were lucky enough to locate a school.

John said there was still little to no action off the shelf, as water temperatures were not conducive to attracting game fish. It is a similar story at Narooma, where Graham Cowley said most action was around Montague Island.

However, fishing the lake when it was too rough to go offshore was still a worthwhile option, with big flathead and bream being bagged, he said.

At Flinders Island, James Luddington said flathead, gummy shark and an occasional snapper and salmon were being caught.

He said some good hauls had been made in the Lady Baron area and near Chapple Island, the home of the largest tiger snakes in the world.

He said the weather should now start to settle down and he was looking forward to spending more time on the water.

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