Lure fishing Corio Bay and the Bellarine Peninsula
Renowned in years gone by as a winter snapper fishery, Corio Bay and the Bellarine Peninsula are fast gaining a reputation as a diverse sports fishery, all thanks to the modern range of soft plastic lures.
Although large snapper are still the major draw card, you can expect to encounter flathead, bream, trevally, salmon, whiting, snook/pike, squid and even kingfish for anglers in the know. It can be a real lottery at times, which is one of the reasons why fishing with lures and soft plastics is becoming increasingly popular.
Corio Bay is situated along the western shoreline of Port Phillip Bay and is roughly bounded by Point Wilson to the north, the city of Geelong to the west and the Bellarine Peninsula to the south.
Since moving to the Bellarine Peninsula three years ago, I’ve spent many hours fishing a variety of locations in and around the local area, particularly the sheltered waters of Geelong Harbour, Swan Bay and Queenscliff Harbour. Getting up to speed on soft plastics was initially frustrating, particularly when targeting bream and snapper. Although books, radio reports, magazine articles and local advice provided a starting point, things only started to fall into place once I dedicated more time to developing ‘my own’ local knowledge. There’s simply no substitute for local information.
As research for this article I also consulted some of the more experienced lure anglers in the region, who generously offered their knowledge and experience. John Didge, Andy Smith, Bill Hartshorne and Steve Stojanovski have more than 80 years of local fishing experience between them and I sincerely thank these guys for their contribution.
The following guide to fishing Corio Bay and the Bellarine Peninsula with lures and soft plastics covers the area from Point Wilson right through to Point Lonsdale.
POINT WILSON TO LIMEBURNERS BAY
John Didge is co-host and producer of The Fishing Show, which airs on 94.7 The Pulse every Saturday from 8-10am. He’s on the water most weeks and dedicates numerous hours to fishing Limeburners Bay, also known as the Grammar School Lagoon, for flathead, bream, trevally, pinkies, pike, salmon and whiting. Even though not renowned as a regular catch on lures, whiting are also a legitimate target around the weed beds off Avalon and Point Wilson.
In the Grammar School Lagoon, the fishing tends to be slow from June to August, but as the water temperature warms to 17-20oC during spring, baitfish are followed by flathead into the lagoon, while bream begin to school up at the mouth.
The middle few hours of either tide, during periods of peak flow, produce bigger than average flathead. They position themselves in ambush against the sand spit, weed beds and channel edges. Pinkie snapper also take up residence under the moored boats, mixing in with schools of bream and silver trevally during the warmer months.
An abundance of floating weed can make fishing with hard-bodied lures difficult at times, particularly in windy conditions, however light lines and small finesse soft plastics are very productive. John prefers the natural looking 65mm Squidgy Fish in the silver fox pattern for flathead and the Berkley Gulp 6” Sandworm or Atomic 2” Fat Grub for bream and trevally