Radio Personality, Sponsored Angler
John has over 40 years experience fishing Corio Bay. He’s co-hosted various fishing radio shows for the Geelong region for over 30 years, written articles and presented fishing from stage. John is a soft plastic lure addict and targets all manner of species on the “softies”. He loves the technical side of fishing and hosts a fishing tech podcast in addition to running his jig head and soft plastic lure business “The Jig Man”.
John’s Top Corio Bay Flathead Tips
- Corio Bay holds abundant quality flathead, despite the heavy fishing pressure it receives. Don’t expect to catch a trophy flathead though, it’s predominantly smaller species such as yank, sand and rock flathead. 70cm plus fish are on the cards though.
- Corio boasts sand, mud, seagrass, rock reef and other habitat, all of which hold flathead. John recommends looking for ‘edges’, such as where the bottom changes from sand to mud or rock, the margins of weed beds and so on. Anywhere there is a change from one substrate to another or one habitat to another will hold flathead.
- Fishing very slow and keeping your lure in touch with the bottom are the two keys to success on flathead in Corio Bay. “If you think you’re fishing slow, fish slower”.
- Flathead in Corio Bay are a year-round prospect. During the autumn months when the water cools the flathead fishing reaches a peak. Water temps of around 17-19 degrees are optimum and fish are tending to congregating in water of about 2-3m where there is a bit of flow and some bait moving in.
- The rock flathead are a year-round option that lives in among the weed and can be targeted using weedless plastics.
- Corio Bay tends to have a fair bit of floating weed, so using hard bodies can be tricky, but weedless plastics work well and can be fished by drifting, cast and retrieve or vertical jigging.
- During March/April areas like Limeburners Bay and the Grammar School area fish well on the runout tide from the top right through will fish well. However, Corio Bay has options no matter what the wind or weather are doing.
- If the water is very clear and the fish are cagey, try downsizing your leader to around 8lb and be sure to weight your soft plastics very lightly.
John’s Corio Flathead Tackle
- Standard soft plastic gear is perfect for Corio Bay, and even though it might be a little on the heavy side for the size of flathead available is necessary to handle other species that might be encountered, such as snapper and kingfish.
- A 7’, 3-5kg spin rod, 2500-3000 size reel, 12lb braid and 12lb fluorocarbon leader will do the job nicely.
John’s Corio Bay Flathead Fishing Lures
- A Munro’s 3.75” Swarf is a good option for Corio, as is the Berkley Newpenny Minnow.
- Coming into and going out of the autumn months the Berkley Turtleback Worm in Pumpkinseed colour works very well. It’s also a great lure to try if the fishing is tough, on a 1/8 jig head.
- John likes to drift along an edge (not a dropoff, necessarily) and cast at 45 degrees to the boat. He’ll cast onto the weed and drop the lure over the edge onto the clay, picking up the fish working along the edge.
- Up to 1/4 oz jig heads can be used on a 2/0 to 3/0 hook, even up to 3/8 of the wind is strong and the water is deep. However, it’s best to keep the lures as light as you possibly can, especially when fishing weedbeds as a light lure will sit on the weed and then drop onto the sand patches as it passes over.
John’s Projects and Sponsors
Get the latest fishing reports every Saturday morning on 94.7 The Pulse or on the Geelong Fishing Facebook Page.
On the DeckOn the Deck is John’s fishing podcast where he and his crew discuss the tech side of fishing gear. Tune in and get a fix!
The Jigman is John’s jig head business – he loves designing seedless and semi-snagproof jigs. Be sure and purchase quality heads from John at his website or at fishing outlets around the country.
Berley Gulp and Abu Garcia, Tonic Eyewear, Munroe’s Soft Plastc Lures and Portside Auto and Marine are John’s sponsors.
John’s jigheads are the only ones that I use. Hooks stay sharp and don’t break.