Plenty of options in the southwest
  |  First Published: December 2007

January is a popular time for both holidaymakers and seasoned anglers to get out and do some fishing around the Warrnambool district. The summer holiday season is renowned for all kinds of weather, from wind and rain to the fine, calm weather we all hope for. The good thing is that whatever the weather gods provide, there are always plenty of different places to consider wetting a line.

Heavy rains in late spring swelled the local creeks and rivers, bringing some quality trout back on the bite. Jason Kelly and Scott Gray have both taken browns of over 3kg from the Merri and Moyne rivers.

The wintry conditions also brought on some good captures of bream in the lower regions of the Hopkins River. Quality bream to 1kg were taken mainly on hard-bodied lures in the shallow margins. Quite often the best times to fish the Hopkins are those days when you are tossing up whether it’s worth going out in such trying conditions. It’s best to don the wet weather gear and get amongst them.

Another species that thrives in ordinary conditions is the Australian salmon, and some good fish have been taken off the Warrnambool Breakwater. Come January pinky snapper will be the main target of anglers fishing the rear wall of the breakwater, along with the odd King George whiting. These species can also be caught by anglers fishing from small boats around the breakwall in Lady Bay.

After some truly poor weather, conditions improved, with warm days and flat seas allowing anglers to target an impressive run of snapper offshore. Some quality fish of 4kg, along with the odd 6-7kg fish, have meant that talk of snapper hasn’t solely revolved around Port Phillip Bay. Mixed in with these fish have been some good gummy and school sharks.

It hasn’t just been boat anglers taking advantage of the snapper run, either. A 5kg snapper was taken from the breakwall in late spring, and other fish to 3kg have also been encountered off this platform, which is not usually noted for such quality snapper.

By January, the water will have warmed sufficiently to add pelagic sharks and yellowtail kingfish to the offshore angler’s list of possible target species.

Some good King George whiting have already made their appearance in inshore angler’s bags in the Killarney region. These fish will be available throughout summer, along with some other culinary delights like crayfish and calamari squid. It looks like it will be another abalone free summer, though, due to the debilitating abalone virus that continues to stretch along the coast.

If all these angling options in January don’t satisfy you, there is also the Shipwreck Coast Fishing and Boating Show being held on Sunday, January 20 at the Arc Stadium on Caramut Road. There will be a great variety of displays and sales from leading tackle, boating and electronics companies, as well as some fantastic guest speakers such as Lee Rayner, Al McGlashan, Adam Royter and the Adventure Bound team.

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