January is a fantastic fishing month with a huge variety of options available; however they can be severely dictated by the crowd or the weather.
Here in the south west, no matter bad either of those previous things is, there is always somewhere available to wet a line and have a chance of a worthwhile capture.
Most anglers would be looking forward to some good weather, flat seas and the opportunity to pursue the many offshore options available in January. Even as I write at this early stage of the season, some great fish are presenting themselves. School and gummy sharks are still featuring in angler’s bags and the pelagic sharks, that some years haven’t shown themselves until late January, are already being encountered.
Some seriously nice snapper have also been taken. Now 5-6kg snapper might not make news in some locations, but they are quality fish in this area and quite a few have been taken off Port Fairy and Warrnambool recently.
King George whiting have also been taken by anglers around the Killarney region, some even successfully targeting these fish on plastics. All these saltwater species should all be available throughout January but it there is also on other species that will be anglers will be waiting for with great anticipation, the yellowtail kingfish. Where and when these magnificent fighting fish will turn up is anyone’s guess at the moment but come any warm still days in January there will be plenty of people looking for them.
If poor weather wipes out the offshore options there are still the estuaries to try. In the Hopkins recently bream fishing has remained fairly quiet. The estuary perch fishing has been very good to though to compensate for this. Good bags of perch have been taken at many spots along the river, from right down at the mouth of the river, as well as locations further upstream like the area between the Pass and Torram Stones.
The perch are responding to a wide variety of lures as well as surface presentations. Bait anglers are having good success also using live minnow. These fish should be on offer right through January and are best fished for on still muggy evenings. At this stage still no reports of mulloway in the system despite the water clearing well and the mouth remaining open.
With bream fishing being fairly quiet in the Hopkins, other systems have been taking up the slack. Lake Yambuk has been producing some good bags of fish with many fish being 35-40cm, good fish for this waterway.
The Curdies River has also being fishing well with the fish on the edges and well spread through the system. Mick White produced a good lure caught bag of fish recently with fish to 43cm fork being taken upstream of the Curdievale ramp. The key to successful fishing in the estuaries during January is to try and avoid the crowds, as difficult as this may be at peak holiday time. Early morning starts or fishing evening through into the night will give you the best chance of success.Reads: 1300