Late spring saw some fantastic snapper being caught in 30-40m off Warrnambool.
Like the good shark fishing of recent times, the quality fish were not in huge numbers but were a worthy reward for patent anglers, particularly those who go to the trouble to source fresh bait. Dave Bryan, Ryliegh McVilly and Peter McSween were just some of the anglers to get snapper in the 7-8kg mark during this time. Come January most of the snapper getting caught locally will be in the pinkie range. Good fun on light gear and an easy way of getting a tasty feed if you are after one, although damn annoying at times if you are targeting other species
In January there should be plenty of these other options around. From targeting mako and blue sharks offshore, to whiting and squid on the inshore reefs, diving for succulent crayfish and abalone or maybe deep bait fishing for flathead, gummy and school sharks there is plenty to do in January if the weather is good.
Despite all these options I know I’ll probably find myself spending any good days chasing yellowtail kingfish. Last season Killarney, the Basin and the Rocks were poor, Julia Percy produced some good fish for a short period and North shore produced some good fish early before becoming rat city later in the season. Let’s hope January throws up some flat days and plenty of kings. Whatever your choice of all these January options, your alarm clock is your best friend at this time of year. Get up early, or fish late to avoid the holiday daytime boat traffic.
The poor bream fishing in Hopkins continues. The obvious assumption is that the fish left the rivers during the heavy floods of last year. There are plenty of stories doing the rounds of divers seeing schools at sea and whiting anglers catching bream.
However there were good numbers of bream caught late 2011, after this event, so the mystery deepens. Some good estuary perch have been taken though, with surface luring on warm nights producing plenty of action with the odd fish over 1kg amongst the standard run of fish. Warm nights through January should still see perch around for those looking for some surface action in the estuaries.
Keep away from the crowds and look for the calm water. The Curdies has been quite busy, as much for anglers looking for alternatives to the Hopkins, than good fishing. Bait anglers like Jack Surkit who caught his PB bream recently on shrimp, have been successful whilst most lure anglers are still picking most fish up deep on vibes and plastics.
Come January these fish should be well an truly be up feeding on the edges. Another unusual thing has been the number of decent redfin taken from the Merri River recently. Unlike the Hopkins that has always had a small but consistent population of this introduced fish Merri redfin captures are usually quite rare, until recently.Reads: 725