Crayfish season opens
  |  First Published: November 2013

Saturday 2 November sees the opening of the southern rock lobster (crayfish) season, a much-anticipated event by all pursers of these red-legged delicacies in the South West.

Hoop netters and divers alike will be hoping for suitable conditions to get amongst the crays come opening weekend. Last season was a particularly good one for crayfish so hopefully the 2013-14 season will just be as productive.

Remember that the bag limit is 2 per person and the minimum sizes are 11cm carapace length for the male, and 10.5cm carapace for the female. All rock lobsters taken by recreational fishers are to be tail-clipped or tail-punched with a hole not less than 10mm in diameter. This must be done within 5 minutes of bringing rock lobsters onto a boat or, if taken from the shore, within 5 minutes of landing and within 50m of the place of landing.

The inshore reefs that produce the crays should also produce other culinary delights such as King George whiting and squid, as well as plenty of pinky snapper during November.

You wouldn’t expect to catch tuna in November but on 8 September, Nick Threlfall, Daniel Hoey, Pat Hyland and Dave Twyford were on their way to the shelf to catch a few blue eye by deep sea bottom fishing, when they spotted birds diving. They rigged up a spin reel setup, spooled with braid and trolled around. Soon they hooked up but took 2.5 hours to land a 73kg tuna.

The first tuna taken this year locally was on 11 January so the window of opportunity for this species seems to be ever increasing as more and more anglers explore the offshore options of the South West Coast.

November should see offshore anglers right amongst the peak of the snapper season locally, as well as a continuation of the fantastic gummy and school shark fishing that has been going on for the past few months.

As the Hopkins begins to slowly clear after the heavy winter flows, small mulloway are already pushing back up into the system with the clear water on the incoming tides. Carefully release any small specimens you encounter and hopefully in a year or two we might be experiencing some good runs of decent Hopkins mulloway – something many thought was perhaps a thing of the past.

November is always a good month to chase bream and estuary perch in the Hopkins as the fish return to the edges and can be targeted on shallow running hardbodies and even surface lures.

The opening of trout season produced plenty of fish for some anglers well versed in chasing their spotted quarry. Sizes were down though, with 1-1.3kg pulling up most fish. The good rains we have had over winter should sustain the good trout fishing throughout November, which is always a good option if you can’t get out to sea.

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