January can be an interesting time for saltwater anglers on the West Coast. Sometimes the water is flat and warm and great for fishing and other times the weather turns nasty, and keeps anglers off the water for weeks.
Snapper to 3kg have been taken from all local ramps recently. Offshore bottom bouncers have encountered gummies and those closer inshore targeting snapper should also find whiting and trevally.
Anywhere from 40-80m out is a good spot to start the berley trail. Plenty of anglers will also be on the lookout for kingfish during spells of warm weather and calm seas, and these conditions are also idea for netting crayfish.
On the estuary scene the Hopkins can be quite crowded during January, and the likelihood of a closed mouth during summer won’t help anglers in their pursuit of bream and perch. The Curdies and Fitzroy rivers will also be heavily populated with holidaymakers, but there are plenty of other options available for anglers who like to get away from the crowds and try something different.
Soft plastic techniques that have been successful in the rivers can be applied to inshore reefs if conditions are calm. There are plenty of bream sized pinkies about and salmon, trevally and pike are more than willing to chase your presentations.
Smaller waters such as the Merri Estuary, Gormans Road Cutting and the shallow Belfast Lagoon section of the Moyne can be explored by canoe and all hold populations of bream. Trout can still be taken in the Merri and estuary perch are a possibility in the freshwater sections of the Hopkins.
Lake Ellingamite has often been a good producer of trout and redfin over January but access may become difficult.
Although consistent sea breezes can be frustrating at this time of year, when conditions are right there are enough productive beach fishing locations to be able to get away from it all. Pinkies and salmon are the main targets with the chance of mulloway or gummy shark taking to rigs and baits. Logans, Yambuck, Cutting and Narrawong beaches will produce decent bags of fish in the late afternoon and evening.
If the kids aren’t back to school yet, I suggest heading along to one of the Fishcare Hook, Line and Sinker activity sessions. They will be held in Warrnambool near the boat ramp at the end of Stanley Street opposite Port Warrnambool Village on 8 January, from 8-10am; and Port Fairy, at Martins Point on the Moyne River on Wednesday 10 January, 10am – 12pm. Join Fishcare South West volunteers for some angling advice and tips on caring for your catch. BYO rod, tackle and hat – bait is supplied.Reads: 1525