Although the fine, calm, warm weather of December wasn’t exactly what our parched state required, it did produce plenty of opportunities for offshore anglers in the region to access some hot action. The last few months have produced some of the best catches of snapper for a number of seasons.
Quality snapper from 2-4kg have been caught off all the local ramps in 30-40m of water. Many anglers have also encountered school and gummy sharks. Like snapper fishing anywhere some boats get onto the fish while others don’t, but at least with the fairly stable conditions anglers have been able to string together a few trips in a short period of time. This gives you a better chance of finding fish or being able to return to a productive area. Often in this part of the world you can find a good area and have some success, but then not have suitable conditions to do it again for days, or even weeks.
Of course after such prolonged bouts of favourable offshore angling conditions, the weather turned sour for the holidaymakers over Christmas and New Years Eve. That’s the main problem with offshore fishing in the southwest: no matter how well the fish are biting if the sea conditions don’t let you get out there’s nothing you can do about it. Good offshore fishing should still be available throughout the summer provided sea conditions are acceptable. Blue and mako sharks will also be available for those suitably equipped. A warm summer should produce some bumper shark fishing. If you don’t have a boat, or aren’t keen to tackle the offshore scene on the ‘Shipwreck Coast’, there are quality charter boats operating out of each port that can get you into the action.
Closer inshore, things have been a little more quiet. There are plenty of pinky snapper around but most are small (between 30-33cm). I haven’t heard of many good bags of whiting being caught. There have been a couple of isolated reports of small kingfish being captured, plus a few signs of the big salmon that are often cruising around at this time of year. Hopefully by the time you read this in February things will have improved on the inshore pelagic front. The fine conditions have also been good for those who like to dive or drop nets for crays. Restrictions still apply to the abalone fishery due to the virus, so keep up to date with all the DSE information if you like a feed of abs.
At the time of writing the Hopkins River remains closed and a warm summer combined with a blocked mouth and high water levels usually doesn’t do much for the estuary angler. Plenty of trout have been sighted in the Merri but they have been tough to tempt in the clear water. With local legs of the ABT and Victorian Bream series being held at the Glenelg River in February (3/4th and 24/25th) there are plenty of places like the Curdies and Fitzroy rivers, and Yambuk Lake, to have a pre-fish on the way to the event. If the sea conditions are suitable a lot of fun can be had in bream style boats, using bream style gear, on the inshore reefs. Pinky snapper, snook, salmon and rat kings can really sort out your knot tying and drags for the upcoming tournament. If you’re attending the Glenelg ABT event, why not stay in the area, fish the variety of locations available, then have a go at the ABT Bass Electric event to be held at Bullen Merri on the following Sunday Feb 11th?Reads: 531