Snap up some southwest snapper
  |  First Published: December 2008

Rather changeable weather at the moment has you looking forward to January and the summer species one minute, then wondering whether should be breaking out the trout gear again.

It’s a shame that conditions made it difficult to get out to sea recently, as some quality snapper have been taken locally. Fish of 2-3kg are generally regarded as good fish in the southwest, but some anglers were fortunate to capture specimens of 6-8kg. These fish came from between 30-40m of water off Warrnambool. The odd gummy and school shark has made an appearance as well.

Smaller pinky snapper are beginning their inshore summer movement and are being taken by both boat and surf anglers. In January they should be widespread along the coast, often to the point of annoyance if targeting other species.

Water temperature was pushing 16oC in the last week of November. By January the water will have warmed sufficiently for pelagic sharks and yellowtail kingfish to be added to the offshore angler’s list of possible target species.

Some good King George whiting and silver trevally to 40cm have made an appearance in inshore angler’s bags in the Killarney region. These fish will continue to be available over January in this area, along with some other fine eating options in crayfish and calamari squid.

We can’t do anything about the weather stopping us from gaining access to the fish, but one thing you can do something about is the poor state of some of the local launch facilities. Get into Hooked on Rods and Reels over the summer and fill in the Marine Safety Survey. For a long time, local and visiting anglers have suffered from substandard launching facilities: Lady Bay is notoriously dangerous and difficult to launch from in certain conditions. There are no floating jetties to allow for the frequent high water conditions when the mouth is closed in the Hopkins, and no jetty whatsoever to help launch at the Merri. The only way to get the grant money to fix these problems is for anglers to speak out.

The estuary fishing scene has been fairly quiet of late. Bream in the Hopkins have been hit and miss, and of a small average size. Some good captures of estuary perch have been occurring though, with a 1.75kg fish taken by Jodie Bailey.

The Curdies has also been a bit slow on the bream front, while trevally, small whiting and salmon have been prevalent in the Moyne River at Port Fairy.

Good snapper have been available offshore recently, when conditions have allowed anglers to get their boats out.

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