February is perhaps one of the most anticipated months in the local fishing calendar.
Increases in both water temperature and the frequency of warmer weather, combined with a decrease in holiday water traffic, can lead to some great fishing. At the moment anglers are looking forward to such conditions even more so than usual, as the start to the summer in the southwest has been very disappointing.
In early summer things were looking up. Bream and perch off the surface, our first kingfish of the season, a few mulloway whispers - then the heavens opened once again.
The following few weeks of poor weather conditions have resulted in fairly tough times for anglers. The Hopkins River was still flowing fast and brown in January. Some excellent bream from 1-1.5kg have been taken by anglers fishing a variety of unconventional baits such as frozen prawns, pipis and freshwater yabbies. Brown trout are also still on the chew with fish to 1.8kg being taken between Cassidys and the Weir on lure and bait.
On the offshore scene there have been some good captures when anglers have been able to get out. The best snapper I have heard of went 6.5kg whilst plenty of gummies have also been captured by anglers who have a refined technique and berley well.
Most of these fish have been taken from around 30m of water from south of the Warrnambool Breakwater toward the waters off Tower Hill. Come February offshore anglers will be focusing more on the pelagic shark species, which have been fairly quiet so far with the lack of bait schools and cool water, although a nice mako was taken off Port Fairy recently.
A few kingfish have been sighted at a number of locations locally but anglers have found them difficult to tempt. Warmer water temperatures in February should turn these lookers into takers.
If the kingfish prove elusive some good salmon to 2-3kg often provide some fun around the inshore reefs during February. Calamari squid have been a little sparse in the inshore reefs at the moment but are always a good option in February.
King George whiting around 40cm have been taken with some regularity recently and should also be prominent in anglers bags during February. Sweep and crayfish are other options available in this fantastic fishing month. If conditions are right and no doubt there will be anglers out off the shelf looking for the first southern bluefin of the season at this time of year.
If the weather closes in on you and ruins your February offshore desires, there’s always the rivers to fall back on. Of course you may not have brought your bait gathering equipment that you need to get that fresh live offering bream and trout often require, particularly in the warmer months.
Fear not as Hooked on Rods and Reels now has a variety of live baits such as shrimp yabbies and gudgeon to help you to maybe get some river fish to turn a weather effected trip around.Reads: 1960