For anglers, February is one of the most anticipated months of the year. The holiday crowds disperse, and usually this is when the warm summer weather these same holidaymakers had hoped for finally arrives!
This year things have been different, with the southwest experiencing some fantastic early summer weather. The fish have responded to these good conditions and there are fantastic reports coming in from every front. These options should continue to provide plenty of angling diversity over summer.
The local ramps at both Warrnambool and Port Fairy have been particularly busy as locals and holidaymakers alike take advantage of the great fishing and weather conditions offshore. Snapper are prolific right along the coast. There are plenty of pinkies, but some larger fish in the 3kg range are being caught a little further offshore.
Gummy and school sharks are being encountered frequently by both boat and surf anglers. Some big Aussie salmon have been prevalent in both surf and inshore locations as well. Quality snapper and gummy sharks have also been taken in the Port Campbell area by anglers launching from the steep boat ramp.
Some kingfish, as well as blue and mako sharks, have already been caught by anglers targeting these local sportfish. These species often usually aren’t at their best until later in the summer, so signs are good for a productive summer on these fish. The calm seas have also enabled some anglers to prospect further offshore, where good catches of deepsea table fish like blue-eye and knife jaw have occurred.
The local estuaries have benefited from some good flows of water generated by short, sharp heavy falls of rain. The fine weather has therefore allowed anglers to spread out over a variety of locations, both offshore, inshore and estuarine.
The flow of water in the rivers and estuaries has seen bream schooling up in spawning mode, which is a little unusual for this time of year. Bream continue to bite well with good reports of 1kg fish coming from the Hopkins and Curdies rivers, as well as Yambuck Lake. With the Glenelg ABT event scheduled for early February, there should be a variety of locations available for a productive pre-fish on the way to the competition.
Plenty of big schools of mullet have been in the estuaries as well, and a few mulloway encounters have also been reported. There was an 11kg fish taken in early summer, and there are reports of other anglers getting busted up by similar fish.
So, there are plenty of good captures occurring in the area, but anglers should be sure to give themselves the best chance of being successful. Putting in the extra effort to fish early or late, being particular with rigs and bait, and sourcing current information and the correct gear from local tackle shops can make all the difference between a successful, fun-filled outing, and just sitting there appreciating the good weather.Reads: 711