It never ceases to amaze me how nearly every month I go to write my report a different species of fish seems to be taking centre stage.
That is one of the great things about fishing down here in the southwest. The focus of much attention recently has been the succulent southern rock lobster or crayfish. Both drop-netters and divers have been taking advantage of the seemingly prolific numbers of crays along the coast at the moment. Using my Humminbird sounder/GPS is fantastic in locating reefy areas and marking successful drop locations. I’ve found the crays have been rather partial to a drop net baited with salmon.
If you are targeting crayfish remember to stick to the rules and regulations. Two crays per person per day; male’s minimum - 11cm carapace length; female 10.5cm and don’t forget to clip the tail. All rock lobsters taken by recreational fishers are to be tail-clipped or tail-punched with a hole not less than 10mm in diameter. This must be done within 5 minutes of bringing rock lobsters onto a boat or, if taken from the shore, within 5 minutes of landing and within 50m of the place of landing.
On the subject of things that taste good, there have been plenty of squid taken locally recently. Killarney and Lady Bay have been the hotspots and both these areas have also been producing good King George whiting as well. For those more after sporting targets February has the best of them. Mako, thresher sharks and kingfish head the list of species where February is one of the best months to target them. Add to the distinct possibility of the first tuna of the season showing themselves out wide and there is plenty to keep sports fishing addicts busy during February.
Rat kings in particular can be prevalent during February and are best targeted using trolled squid strips or cast soft plastics. The Basin, Killarney and the reefs west of Port Fairy are the places to begin looking.
The Hopkins River was re-opened in late December, which will help with angler access and hopefully the fishing. The bream fishing remains quiet although the good news was a couple of separate reports of some small mulloway being taken. The lower reaches have had plenty of schools of salmon trout to keep youngsters happy, or for cray or kingfish bait! Quy from Hooked on Rods and reels has been taking some good estuary perch in the freshwater regions of the Hoppies. These fish can still be taken during February, just watch the snakes.
Just around the corner in early March is the annual Shipwreck coast fishing Classic. The competition is fished in local estuary surf and offshore waters between port Campbell and Yambuk from 9th March 9-17. Well worth keeping in mind if you are thinking of making a trip down with plenty of prizes for both juniors and senior anglers.Reads: 1337