Shape up for shark season
  |  First Published: February 2014

Anglers fishing out in 70m+ of water have been reporting plenty of blue sharks and the occasional mako swimming up their berley trails. Large numbers of aero squid can be caught out in this depth by leaving baited jigs suspended mid water and these squid make great fresh baits for all of the shark species.

If the sharks are playing hard to get, then down size your bait and hooks and they should grab it without hesitation. I have found that they sometimes refuse a whole squid head but will happily grab a single squid tentacle or even a single pilchard that has the hook well hidden inside it.

Blue and mako sharks can range anywhere from 30-200kg so make sure you are prepared if a big one decides to turn up. I normally leave the big fellows for braver fishos and instead concentrate on targeting specimens of less than 100kg. I find that at this size they are much more manageable for two anglers and tend to be far better eating.

Large numbers of flathead have been taken out from Skenes Creek, Blanket Bay and the Lighthouse in 30-40m of water. Squid and fresh barracouta fillets have been the most reliable baits as they stay on the hook well allowing several fish to be caught on the one bait. The best results come from drifting through an area until you hit a patch of fish then use the GPS to retrace your drift over the same area several times until you have caught enough flathead for a feed.

Snapper have been biting on most of the offshore reefs between Cape Patton and the Cape Otway with the same baits that are used for flathead taking the majority fish. The snapper have not been big fish but they are good eating size with an average fish between 1-2kg. Again drifting over the reef is a good way to locate the schools of snapper so make sure your GPS is ready to mark the spot once you start catching.

The King George whiting were late this year but have now turned up in good size schools and are well worth targeting along the edges of the inshore reefs. Apollo Bay is known for its quality whiting fishing and anglers come from all over the state to chase these tasty little critters. You can catch larger numbers in other areas of Victoria but our whiting are bigger on average and obtain sizes of over 50cm in length.

The most popular whiting locations are the waterfall reefs located between Apollo Bay and Skene Creek, The Bumbry Reef, Marengo and Blanket Bay but don’t limit yourself to just these locations because there are plenty of other smaller reef systems that offer excellent fishing as well.

Other saltwater options for February include squid fishing inside the boat harbour, gummy sharks from 40m off Cape Otway and salmon fishing from Johanna or Glen Aire beaches.

The local river estuaries have been producing plenty of bream on prawn baits and small hardbodied lures. The Aire River and the Barham River estuaries tend to fish best when the mouth of the river is opened to the sea. As the river level drops with the out going tide the shrimp and small baitfish get flushed out of the grass/reeds and back into the main river. This gives the bream an ideal place to chase an easy feed, making the edges of the river the best place to concentrate your angling efforts.

In the past February has always been very reliable for bream fishing in this region so I’m very excited and looking forward to spending some time chasing bream in the rivers this month. Hopefully I see you out there!

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