Mako-ing it rain down south
  |  First Published: February 2016

February is the peak time for many summer species, in particular the larger game fish like mako sharks and yellowtail kingfish. The fact that some good specimens have already shown up in early summer is hopefully a sign of some excellent angling once the warm calm February days arrive.

Constant southeasterly winds have made things difficult this summer for anyone to get out among the fish. Such conditions can be uncomfortable (sometimes dangerous) and also limit your chances of success. Deepwater bottom bouncing for gummy shark and snapper isn’t very productive when you’re scooting along at a rate of knots, and to establish a decent berley trail to attract a mako is almost impossible. Kings are very hard to spot if the surface is churned up with plenty of chop from those persistent easterlies.

Last season seemed a little on the quiet side for makos, but already there have been some numbers brought into port. Antony Ljubic managed a magnificent 104kg mako, and plenty of smaller fish have been encountered, some as close as 40m of water.

A few southern bluefin were also kicking around this time last year, so any big bust up you see is always worth investigating. The kingfish/tuna double might be a realistic target for keen sport fishers this summer. Salty Dog tours operator Dan Hoey managed a small tuna late in December which means there have been tuna captures in every single month of 2015.

Even if conditions for sea fishing aren’t fantastic, the estuaries can also produce their fair share of fish. The Hopkins River is still closed but fishing well. Mulloway provide the odd surprise – these fish have been quite mobile in the river, and even when located on the sounder they can still be reluctant to bite, the possibility of coming across a mulloway does make estuary jaunts far more attractive. Most bream have been around the 32cm bracket, but bigger fish, like the 45cm fish caught by Stewie McKinnon recently, are always there.

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 12-20 March. This competition is well worth keeping in mind if you are thinking of making a trip down, with plenty of prizes for both junior and senior anglers.

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