Reefies revel in February
  |  First Published: February 2016

February is the peak of our bluewater season and thus a special month for spearfishing. This month is also a brilliant time to hunt reef species.

Late December and through January saw an exceptionally good start to the yellowtail kingfish run, with giant fish in abundance, and many of the better local divers had no trouble bagging a few of these hard fighting fish. The usual locations that currently hold fish are areas such as Wilsons Prom, Cape Liptrap and Pyramid Rock. Further west, Apollo Bay has delivered some nice fish. Murray Peterson found some great specimens on a recent trip down that way. The same is true for the far southwest of the state around Portland and Port Fairy. Killarney, Crags and the North Shore at Portland all hold some great fish for those that want to get out there and hunt some highly sought after species. Mid-February sees the running of the Kingfish Cup, a statewide competition run by the Southern Freedivers, which is sure to be a cracking event this year, with no shortage of kingies.

Late February is an exciting part of the month, which heralds the arrival of the tuna in the far southwest of the state. Early indications and reports promise both Albacore and Southern Bluefin Tuna across the border in South Australia around Kangaroo Island and Victor Harbour. Once we start hearing these reports it’s only a matter of time until they arrive around Portland and Port Fairy. In my opinion, this is one of the reasons February is such a great month with the crossover of warm and cool water species. It's very possible to be able to hunt both Kingfish and Tuna in the same month.

The early part of the southern rock lobster season started a little slowly this year, with plenty of average sized crays but the bigger specimens did not move in closer onto the inshore reefs until mid to late January. This is sure to pick up in February, one of my favourite months to target those big inshore crays.

Reef species on the other hand have been brilliant. The water warmed up quite quickly this season and temps of 18°C+ here in the southwest have been common. King George whiting, sea sweep, trevally and golden trumpeter have been plentiful, and this will continue through February and into March.

With the holiday season and warm weather there is a marked increase in boat traffic. Always remain aware of your surroundings and any boats in the vicinity. Make sure you fly your blue and white diver below flag on a clearly visible float. Boaters should drop their speed to 5 knots when they spot a diver’s float, and make sure they spot the diver in the water before accelerating again. Likewise, divers need to be responsible and do their best to stay visible and stay out of main transit areas and high boat traffic areas.

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