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February fish fest
  |  First Published: February 2017



In recent seasons, February in the Port Macquarie region has been a bit of a dilemma – not in a troubling way, but trying to work out which species to target! It’s a great month to be out on the water, as most of the holiday crowds have backed off.

Offshore anglers have got plenty to like about this month if the weather is friendly, with marlin for the game fishers being one of the many highlights. This is also the time we get to see some Spanish and spotted mackerel arrive in our waters, and that always creates a buzz of excitement in town. Trolling lures and live baits north of the port in Plomer Bay and on Plomer’s wider grounds will put you right in the game.

For the anglers who like the reef dwellers, this month should see you still getting a few reds from the southern grounds all the way to the Camden Haven. These grounds can be hard at times, but a well presented fresh bait or soft plastic should see you get some action. Always look for bait on your sounder and if there’s nothing present, keep moving around until you find some. When bait fishing on anchor, berley to bring the fish in. And while you may have a rod set with bait, try flicking around a plastic as well, as this can bring excellent results.

The river systems this month will also give us plenty to think about. With less traffic on the flats, bream and whiting will be on the target list and surface luring is still firing. Sugapens are still one of the best whiting lures available and have been doing the job on these tasty fish. Limeburners Creek and Blackmans Point have always been good places to target these fish, as is Lake Cathie, and you don’t need a boat there.

The bream, while they are great on the flats, have also been just as good around structure. Good locations include the Maria River, Rawdon Island, and basically all the way up the Hastings to Wauchope. These areas have been delivering very solid results for anglers casting surface lures or running bibbed hardbodies.

The Wilson river this month and next is a good option, as you get bream and bass mixed in your catches. Bream are also hanging in the upper reaches as well at this stage of the season, and by launching at Telegraph Point ramp under the Wilson River bridge you can be straight into the action.

Flathead have been solid and there are not too many banks in the local region that don’t have a few fish holding on them in February. If you’re fishing from the shore, just keep moving along the bank covering the water and you should find a few. Lure fishers should try prawn imitations and paddle tails in 75-100mm size range.

Bass fishing this month should continue to impress. Fishing the upper Maria River, Wilson River and a quick trip north to the Macleay River will see you encounter these bronze favourites. Surface lures such as Tiemco Soft Shell Cicadas have been all the buzz this season, and have caught a lot of bass. Another offering that has been excellent when the fish have gone quiet on top is the Fish Arrow J Spin, as well as Strike Pro Enticer Grubs in motor oil rigged on a 1/8th jighead. The bass have been smashing them in the weed beds. Just use a simple slow roll technique and wait to get belted!

On the sand there is plenty of action to be had if you find yourself a nice gutter or hole on one of the ends of the local beaches. Whiting, bream and school mulloway have been showing up regularly in catches, and sometimes you just don’t know what you may hook, as Phil Clarke and Bryce Gardner found out on North Beach recently. They hooked and landed an 11kg kingfish from the surf! The boys also caught a couple of school mulloway to go with it. These fish were caught on octopus legs, and the kingfish was landed at 9:30am. It goes to show if you have a line in the water anything is possible!

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