Unexpected visitors show up
  |  First Published: February 2017

One of the great things about fishing the South West is the variety of species to target, and the array of techniques to try. It’s a real mixed bag at the best of times, and occasionally you get something really different. There have been a couple of very unusual and interesting occurrences that have happened recently, which go to show you never know what to expect in the world of fishing.


February can be a great time to chase estuary perch in both the freshwater and saltwater sections of the Hopkins River. A warm, calm evening can produce some exciting surface action whether you’re using lures, fly or floated cricket baits.

This fun style of fishing now has an added attraction: the possibility of tangling with a bass. Bass have never been officially stocked in the Hopkins and don’t occur naturally, but a number of fish in the 40cm size range have been turning up in the past couple of months. Given their size and condition it’s likely that during the recent floods in 2016, someone’s bass dam has overflowed, resulting in these fish escaping into the Hopkins River. Whatever the case, no one is complaining when they’re hooked up to 40cm plus of hard-fighting bass!


If bass in the Hopkins wasn’t strange enough, a school of medium-sized kingfish making their appearance in Warrnambool Harbour was also something out of the ordinary. February is prime time to fish for kings at all the local South West hotspots, but Warrnambool harbour definitely has never been one of them. Unfortunately, the anglers present on the piers at the time were horribly under gunned. Here’s hoping the kingies return sometime.


Catching tuna amongst the kingfish during summer also used to be a bit of a novelty, however last season it became quite predictable to see mixed schools of both kings and tuna, or just tuna schools. With some fish already seen this season, hopefully in February we will enjoy some summer pelagic action on both tuna and kings. Sure, they are the same species everyone catches all winter, but there is something special about getting one out of a warm, blue ocean with the sun on your back in summer.

Having said all that, it’s not all just about the weird and wonderful on the local angling scene. King George whiting and squid have been biting well on all the local inshore locations recently. They will still be a great option on those warm, summer evenings. Hopefully we will get lots of those during February.

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