chuck a sickie if you have to!
  |  First Published: February 2004

IF THE fishing in February is anything like it is as I write in early January, I can see a lot of fishos chucking sickies or even taking leave from work or even leave from home for that matter.

This is prime time of year for pretty well all the available species in the Central Coat area. From tailor to jewfish, from flathead to marlin and everything in between, February has it all.

My last charter for 2003 resulted in 15 jewfish, heaps of bream, tailor and kingfish. It brought the Calmwater Fishing Charters jewfish tally to 572 for 2003 and it looks like we are in for a couple of good months ahead.

The February kingfish should be stacked up off prominent headlands and inshore reefs, with some fish entering exposed bays. Live yellowtail or slimy mackerel and fresh squid are top baits for them. One-third of the way up from the bottom seems to be the best place to set your rigs and I find it best to leave reels in gear with a solid drag.

Pilchard cubes fished down a berley trail of the same is another good way of enticing shy fish. If fishing outside, remember to always try to put a big live bait out behind the boat under a balloon – you might be surprised at how many marlin frequent our inshore waters at this time of year.

The snapper fishing though has been slow until just recently and should be really kicking along in February, with areas from 60 metres to right in close to shore producing fish.

Remember to try a variety of baits for snapper and other species. It never ceases to amaze me how often they change their bait preference. If I put out four lines, I’ll put out four different baits and if most strikes come on one bait, I'll change two or three lines to that bait, always leaving an alternative bait in the water. It's amazing how often the far bigger fish can take the alternative bait, while the medium smaller fish prefer the popular bait.

Our beaches, rocks and waterways have been pretty congested for the past couple of months but I find this seems to have very little effect on the fish. I believe the sounds of outboard motors, jet skis, ferries and the like are all part of the fishes’ day and they have just learnt to live with it. The number of times I have had fantastic hauls in relatively shallow water while all kinds of craft have been buzzing past makes me think that our fish are not as traffic-shy as one may think. Sure, I would rather fish on weekdays than weekends, because there is usually less boat traffic, but my main reason is that there are fewer anchor ropes for fish that we might hook to wrap themselves around.


Remember, if you take time out to wet a line you will be doing everybody a favour. Life in this age seems to fast and furious and it can be sometimes very difficult to allocate time for fishing in our busy schedules.

However, I believe it's imperative for someone who's passionate about their fishing to get out and have a fish as often as possible. Fishing is a great tonic for dealing with the pressures of life. It's an opportunity to stop and just soak up the surroundings. While out in a boat, up on a rock or on a beach or bank there are no lawns to mow, no things to fix, no paperwork to attend to or TV to vegetate in front of. It really is healthy time out.

Not only will you feel better for it, but the results of you spending time on the water will flow on through the household and the workplace. If I haven't been fishing for a while, I find the whole household knows about it. Symptoms range from irritability to intolerance and exhaustion. A quick fish seems to be the best remedy to alleviate these symptoms.

So, being the selfless people that I know you are, do your family and work colleagues a favour and just stop what you are doing and go and have a fish. Tell them you are doing it for their benefit and if they laugh, tell them to get nicked and go anyhow!


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