Now that the summer school holiday madness has settled and life along the Great Ocean Road seems to have slowed to a reasonable pace again, it’s time to get into some serious fishing.
February is my favourite month to fish. Very little, or no, wind and lovely sunny days make an evening on the water so much more enjoyable than that of the onshore summer breezes so common in January. Although January produced some excellent fishing and was one of the best I can remember, the next few weeks should continue not only to feed the family but also satisfy most anglers’ addictions.
Snapper are still being caught around Blanket Bay and the Lighthouse on a regular basis with fish up to 5kg being landed, but fish around 1.5kg are more common. Bluebait and squid have been the most productive baits but they will take a wide variety, which also includes ’couta fillets and pilchards. Fishing the tides is the most productive way to bring home a feed with the hour either side of the high-tide being the best conditions around the Lighthouse.
If the snapper are playing ‘hard to get’, try fishing over the sand for a feed of flatties. Flathead are willingly taking baits fished on the bottom in 35m of water and some thumpers have been landed. Fish to 60cm have been common and people using Paternoster rigs have experienced plenty of ‘double headers’. If you think you have been fighting a gummy shark for the last few minutes only to see two giant flathead hanging from the end of your line, there’s no reason to feel bad because many people have made that wrong call this season. Two shovel headed flathead trying to swim in opposite directions in 30m of water can put a real strain not only on your gear but on your back muscles too!
On the land-based side of things, the pier has seen plenty of calamari squid taken on prawn-style squid jigs. The smaller jigs in 1.8 and 2.5 sizes have been the most productive. The Breakwall and Wild Dog Beach have seen some salmon being caught on bluebait with fish averaging 1kg, but one happy angler weighed in a fat specimen of 4.9kg from the Breakwall.
The Barham River is fishing well for bream around the back of the caravan park with scrubworms and prawns being the most reliable of the baits and the high-tide being the best time to target them.
The Aire River has seen trout to 2kg upstream from the Ocean Road Bridge. Rapala and Attack lures fished among the log jams have been the key to success.
For further information, contact Surf-n-Fish, (03) 5237 6426.
1. Snapper up to 5kg, like Josh Lee shows here, have been taken from Cape Otway.
2. A Barham River bream caught by the author is photographed before release.Reads: 778