February is perhaps one of the most anticipated months in the local fishing calendar. Increases in both water temperature and the frequency of warmer weather, combined with a decrease in holiday water traffic, can lead to some great fishing.
At the moment anglers are looking forward to such conditions even more than usual, because the start to the summer in the southwest has been very disappointing. Poor weather has resulted in tough times for anglers. Isolated good captures have been cropping up for inshore, offshore and estuary anglers, but there is no great consistency anywhere.
There has been no sign of the summer pelagics, such as small kings and big salmon, around the Killarney region, and only a couple of isolated captures well west of Port Fairy. Hopefully, in February, warmer conditions will see a few of these fine sportfish make an appearance. They are great fun on light gear, but make sure you keep a look out for bigger kings and have the heavy tackle close at hand just in case.
Another popular local summer sportfish is the thresher shark. February is a good time to target these. Threshers are found in shallower waters than most pelagic sharks, and 10-20m of water out the back of any of the local inshore reefs is a good place to start.
Further out to sea a few makos and blue sharks have been taken, but many berley trails are remaining unfulfilled at this early stage of the season. These sharks should become more prolific in February and provide some heavy tackle action for local game fishers.
Game anglers will also be keeping an eye out for the first signs of bluefin tuna. Last year the first fish turned up in late February.
On the inshore scene some good catches of whiting have been coming from Killarney, Port Fairy and Lady Bay. These fine eating fish should provide good angling through February, and the best time to target them is in the evening and into darkness, particularly if you are bank fishing or fishing shallow water.
If you’re after the best of the inshore pinky snapper action, it is also a case of the early bird gets the worm. First light is prime time.
Despite a few good bream being weighed in from the Hopkins, including a couple of 1.7kg specimens, the fishing is not yet at its best. Once again, making the effort fish early or late to avoid the crowds helps in securing a bag.
The river mouth remains open at this stage, an important factor affecting the estuary fishing over the summer months. Small to medium-sized salmon have been providing some joy for holidaymakers in the lower regions of the Moyne and Merri Rivers.Reads: 948