February Is For FishingIs fishing about food, fun, or something totally different for you?
Fishing is at once a pastime, passion, hobby, a way to put food on the table and for many an overriding obsession that runs their life.
During the summer holidays, which already seems to feel like a distant memory, I had the joy of hopping across the ditch to New Zealand for a spot of camping, batching and fishing along the Coromandel Peninsula. It was a magnificent break from the pace of life in Sydney’s east, and inspired the thoughts for this month’s fishing prediction.
As many keen anglers would know, NZ is a snapper, yellowtail kingfish, and kahawai (Australian salmon) paradise. The fish numbers are plentiful and if you can get off the beaten track or to a far flung island destination, the size of the fish can be monstrous.
One recurring theme during my discussions with the anglers I met over there was their slightly different attitude towards fishing and fish. Most of the fishos I spoke to saw the act of fishing primarily as a way of putting tasty tucker on the table for family and friends (though I’m sure they all love to be on the water with friends and get stoked on catching hard fighting fish too).
Interestingly, the regulations and rules put in place for recreational anglers in NZ really identify that fishing is seen as a way to catch a feed. Set or mini long lines with 25 hooks are allowed to be used and left overnight and work with deadly accuracy on the snapper, recreational anglers can also still use short-span gill nets to gather a feed, and scuba equipment can be used in the collection of all invertebrates with the exception of Paua (Abalone).
Whilst I’m sure these rules are based on scientific research, species stock status and the relatively small population size, it did remind me that for many anglers fishing is not about the thrill of the chase or the challenge that catching a fishing with hook and line presents. Instead, it is all about the eating.
So where do you stand and what motivates you to get out on the water before the sun’s first rays of light reach over the waiting horizon?
Back to the local scene, February is a great month for Sydney-based anglers. The days are just right – the weather is hot, the water’s warm and the fishing should be on.
Along the beaches, whiting, bream, tailor and Australian salmon should all be on the chew. Use light line, as little sinker weight as possible and hooks to suit the size of bait and the fish you are targeting. Fishing from the ocean rocks – whilst not a place for the inexperienced or idiotic – should produce solid catches or yellowtail kingfish, some tuna species and occasional snapper. Drummer, luderick and bream should also be about in good numbers so use a steady berley trail and the appropriate bait to catch some fun fighting fish that also taste great.
On the inshore/offshore reefs everything is happening at this time of year. Plagues of ‘rat’ kingfish will be in force, and bigger specimens can be caught by the well prepared and diligent. Jewfish (Mulloway) will be schooling up on certain reefs, presenting anglers in the know with some dusk delights. Snapper are also well worth a crack – either fish the change of light or head wide if fishing during the middle of the day.
February is also a great time to head wide and seek out bait schools, temperature breaks and bird action in the hope of getting connected to a majestic marlin, mahi mahi or even a wahoo.
The fishing is always great at this time of the year so stick to the principles of fishing, make a plan and get out and have some fun pursuing your passion.