For the anglers who have been down along the state's west over the past week or so the tuna fishing has continued to be good. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been fishing around Port Fairy over the past few weeks and has found no shortage of bluefin. James has been catching plenty of school fish from as close as 35m of water out to beyond Lady Julia island. James has been finding lots of small bait at present and smaller lures have been the best job of getting the bites. When the conditions have allowed James and son Tristan have been enjoying some stickbait action on the surface, with a few different styles from the store all getting bites. 


Customers Aaron and Kosta and mate fished out from Portland over the weekend and secured a bag of school fish that will give them some quality eating while confined to metro Melbourne. The guys fished both east towards the island and west into Nelson bay and found good amounts of school fish from 45m out. The prominent bait that the fish have been on has been small pilchards and anchovies, with some of the bait measuring no more than 2 inches long. Small skirts and hardbodies have getting the lion's share of the fish, with larger lures in close to the boat doing a good job at attracting the fish into the spread. 

 


The tuna action hasn't stopped along the west coast, with the main hotspots being Portland and Port Fairy. There have been fish caught from Apollo Bay right through to the SA border, but most anglers have been fishing from or Portland or Port Fairy. The fish have been moving about but holding in small pockets for days providing the haven't been fished too hard or moved on by predators or drastic weather changes, and they have been taking most lure types. You'd be mad to head out without a mixture of skirts, hardbodies and stickbaits in various profiles and colours. 

Customers Cam and Mark fished out from Portland recently and found the fish in fairly close and willing to eat cast stickbaits. The real trick was matching the lures to the profile of the bait that the fish were hunting, and with most of the fish in the area this has been micro pilchards and anchovies. 


Customer Daniel came in to the store and topped up on tuna essentials and to get some new lures rigged up. Daniel spent a couple of days around Portland familiarising himself with the area, and eventually found the fish. A mixture of small skirts were the most effective, with a clear yellow pattern proving the best of the lot on fish to around 11kg. While not all of the tuna in the area have been school fish - they have generally been 8 -15kg or 90kg+. Customers Tyler and Aaron proved that theory correct with a 128kg barrel caught out of Portland a few weekends ago. 

 


The bluewater fishing has been good for many species either east or west. Bluefin tuna have still been going well from Portland back to Apollo Bay. Most of the fish caught from Portland have been west of Lawrence Rock, around through Bridgewater and Nelson Bays. Customer Aaron fished out from Portland last week and landed school fish to around 9kg on a mixture of lures, with small skirts such as the Fluzi working well. Natural colours have been good since a lot of the fish have been on small redbait and pilchards. 

Customer Steve came in store last week and told us of a 92kg fish caught fishing with mates out from Portland also. Steve and mates landed plenty of small school fish and the 92kg barrel from 65m of water off Cape Bridgewater. Smaller skirted and deep hardbodied both worked well. 

Be mindful if you're looking at fishing out from Apollo Bay over the weekend, the service station in town will be closed for major upgrades as of Wednesday 17th of June. Other fuel options are in Lorne, Port Campbell or Colac.  


Out wide from Lakes Entrance along the shelf drops there has been some good fishing - when anglers have been able to make the long run out. Last week during a bit of a weather window there were boats out in search of some deepwater species. There have been a few reports of swordfish from around the canyons, with customer Thomas and brother Gary landing a nice fish of around 130kg last week.

In a touch closer there have been some other edible species coming up also. Customer Simon fished out in the region with some mates where they landed a nice bag of tasty trumpeter. Simon was fishing around some sloping shelves between 150 - 250m deep. Fishing electric reels with multiple circle hook paternoster rigs is the best way to connect with these trumpeter or other species such as ling. Lumo sleeve/tubing and lumo squid added to the rigs helps attract the fish in the dark water and tough baits of squid are the best choice, as no one wants to be constantly re-baiting rigs in 200m of water! 

 


The bluefin tuna have been fishing well across in the Portland district, and with some quality offshore conditions many anglers have been making hay while the sun has been shining. While there have been fish coming from Port Mac in SA through to around Apollo Bay, the main concentrations of fish have been from Cape Bridgewater back to Port Fairy and off Warnambool. Customer Tony and mates fished Portland earlier last week and had a bit of a tough time getting on to the fish but they did manage one schoolie for their efforts.


Customers Aaron and Kosta got out on the fish from Portland over the long weekend, and with some reasonable conditions they found no shortage of tuna. Most of the school fish they found had been hanging between the 60 - 130m area and were responding to most trolled lures. Skirts up to 6 inch and deep diving hardbodies were the best, with a mixture of colours from bright UV's like pink and lumo, through to natural saury and couta imitations. Customer Izzy and fished out from Portland over the weekend after purchasing a new 50w outfit. Trolling in close in the 45m area Izzy hooked a barrel on her lighter spin rod and unfortunately had the hooks pull. The consolation prizes were the 10kg school fish that were abundant, that are store-rigged daisy chain skirt rigs and deep running hardbodies. 

 

 

 

 

 


The local and west coast run of tuna has continued this week, with plenty of fish about still but some real sorcery needed at times to get the bites off them. Increased boat traffic and non-stealth tactics never help, but the fish are certainly still there to be caught - and have been. The fish are still spread from around the western entrance of Westernport through past Portland, with good numbers still just outside Port Phillip heads.

Customer Jacques had a shot at the fish earlier during the week out from the heads and landed fish to around the 20kg mark. Jacques fished a mixture of lure options but found deep diving hardbodies were the best for him out near the foul ground off Torquay.


Customers Mario, Vit and Henry fished out from the heads during the week also targeting the tuna. Targeting the area west of Point Lonsdale, the guys landed a handful of fish around the 40m depth area early in the morning. Once the scores of boats started hitting the area the fish went deep and were much harder to locate again. Skirted lures as small as 4 inches were good on the fish.

Customer Nick fished the same area across to Angelsea over the weekend and landed a few tuna as well. Nick found that skirts were the go, and the addition of larger lures and teasers in the spread really brought the fish up for a closer look. Trolling much larger hardbodies and even marlin sized skirts is a good way to bring the tuna's attention up towards your offerings - especially when there are a lot of other lures in the water nearby.


Staff member Dylan tackled the tuna over the weekend also, but opted for further west. Dylan towed his boat to Portland and found plenty of tuna to 15kg and less boat traffic, with most of the good schools located 30km or so straight south from the ramp. The odd boat trolling through schools in closer meant that the fish were flighty and not near the surface for very long. Super long casts with heavily weighted stickbaits caught all the fish, with 'burn and kill' retrieves working the best.



Remember to correctly look after your catch too! Southern Bluefin Tuna are premium table fish, but only if correctly dispatched and care for. Following these step will ensure your bluefin remains A1 quality for the table!

 


The run of tuna local to Melbourne has continued and is gaining more and more momentum each day. With huge schools of fish to 40kg just offshore from the bays and along the coast many are taking advantage and getting amongst them when conditions allow. The schools have been isolated and as widespread as Cape Woolamai across to Portland and further west, with good numbers of fish hanging about between Cape Schank and Torquay. Vic EJ Todds Representative Mitch has been landed some sizable fish out from Barwon on stickbaits and poppers. While many anglers have been trolling lures, with increased boat traffic and pressure the fish are liable to spook - and this is where cast lures can have their advantages. Don't forget to pack popppers, stickbaits and various soft plastics!


Customer Josh came into the store after an outfit to tackle the tuna with and let us set something up for him. After gearing up Josh and some mates headed out and gave the fish a crack. The boys found the tuna just outside of the heads in quite shallow water heading towards Barwon bluff and landed a few on different hardbodies and also small skirts. Needless to say Josh is hooked will probably be doing more of it asap.


There have been plenty of anglers scoring catches of nice bluefin. The Melbourne Tuna Crumbs have been amongst the fish over the past weeks, with to just shy of 40kg coming aboard. Some of the original crumbs Michael and Pino have had fun on the fish from just outside the heads across to Angelsea. Various tactics have been working with deep running hardbodies and bibless minnows in short doing a good job at bringing the fish in. When the fish have been shy small skirts as minute as 3'' have been getting the bites, especially when fished a long way back.


The boys from Bucci Cabinets have been serving up fresh tuna with good numbers of fish in the 15 - 20kg size range being caught. The fish have again been caught along the surf coast, with the Barwon - Torquay area holding good schools. Working the 20 - 35m depth areas have been where most of the boys have been finding the numbers. Skirted lures have been the favoured method, with 5'' being about the most productive size. Some skirts as large as 10'' have been catching fish - and a good option to put in the spread as a teaser to entice the school to come up. Even if you have any huge marlin sized skirts, running them or a large popper or daisy chain of large soft plastics as an attractor has been well worth the effort.

 


Many anglers have been aware of the tuna activity along the west of the coast, and have been making the most of these fish again this week. There have been fish stretched from Portland and further west right across to offshore from Westernport and Inverloch. There have been fish inside both bays but they have been flighty and hard to come across, but they have been there to be caught.


Customer Billy has been catching some nice bluefin just offshore from the heads on small skirts. He has also landed a couple of fish in the 20kg range from inside the bay, with both skirts and deep diving hardbodies working well. The fish inside the bay have been moving about a lot, but the 'rip' section has been where the fish have been pushing through mowing down schools of pilchards. Customer Jason has also been landing fish offshore from the heads and further down towards Phillip Island. Jason has been landing fish on small 5'' skirts, and a few fish on surface poppers cast around the schools.

Customers Izzy and Bruno have been getting into the tuna also. Izzy fished out from Torquay during the week and found fish to 25kg. Skirts in the 5'' size range were the most effective on the fish, with the fish being attracted up to the surface from the commotion of deep running hardbodied lures. While the fish around Torquay and Barwon have been good there have also been some nice fish coming from Portland and Port Fairy. The fish have been cruising inshore in water depths of 15 - 50m and have been responding to the same methods - with stickbaiting and popping also very productive.


Among the tuna out west there have been schools of rat kingfish hanging about. The inshore reef around Portland has been the best holding ground for the numbers of these fish, with Izzy and Bruno catching some while down at Portland. Stickbaits and small surface poppers have been effective when the fish are on, but baits of slimey and calamari have also been deadly when the lures haven't gotten the interest of the fish. The fish have ranged in size from just legal to around 18kg, with some much larger fish harassing the smaller rats.


While not normally known for it's kingfish, the Gippsland lakes has been experiencing a run of school sized fish moving about the system. The fish have been moving from as far up as Paynesville right the way down to Lakes Entrance itself. Customer Kevin has found himself holding a knife while in a gunfight while fishing out of his canoe. Kevin has been fishing the north arm around Lakes Entrance and has been landing kingies to around 80cm. Small plastics that imitate the abundant prawns have been easy for the fish to eat and getting most of the bites.

 


The wild west coast is producing it's Summer time inshore speedsters with tuna and kingfish on the cards. The best part about this form of fishing at this time of year is that the fish aren't out as far as normal Winter fishing. Targeting the bluefin tuna this time of year revolves highly around casting to surface feeding schools of fish that are hunting whitebait and anchovy. The kingfish can be found operating in the same method, but generally sticking to the inshore reef that runs from Portland harbour along the coast past Narrawong is your best best of locating them.

Vic Representative from EJ Todds was down on the tuna last week and found schools of fish will to eat stickbaits worked at high speeds. Mitch found a Molix stickbait in 120mm the most productive on the fish.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been down along the west coast fishing with his sons. James and the boys have been finding kingfish in close, and ending up sidetracked by the tuna schools. The boys had some good fishing just recently on bluefin to around the 25kg mark in close. Sticking under the 50m line and vigorously keeping an eye out for any bait schools and surface fish in the best method of locating them. Make sure you have a variety of stickbaits and casting lures also, as these fish can become picky when switched on to particular prey items. Lures from 75 - 150mm are needed, with the sweet spot seeming to be around the 115mm size. Cubing with pilchards in the deeper water is also a good way of connecting with a few solid Summer speedsters.

 


While most anglers have bypassed the thoughts of tuna fishing, there have still been reports of fish coming from the West coast. Over the years the bigger tuna have moved along the coast sporadically - but around 2/3 years ago the large fish were at the best at about the same time as now - pretty much the start of snapper season. A lot of anglers were caught off guard, with the problem being that many were caught up preparing for the snapper run and not thinking big tuna. James Rogers from Unreel Fishing Charters had a ripper session a few weeks ago where he and his crew landed 2 'barrel' tuna over the 100kg mark.

Just again last week James and his crew hit the water and landed another a ripper bluefin tuna. James had his sons on the rod fighting the fish and it was successfully hauled aboard and landed. The tank tuna ate a skirt in bright redbait colour and will provide the boys with plenty of A grade sashimi. 

 


While not everyone's game, there has been some excellent offshore fishing when a break in the weather opens up. There are numbers of snapper starting to move just offshore from the entrance to both bays, some excellent gummies on offer and still decent numbers of tuna along the West coast. James from Unreel Fishing Charters had a purple patch on the tuna along the West coast earlier this week, with 2 massive fish over the 100kg mark. James and his son both managed a 'barrel' each - with the monsters weighing 110kg and 140kg. There are still some serious inshore tuna out there to had when the wind and swell decide to calm down...


A little bit closer to home around the offshore reef the gummies have still been quality. Customers Johnny and Thao have been outside when conditions allow and have seen some serious gummies punching well above 15kg. There haven't been any 'hotspots' as the boys tried a new area recently and had results. Finding and plotting isolated patches of reef has been the key, with locally sourced baits also a key step. Catching wrasse and parrotfish from the reef is an excellent step in catching a solid sea-going gummy. Baits of squid are excellent for catching fresh bait, as are artificial offerings.


Small flutter-style jigs and soft plastics get eaten within metres of the reef by the wrasse species, but keeping them as  close to the bottom is key. Multi-coloured depth marked braid is excellent for doing this. Generally speaking, the most successful reef zones are outside the main entrance shelves, in the 25 - 30m depth or wider around 40 - 45m. At this depth there is plenty of bait and food for cruising gummies.