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.

 

The tuna fishing has still been going well along the states West, especially out from Portland. There have been plenty of school fish from 40m right out to beyond the 'horse shoe' and across the shelf. Customer Gem sent us a photo from a Portland trip just recently where a good brace of school tuna were caught on trolled hardbodies. Over the past week or so there has been reports of schools of whitebait around, which normally turns the fish more selective. If you're planning a trip during the next bout of calm weather make sure you pack some of your smallest skirts and offerings to cover all bases.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been making the most of the tuna season down along the west coast also, with excellent numbers of fish being caught between Port Fairy and Portland. James has been focusing on getting fish for customers and says that there is no shortage of school fish about. James has been finding a few different lure options have been working, from 'medium' sized skirts right down to tiny salmon sized skirts and hardbodies. Colour-wise many options have been worth trolling, with lumo, redbait, pilchard, saury and red squid patterns all good starting points.

 


The west coast continues to produce tuna for the anglers out in search. While there has been no shortage of school fish there also has been a good number of 'barrels' about to keep the keen hunters keen. Customer Jason fished with mates recently and was involved in the capture of a barrel in the 150kg range out from Portland. Even though these big fish are normally actively hunting schools of redbait and pilchards, this fish had an undersized pinkie in it's stomach. Bright pink and red skirts have subsequently been productive out from Portland lately.


Customer Damien also headed down to Portland with mates in search of some more school fish, which he caught easily. While many anglers are venturing out towards the 'horseshoe' out along the shelf in search of these fish, there have been plenty in mush closer. Starting your search in around 50m has been good, and also puts you in with the chances of a 'barrel' - as they as normally frequently found in this 50 - 70m depth line. A mixture of lures did the job on fish to 12kg, with JB micro dingos and Bluewater classics the standouts. Colour variations between lumo, pilchard, bright pink and almost all others in between all did the job.


Customer Rocky came past the shop to grab some last minute lures suggestions and terminal gear before hitting the fish off Portland. Rocky and mates got stuck into the school fish with most weighing around 12 - 15kg. Trolling small skirts in the 4 - 6 inch range has been been the most productive, with a mix of dark and light colours going well. Rapala's new XRAP Extreme also caught fish as it can run truer at a more 'enticing' speed for the tuna.

 

 


The bluefin tuna have been thick around Portland and Port Fairy over the past few weeks, but the weather has been too inconsistent for anglers to be out chasing them. The fish have been found from 25m out to right across the shelf and everywhere in between. While the majority of the school fish have been the smaller 7 - 18kg fish there have been some 20kg+ schoolies hanging about. Customer Jack got down to Portland during a calm spell and got out and amongst them. Jack found the fish on skirts in the 6 inch size, with pilchard colours doing the best.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been catching plenty of school fish for customers, out from Port Fairy and Portland. James has been catching fish on both hardbodies and also skirts, with no real standouts, just mixing the lures up in the spread to suit the bite and preference on the day. The area out towards the shelf has been the most productive, from around 150m and deeper.


Customers Damien and Benny fished Portland with the rest of the gang during last week's calm weather and found heaps of fish. Amongst the action there were multiple hook ups and mayhem, with the majority of fish taking small skirts in the 4 - 6 inch size range. Colour preferences were towards 'evil angel' or pilchard patterns, redbait colours and also lumos in both green and pink. While one 'barrel' was hooked and lost, the majority of the fish were around the 10kg mark, with the largest landed at 12.1kg. The area out towards the shelf was holding the most fish, but some patches being found from around 80m and deeper.

 

While the run of 'barrels' has slowed off compared to weeks ago, the bluefin action continues along the west coast. There have been fishing found as close as Barwon Heads and Torquay but most of the action is happening down at Portland. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been catching plenty of school fish for customers out from Portland and Port Fairy. Most of the fish have been in the 5 - 13kg mark, with small weighed skirts doing most of the damage.


Customers Benny and Damien are down fishing Portland at present and report that the fish are spread out, from 60m through to the edge of the shelf. While the size of the fish is generally on the smaller side at the moment some of the boys have managed 5 way hook ups on schoolies around 7kg. A range of skirts and hard bodies have both been working, with Xrap 30's and JB dingos getting in on the action in most 'Portland' colours.