The summer bluefin tuna fishing locally has been good for anglers fishing offshore, and now the autumn run has started up in numbers in the west of the state. While there have been patches of fish locally and just offshore from the bays, the fishing around Portland and Port Fairy has really started to heat up. With autumn conditions normally better than winter now is an excellent time to be out in search of the bluefin. The numbers of school fish have been excellent fishing out from Port Fairy and also Warnambool, and perfect to cast smaller stickbaits and popper at. Victorian EJ Todds Representive Mitch has been out catching fish to about 30kg on stickbaits in close from Port Fairy over the past few weeks.


There has also been an outstanding number of 'barrels' caught out from the same area. Fish have been found in water from 80 - 12m out to the west of Portland. Most of the fish have been in the 90 - 120kg range and have been taken on both skirts and also hardbodies. Customer Phil and mates landed a barrel from the area last week and also heard of a few more. Skirts in the lumo and black colour have been good, and hardbodies representing sauries and red bait have been good.

Customers Vince and Carlo fished out from Portland last week and managed their bag of bluefin and also a couple of dolphinfish. These fish came from the horseshoe region.

 

 


The offshore action continues around the state, with many anglers concentrating on bluefin tuna and kingfish. While the kingfish would be the harder of the two to keep on top, the numbers of tuna round have been very exciting for the next few months ahead. The West coast has been holding good numbers of tuna out from Portland all the way back to virtually Melbourne's doorstep.


Customer Tony fished out from Portland over the weekend in search of the tuna and found fish in the 20kg range. The fish were encountered from 20m depth out to around 60m of water, across to Julia Island. The most effective lures for the guys were small skirted lures in 'lumo' colour. Tony was fishing these smaller lures on lighter spin gear and lighter hooks, and he didn't lose any fish. Just remember to chose your hook correctly when changing between light and heavy tackle, or mono and braid.

Customer Jason also got into some bluefin action over the weekend, but with fish just outside of Port Phillip.heads. There have been schools of fish pushing their way up into the bay all the way north of Mud Island. With plenty of food available, there's no reason for them to not be there! Jason found casting stickbaits and poppers into the schools was most effective, with the schools giving themselves away only by the appearance of a 'shimmer' on the surface. Casting to these fish is more effective than trolling through them in many instances.


While the kingies are still about and playing hard ball customer Joel had just about had his arms removed from his body after a trip across the ditch to New Zealand. Joel fished hard for the monster kingfish that NZ in known for, and in 4 days stacked up nearly 60 fish - and all jigging! Needless to say Joel won't be performing many tasks with his arms for the next 6 months or so, but who'd be complaining!

 

With some calm weather during the week and over the weekend, there has been more offshore action for customers. Kingfish are still on the cards both in the rip and also around the main promontories and headlands. Bluefin tuna have been moving past with the odd fish caught from just offshore from the bays. Over in the west of the state the tuna and kingfish are still active from Portland back to Warnambool. Customer Jason fished out from Port Fairy over the weekend in search of tuna and kings, and while the kingfish were slow tuna to 20kg were landed. Casting poppers and stickbaits to small patches of rippled water was the method in catching the tuna as they weren't easy to see any other way.

Locally the kingfish have still been active, but not red hot. A bit of work is required when searching for these fish but when they are on they will have a crack at just about everything. Customer Patrick got into kingfish to 11kg out from Cape Schank over the weekend trolling livebaits. While may have been finding fish in tight to the reef structure, there have also been fish out wider on the contours and small patches of hard ground off the point.

The rip has produced some kingies during the week, with the average fish around 7kg. Customer Rhass fished aboard Reel Time Fishing Charters and landed fish around this size. Live squid have been the most effective way to tempt these fish, with jigs also landing some fish once the schools is aggravated. Religiously monitoring the baits and keeping them right amongst the fish is a constant jobs, but it will mean the difference between fish and no fish. Colour-marked braided lines make this task easier, as they will help in giving you a visual reference for when the bait nears the bottom or strike zone.


 


Some choice conditions over the past week or so have allowed for offshore stints for local anglers in search of kingfish, both offshore from the bays and also down the coast. The weekends weather condition were good enough to turn many anglers to offshore and the rewards were there to be had.

Customer Frank made a big run from the top end of Westernport out through the western entrance in search of kingfish. With numbers of boats in close Frank decided to look out a bit wider where he found some small schooling kingfish on the surface. Small stickbaits cast at the school resulted in hook ups, and so the technique went on. After finding a patch of nervous water out in 30m the stickbaits were on again but this time with some school sized bluefin tuna. Frank said that there were good numbers of fish about, but that they were full of very small baitfish. His 90mm stickbaits were perfect size for these fish to hunt.


The rip has been producing kingies for anglers doing the hard work but has also been somewhat patchy this season. During the week Reel Time Fishing Charters had a blinder of a session in the rip with around 20 good size kingfish landed by customers. Customer Damien has been working aboard the boat and reports that the fish have been taking live slimies and squid and also jigs between 150 - 200g. Jig colour hasn't mattered, more of correct rigging and technique to get the fish to bite.


Around the rocky shorelines and islands of Bass Strait the kingfish have been solid. The smaller fish have been prolific in numbers but moving until bigger fish are found has been the go. Customer Jason has been out chasing these fish around Welshpool and finding fish to around 15kg. Jason has been catching fish predominately on subsurface stickbaits, with some impossible to tempt falling to live slimy mackerel around the submerged reef points and swell zones.

 


While the weather this week hasn't been conducive to fishing the bay let alone offshore, there still has been some action outside. If bluewater is your thing, kingfish, tuna and sharks have been the reward. Outside the bays the kingies have been hanging around the main promontories and points - with Cape Schank, Seal Rock and Pyramid rock all good starting points to name a few. Out wider from these areas there have been makos to 100kg or so. Customers Anthony and Mark fished out from Cape Schank last week where they scored a nice little mako of around 30kg. The amount of bait offshore at present is half the reason these predators are about.


Other bluewater predators that have been lurking both locally and out of town have been good sized bluefin tuna. There have been patches of tuna out from the bays but they have been flighty and fussy in what they will eat. Along the west coast they have been in a similar mood, but in better numbers. Customer Edly got down to Portland recently to try and catch one of these large school fish. Edly caught fish to around 30kg trolling small skirts, and that has been the main key - SMALL lures. These fish have been gorging themselves on small whitebait and anchovies, and quickly show shy away from large offerings, unless you find a patch of fish on the prowl.

 


The west coast of the state is fishing well for a multitude of species at present, with the offshore scene really on fire. The Port Fairy and Portland region has been red hot for kingfish and tuna with loads of bait around. There have also been some big sharks lurking out wider for the anglers chasing them. Customer Tony popped in to the store to pick up some supplies and lure variety before hitting the North shore, and Tony and mate had a ball on the kingfish. While most of the fish have been 'rats' the guys did hook up to larger fish in the 10kg range that blitzed them on the shallow reef. Tony found squid strips and white 'Bungy Baits' in the 5 inch model the most productive of the lot.


The bluefin tuna have been found by anglers fishing for the kingfish in as shallow as 10m of water. While the tuna have been caught amongst the kingfish there have been better numbers of fish out to around 50m of water. These fish can be very fussy however and many are seen simply 'cruising' or sunning themselves. With the abundance of small baitfish, small lures are the go. The odd fish will take a normal 5 - 6 inch lure, but a lot of the summer food are small whitebait so lures as small as 2 inches have been catching fish. Customer Aaron fished out from Portland over the weekend to land some thumper bluefin to around 30kg. Aaron found trolling smaller skirts was the best method of hooking these fish.


Customer Bruno was down at Portland recently and found himself a nice little mako shark. With the amount of food about, the sharks have been active - with bronzies, schoolies, threshers and makos all making an appearance. There has been plenty of larger bait out wider with slimies and salmon providing good fresh shark baits. A bit further back towards Melbourne customer Anel spent the weekend catching heaps of salmon from the beaches and rocks. Anel found some lovely salmon to 1.5kg hanging around the deeper gutters back towards the Great Ocean Road.

 


The bluewater and offshore action has been good around Bass Strait locally and a bit further afield, with tuna and kingfish the main targets. The water temperature has risen over the past few weeks, and also the water hasn't been the 'cobalt blue' that many anglers prefer there have still been fish around in it. The West coast down around Portland has been been producing loads of 'rat' kingfish along the north shore reef and also out to the island, with some nice bluefin tuna mixed in as well. Customer Edly was down at Portland recently and managed a nice chunky tuna of around 25kg.


While there have been plenty of fish about, the warmer months bring lots of baitfish so they aren't a shoe-in. Small bluebait-like imitations have been the best, as this best represents the current food. Poppers and stickbaits up to 140mm have been the go on the kingfish, with the tuna responding even better to smaller offerings. There are a few small but heavy zinc stickbaits in store that have been deadly when cast to cruising fish.


Back around the bays the kingfish have made their presence felt lately, with most of the main rocky promontories and points holding fish, along with areas such as the rip. Around the entrance to Westernport some of the smaller fish have been so thick that they have been hitting smaller flasher rigs sent down for catching slimies and yakkas. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has caught a few smaller fish on the 'sabiki' rigs of late, with some larger fish to 85cm taking the live slimies. Customer Jason fished the rip during the week in search of a kingfish and managed fish to around 6kg. Tandem hook rigs with small live squid were the most effective when fished on a modified 'Westernport' rig.


While there has been kingfish caught offshore around areas like Cape Schank, out a bit wider some anglers have reports of bluefin tuna. Customers Justin and Mick ventured out on Monday to see what was happening, with some rat kingies caught in close on squid. Out a bit further the boys managed a solid tuna of around 20kg. Small lures have been the go at present, with clear water and small food making the fish harder to trick than winter models.

 


Bluefin Tuna season has well and truly hit the states' west with good numbers of fish hitting the cleaning tables from from Apollo Bay right through to Portland. Rumors of fish a lot closer to home have surfaced as well, with reports sketchy and evidence even sketchier - but worth a look locally by the sounds of things.


Down along the west coast, James from Unreel Fishing Charters has seen good numbers of school fish to around the 15kg mark around both Portland and Port Fairy. James has been finding plenty of fish between 40m and 120m, with fish right out towards the shelf in 400m+. Hot lures at the moment have been smaller skirts from 4 inches through to 6 inches, with weighted and jet head styles holding a very consistent catch rate. Skirt colours in pink/yellow/brown and also lumo/mackerel have been real standouts with natural blues and blacks not far behind.


Out in the same area customer Mark has been catching school tuna to around 10kg on a few different methods. Trolling small skirts in squid patterns has been an easy method of hooking up but Mark has also been catching fish casting and trolling stickbaits. Mark has found the Megabass stickbaits dynamite on the fish, with their awesome castability really getting out to the fish without getting too close to them.

 

 

 

While the weather hasn't really been all that flash around Melbourne and the West coast, the tuna fishing has been fairly consistent when anglers are able to find a break in the weather. With some better patches of weather coming through over the next week conditions look like they might let anglers get out and into the fish again!


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been down along the West coast over the week and has been catching tuna up to around 15kg with customers. James has been reporting numbers of fish from as shallow as 50m with the 60-100m contour holding good sized schools. Out wider just inside of the shelf numbers of fish are patchy but there. James has found small skirts in either bullet or jet head styles have been the most productive lures, with lumo/mackerel colours along with brown/pink squid and also white. Running a mixture of these along with natural blacks and purples will cover most bite scenarios should you encounter them. 

 

 

 


With the excellent weather over the weekend there were a few anglers out making the most of the calm weather in search of bluefin tuna along the west coast. Angler have been out from Apollo Bay, Port Fairy and Portland and all locations have been producing fish. While there have been fish caught out along the edge of the shelf and areas like the 'horseshoe' there have also been plenty of fish in much closer. The depth lines from around 50m out to around 150m have been holding a lot of school fish, with the shallower areas always a good chance for a 'barrel'.


James Rogers from Unreel Fishing Charters has been out from Portland having fun on school tuna with customers. James has been finding plenty of fish in the 10 - 15kg size range which are fun on the lighter gear. James has been catching a lot of fish on skirts lately, with 6 inch sized lures a good starting point. Lumo has been an excellent colour choice along with pinks, browns and reds, while back along the Apollo bay/big reef area blues, silvers and reds have been good.


Customers Damien and crew all fished out from Portland over the weekend during their annual tuna trip, and even though the seas were almost too calm plenty of fish were caught. The fish were fairly good in numbers, from around 60m right out to the shelf, and were all over small jet head style skirts in the 5 inch size range. The guys had a friendly competition with Jason the lucky winner of a brand new Shimano Stella. Jason would obviously be grinning if he knew his tuna was going to win himself a new reel!