For all the anglers starting to think Southern bluefin tuna, the fish have not long turned up at Portland. While the fish are being caught, it's not a walk in the park for most anglers. Most of the bluefin are being caught fairly wide of Portland itself; with the 400 - 500m depth area inside the edge of the shelf and the outside of the 'horseshoe' producing the fish. For the novice tuna fisherman these areas are a long run out. A few school fish have been caught in closer around the 150m depth but generally most are out wide at the moment. Amongst the bluefin there have also been some nice albacore caught as well which is typical for early in the season. 

Customer Heipp fished out from Portland over the weekend where the fishing was a bit tough, but he still managed to land the one bluefin at around 20kg. Heipp lost two more fish out around the horseshoe area, with 8 inch skirts in blues and pinks getting the hits. 

James fro Unreel Fishing Charters has also been fishing around the Portland and Port Fairy area and while he hasn't had the weather to get right out wide for the tuna, he has been getting some decent sharks for his customers. James has caught mako and blue sharks out in the 300m area, with some decent sharks over 100kg hanging around. Most of the sharks landed have been in the 40 - 70kg size which have given his customers some real excitement.  

 

 

The offshore scene at the minute has been good, with anglers targeting kingfish and sharks. Although some anglers are struggling to find a mako, the area between Cape Schank and Kilcunda has been producing over the last week; with some of the larger fish weighing over 100kg. 

Customer Haldun came in to the store and after some advice on gear selection he was stocked up and on his way. His first session outside was a good way to start, with an estimated 100kg mako coming aboard. Haldun fished with his family out from Kilcunda in around 50m of water. Using a Shimano Tiagra and Nitro Tuna Winch combo along with a newly purchased Hookem flying gaff, the big fish was subdued. Successful bait was a half striped tuna. 

On the kingfish front, there have been fish caught in roughly the same area as where most of the makos have come from; Cape Schank, Seal Rock and Cape Woolamai. Most anglers connecting to the kingies are still doing so trolling lures or live yakkas and slimies. 



 

With some reasonable weather and not as much wind as we're used to, a few anglers have headed offshore in search of some monsters of the deep. The mako fishing has been sporadic, with some anglers raising or hooking one most sessions, while others go sharkless. Having your own patch of water and a consistent berley trail has helped anglers draw a shark to their baits. The areas from 55m out have been the most consistent for the makos - with blue water and good patches of bait.

Customer Tim is pretty keen on connecting with a few toothies, and his latest shark was a solid beast. Tim landed this nice Bronze Whaler of around 130kg while fishing just offshore from Phillip Island recently. The big bronzie took a bait of striped tuna on a TLD 50 outfit out in 70m blue water.

Customers Zach and Vito also landed their personal best mako shark just recently ,while fishing out wide from Cape Woolamai. The boys were fishing in 60m of water when the big shark took a bait of bonito. After 15 minutes or so the big shark was boatside and ready to be despatched although at around 9 feet long and 110kg, keeping a mako the size of this quiet is no easy task!

 

While the Southern Bluefin Tuna are running hot out from Portland there are plenty of other fish to catch.  With all the baitfish and school Tuna about, there are sure to be some bigger 'toothies' to catch in the way of Sharks like Makos.  Young gun Jacob managed to wrangle a lovely Mako of around 50kg on spin gear while trolling for Tuna around the shelf at Portland.  While this fish took a trolled Black Magic SBT skirt, fishing live and dead baits is a good way to catch yourself a Mako while they feed on the prolific Tuna.  There have been many reports of Makos following hooked Tuna up towards the boat and even some Tuna coming back with bite marks taken out of them.

 

On the Tuna front, customer Don recently came back from a trip to Portland and reports that the 100m area off the back of Lawrence Rock was good for fish up to 22kg, with Xrap 30's in S and RH working very well.

 

When the conditions are allowing, anglers are venturing out offshore from Westernport chasing the Sharks.  February is typically a good month for sharking, as water temperatures are just about perfect, and there are normally large amounts of bait schools around. 

Many customers are reporting acres of Salmon, Yakkas and Slimeys, which are all top class baits for many fish, including Sharks.  Lots of bait schools are moving about near Stony Point, Tortoise Head and Cowes, along with West Head off Flinders and throughout both entrances. 

Good customer Joe and his mates have been hitting these bait schools early on and then fishing some of their deep marks through Western entrance, to catch some quality Gummies.  In this deep, tidal water these big Gummies go like rockets, slugging it out against the current; fishing slightly heavier than normal to compensate for larger sinkers is a good option.

If Sharks with teeth are your interest, then offshore is where you should be.  Plenty of Makos averaging 25-50kg are around, but there are also more large Sharks around than average.  Makos estimated at up to 180kg have been hooked and lost next to the boat by anglers targeting smaller, table-sized Sharks.  Earlier this week, we received some photos of a large Bronze Whaler caught by customers out fishing for Makos.  The beast was hooked up on a live Slimey, and slugged it out for over 4 hours on 15kg tackle.  Eventually beaten and boated, the huge Bronzie was estimated at over 120kg and 7 feet long, and caught out along the 70m line behind Phillip Island.