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.

 


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.


 


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.