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!

 


The tuna reports from the west coast are starting to make the headlines, and should improve over the weekend with slight northerlies forecast for Portland. Reports from Portland have been good, with the odd one coming from Port Fairy also. Most anglers seem to be fishing west of Portland towards Bridgewater, and depths anywhere from 55 - 70m through to 200m being the talk. A good number of fish have been caught shallower through the 60m line so that is good news for everyone not in an 8m boat.

Customer Tony fished Portland last weekend to land his first bluefin on some tackle and outfits purchased just recently. Tony was fishing threadline gear and with fish in the 10kg range this gear makes for more fun and is less tiring to fight fish on.


The most productive lure for the day was a Richter 'soft grassy' in lumo. Lumos are definitely worth packing at the moment, with a good number of fish falling to this bright colour pattern. Other recommended colours have been squid (dark red/orange/brown) and couta (black/silver/purple). Like always a spread of different options is the best way to approach these fish.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been fishing out of Portland with customers. James has managed a couple of slightly larger fish amongst the school fish, however most have been in the 8 - 14kg range.


Hot colour patterns for James lately have also been lumo and squid, with small 5 inch jet heads performing when things are a bit quiet. The jet heads can be run a long way back in shotgun position and also hold in the water much better when there is more swell and chop, and track nice and straight so that the fish can line them up easier.

 


Tuna reports have been a been quiet, but mainly due to the fact that there haven't been many anglers out in search of them yet, even though there have been fishing hanging around parts of the west coast for a few months now. Most reports have been coming from the west of Portland, just beyond Cape Bridgewater. Fish size has been varied from under 10kg right through to 30kg+ school fish, and a few 'barrels' about also. Many anglers have been reporting large numbers of squid and small redbait, so lures in the 6 inch size have been perfect. Colours with a mixture of pink/red/brown through them seem to be getting the attention of the fish.

Customers Thao and Damien fished west of Portland on Tuesday where they managed a nice fish just shy of 20kg on the troll. The successful lure was a small 'jet head' style skirt in a redbait/pilchard pattern.


Customer Warren fished with some other clients aboard 'Red Hot Fishing Charters' with Simon Rinaldi recently where there were no shortage of fish caught. Plenty of school fish to 10kg were active from just beyond Lawrence Rock, with multiple hook ups a common occurrence once a school was found.

 


There has been plenty of talk of bluefin tuna over the last week or so, which is good as most anglers only assume tuna season is May-June. Yes they are certainly about during late autumn and winter, but some of the best tuna fishing can be had right now no matter where you're fishing for them. While many anglers may find the thoughts of finding tuna locally quite daunting, there are normally fish around within reach of offshore anglers during the summer months. These fish can be very flighty however, and trolling straight through bait schools with big lures very rarely cuts it. A lot of these fish are feeding on schools of small whitebait and pilchards or similar sized prey, so scaling down your gear and lure choices is the way to go.


James Roger from Unreel Fishing Charters has spent some time last week down fishing around Portland where he has caught some nice bluefin tuna with his sons. The tuna have been around in small numbers along the west coast, with the inshore reefs and contours holding fish.

A fair bit closer to home the tuna have been making their presence felt, with a ripper bluefin caught by James' son Dylan amongst some nice kingies just earlier this week. This nice fish was caught on a small pilchard patterned stickbait on a 3000 sized stradic reel, and took nearly 2hrs to land! The best part was this fish was caught just out from Flinders, where a few fish have been hooked - even by locals fishing from the pier.

 

 

The late run of southern bluefin tuna along the Vic west coast has been good, the only real issue has been getting a break in the weather. For many trailerboat fisherman who have managed to sneak a good weather day in here and there, the fishing has been good. Good numbers of bluefin have been found from Portland back to Warnambool, with fish spread out right out to the shelf. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been putting customers on to fish from depths as shallow as 30m out from Port Fairy. James has said that while there has been a bit of work locating the fish they have been in big schools once they have been found, and James has been getting hook ups of up to 8 fish at a shot off these schools.


Smaller lures have been the way to go on these fish lately, with skirts in the 4 - 6" size being the most effective, especially in brighter colours such a pinks and greens. Further afield there have still been a few bluefin pushing along the southern NSW coast. Customer Aaron fished wide out from Bermagui just recently to land this nice fish of 55kg.

 


While the bluefin tuna have been hanging around the West coast for some time now, anglers are starting to get amongst them out from Portland and Port Fairy as we head into traditional tuna season. There have been good numbers of bluefin and also albacore, with the tuna ranging in size from 10 - 25kg, and most of the albacore around 5kg at the moment, with some larger fish scattered throughout. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been catching good numbers of both, and finding mixed schools a bit closer in than many anglers. 


James has been finding that the smaller lures have been the most productive on both the tuna and albacore lately, with 5 - 6 inch skirts in squid patterns and black/purples the go to. Customers Aaron and Jamie also got out on the big blue from ortland recently where they got into both SBT and albacore, with most of the fish concentrated around the Horseshoe section of the shelf. Both hardbodies and skirts in traditional dark 'Portland' colours along with redbait imitations were the best, and they did notice that closer in around the 70m line there were good number of bluefin willing to eat a lure.

 

You'd have to be keeping your head in the sand if you haven't heard any talk of kingfish around Melbourne and the rest of the state at the moment! Summer time equals kingfish, and with water temperatures at about their peak these fish have been active. While they can still be hit and miss like every other form of fishing, there are plenty of these hard fighting blue water brutes about at the moment.


There has been kingfish action all round the state, but reports from around Portland and also the 'rip' have been quite solid. Portland has been the pick if you're able to cover a few kilometres, as fish numbers are good at the moment, with fish being caught as close as the Lee breakwater and most methods are doing well on them. Customer Daniel fished the Portland area last week to land fish to about 8kg on lures. Smaller 130mm hardbodied trolling lures and surface poppers were the standout for him.

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been catching a few kingfish down around Portland also. James has been finding quality kingfish on 'sluggo' or 'slapstix' style plastics in white and also clear, along with smaller stickbaits in the 80 - 130mm size range. These work exceptionally well when the fish are high in the water column. When the fish are sitting down 15 - 20m+ this is the time for jigs or livebaits.


Customers Ben and Aaron fished out from Westernport around some of the offshore marks recently to land some nice kingies. Fish to 14kg were landed on a mixture of stickbaits and live baits. The wash zone and secondary points and drop offs were where the fish were active. Slimey mackerel were the best choice of live baits, and the Shimano Ocea stickbaits were dynamite when cast to midwater holding fish.

 

 


 


Just as most anglers were thinking that the West coast tuna season was slowing up, and being a bit average this year - the run of 'barrels' came through. While that particular patch of fish has also slowed up a bit, there have still been fish moving through from Port Mac to Apollo Bay. Virtually every one of these fish have been above 70kg in weight, with fish in the 95 - 120kg range probably about average. Most of these large fish have been roaming between the 30 -50m depth zone with a few caught either side of this as well. With the larger fish, the bigger lures have been much more effective. The preferred size has been between 10 and 12 inches, which are basically medium sized marlin skirts. Popular skirt colours lately have been lumo, frigate and pink/squid patterns.

Customer Michael sent us a photo from a friend who was fishing out of Portland where these 2 chunky tuna were caught, we aren't sure on any more details but they are both crackers. Customer Steve also fished out from Portland recently to land this 70kg bluefin. Steve found this nice tuna along the 50m line and it took a 10 inch Pakula skirt.