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.  

 

 

The tuna season down along the west coast has wound to a close for most anglers and many have turned their attention to the run of larger bluefin tuna off the southern coast of NSW. While the 30 - 70kg average size of these fish is much larger, the fish are also a lot further out. Some anglers are venturing up to 80km offshore to tangle with these fish. Trolling skirts and hardbodies has been an effective method of locating a patch of fish - then starting a pilchard cube berley trail has been the best way to keep them hanging around.

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has still been giving the west coat a run and he has been catching plenty of tuna with customers, without too much of the crowds. James has found lots of school fish to 15kg fish moving around the 40 - 50m line out from Portland, Port Fairy and Warnambool. Hardbodied lures have been working better for James recently, with Rapala XRAP 20's doing well and the new Samaki Pacemakers also doing a very good job. Natural colours like pilchard, saury and redbait patterns have been much more effective than brighter colours in the shallower water also.

 

 

Tuna reports from western Victoria have been a bit wish-washy over the past few weeks, mainly due to on and off again weather. When the conditions have been good, there have still been school fish caught right through from Port Fairy to west of Bridgewater. Most of the fish caught have still been around the 10kg mark, with the odd bigger fish towards 20kg. 

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been doing trips on the tuna in both Portland and Port Fairy recently, with some long days required to keep customers catching fish but in the end everyone was happy. Ever reliable XRAP30's and Halco Laser Pro 160's have been doing well for James along with smaller skirts in the 5" size. James has noticed a lot of people finding fish but not catching them as they are running lures that are too large at the moment. A lot of fish have been feeding on whitebait and pilchards so the smaller profile lures are doing the trick.

Many customers are still picking up fish on small skirts, like this school fish caught on a 4" purple skirt . If the tuna have been picky towards your offerings though then these new lures might solve the puzzle. These new 'Pacemakers' from Samaki are the ultimate offering to fool fussy tuna. Pictured here in the pilchard colour in both 140DD and 180DD compared with the real deal. Pretty hard to spot the difference! Available in store now in a variety of colours.

 

 

The run of tuna along the West coast has been good over the last couple of weeks, the main dilemma has been getting a break in the weather to get out and chase them. In saying that, clear skies and light seas have made for some frustrating fishing with plenty of fish in fairly close and working through bait schools near the surface. In this scenario many anglers are spooking the schools by trolling too close, and with 'standard' tuna sized skirts in the 6 - 8" size many of these fish will refuse to bite. Most of these schools have been feeding on small bait such as whitebait, frogmouth and the occasional small saury or pilchard. In this scenario an engine-off drift with the wind, casting smaller lures like stickbaits, plastics and even jigs to the school can produce results. Sinking stickbaits are a good choice as they can be cast well and worked aggressively across the surface, and if no bites have come they will sink with a seductive flutter through the school and get the bite.


Keep stickbaits and jigs small for finicky surface - feeding tuna, 70 - 130mm is the best size range.

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has spent a few weeks down around Portland and Port Fairy catching tuna with customers, with loads of school sized fish to be caught. James has been finding natural coloured hardbodies and skirts have been more consistent of late, and after a lure top up at the store James was off catching fish again.

Customer Ben fished out from Port Fairy recently with some mates, where they caught some nice bluefin to around 18kg. The better performing lures in the spread were XRAP30's in the 'dorado' colour, with depths around 60m holding good numbers of fish. Customer Mick also fished for the tuna aboard a charter recently to land some school fish in the 10kg size range. Trolled skirts and hardbodies in dark silhouettes were the best on the day.

 

 

The tuna are still firing out in the states' west, from Warnambool through to Port Mac in South Australia. Most of the fish caught are out wide towards the shelf, but there are still plenty of patches of fish in a lot closer than that. Customers Damo and Christian fished out of Port Mac over the weekend to get their bag of tuna on a mixture of skirts and hardbodies.

Customer Edly also fished out on the tuna, out wide from Portland. Edly fished with a boat load of mates and he said that most of the lures used caught fish. Standouts were skirts in the 'Lumo' colour, and some darker UV coloured Xrap 30's.

 

 

Tuna reports from the state's west are steadily filing through when the weather allows anglers to get out amongst them. While the weather recently hasn't too great for most anglers, there have still been people getting into a few nice fish. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been getting a few nice school fish out towards Warnambool over the last couple of weeks, with his trusty 'dorado' Xrap 30 doing some damage along with 6" skirts. Customer Alex also got out on the tuna last week, Alex fished out wide from Portland to land a couple of fish in the 15kg range. Alex said that dark purple and black colour schemes were the most effective. 

 

 

Reports of southern bluefin tuna coming from the west of the state have slowly started picking up. Reports have been coming from Port Mac, Portland and Port Fairy - with the majority of anglers focusing around Port Mac and Portland. While fish have been caught out around the 'shelf' there have also been lots of patches of fish in much closer, with some only 10km offshore. Customer Warren fished out from Portland on charter recently and found that the tuna on this day were eating everything from hardbodies to skirts. Customer Danny fished out from Port Mac recently and has seen consistent action on the tuna with fish to 30kg coming aboard. Danny has been doing well with Xrap 30's in colour LUU UV and also in Richter skirts in the Lumo/93 colour combo.

Customer Frank reports that tuna schools were seen around 8km out from Portland, but as with most of these big school the fish were feeding on whitebait and almost impossible to catch by trolling methods. Casting 'salmon sized' lures at these fish is a much more effective method, with small micro jigs and plastics in the 4" size being the standout. 'Matching the hatch' is very important when targeting these tuna while the feed on whitebait. Customers Ryan, Karl and Paul fished out from Portland just recently to land some nice sized school fish in only 20m of water. Richter skirts in dark colours worked the best on these fish.