The run of tuna local to Melbourne has continued and is gaining more and more momentum each day. With huge schools of fish to 40kg just offshore from the bays and along the coast many are taking advantage and getting amongst them when conditions allow. The schools have been isolated and as widespread as Cape Woolamai across to Portland and further west, with good numbers of fish hanging about between Cape Schank and Torquay. Vic EJ Todds Representative Mitch has been landed some sizable fish out from Barwon on stickbaits and poppers. While many anglers have been trolling lures, with increased boat traffic and pressure the fish are liable to spook - and this is where cast lures can have their advantages. Don't forget to pack popppers, stickbaits and various soft plastics!


Customer Josh came into the store after an outfit to tackle the tuna with and let us set something up for him. After gearing up Josh and some mates headed out and gave the fish a crack. The boys found the tuna just outside of the heads in quite shallow water heading towards Barwon bluff and landed a few on different hardbodies and also small skirts. Needless to say Josh is hooked will probably be doing more of it asap.


There have been plenty of anglers scoring catches of nice bluefin. The Melbourne Tuna Crumbs have been amongst the fish over the past weeks, with to just shy of 40kg coming aboard. Some of the original crumbs Michael and Pino have had fun on the fish from just outside the heads across to Angelsea. Various tactics have been working with deep running hardbodies and bibless minnows in short doing a good job at bringing the fish in. When the fish have been shy small skirts as minute as 3'' have been getting the bites, especially when fished a long way back.


The boys from Bucci Cabinets have been serving up fresh tuna with good numbers of fish in the 15 - 20kg size range being caught. The fish have again been caught along the surf coast, with the Barwon - Torquay area holding good schools. Working the 20 - 35m depth areas have been where most of the boys have been finding the numbers. Skirted lures have been the favoured method, with 5'' being about the most productive size. Some skirts as large as 10'' have been catching fish - and a good option to put in the spread as a teaser to entice the school to come up. Even if you have any huge marlin sized skirts, running them or a large popper or daisy chain of large soft plastics as an attractor has been well worth the effort.

 


Many anglers have been aware of the tuna activity along the west of the coast, and have been making the most of these fish again this week. There have been fish stretched from Portland and further west right across to offshore from Westernport and Inverloch. There have been fish inside both bays but they have been flighty and hard to come across, but they have been there to be caught.


Customer Billy has been catching some nice bluefin just offshore from the heads on small skirts. He has also landed a couple of fish in the 20kg range from inside the bay, with both skirts and deep diving hardbodies working well. The fish inside the bay have been moving about a lot, but the 'rip' section has been where the fish have been pushing through mowing down schools of pilchards. Customer Jason has also been landing fish offshore from the heads and further down towards Phillip Island. Jason has been landing fish on small 5'' skirts, and a few fish on surface poppers cast around the schools.

Customers Izzy and Bruno have been getting into the tuna also. Izzy fished out from Torquay during the week and found fish to 25kg. Skirts in the 5'' size range were the most effective on the fish, with the fish being attracted up to the surface from the commotion of deep running hardbodied lures. While the fish around Torquay and Barwon have been good there have also been some nice fish coming from Portland and Port Fairy. The fish have been cruising inshore in water depths of 15 - 50m and have been responding to the same methods - with stickbaiting and popping also very productive.


Among the tuna out west there have been schools of rat kingfish hanging about. The inshore reef around Portland has been the best holding ground for the numbers of these fish, with Izzy and Bruno catching some while down at Portland. Stickbaits and small surface poppers have been effective when the fish are on, but baits of slimey and calamari have also been deadly when the lures haven't gotten the interest of the fish. The fish have ranged in size from just legal to around 18kg, with some much larger fish harassing the smaller rats.


While not normally known for it's kingfish, the Gippsland lakes has been experiencing a run of school sized fish moving about the system. The fish have been moving from as far up as Paynesville right the way down to Lakes Entrance itself. Customer Kevin has found himself holding a knife while in a gunfight while fishing out of his canoe. Kevin has been fishing the north arm around Lakes Entrance and has been landing kingies to around 80cm. Small plastics that imitate the abundant prawns have been easy for the fish to eat and getting most of the bites.

 


Tuna fishing for many means heading down the west coast during the middle of Winter, with big seas and cold winds all making for part of the effort. We have been getting noticeably better runs of Summer tuna along the west coast over the last few years, with more anglers now aware of their movements and preparing themselves to tangle with them. Over the past few weeks the tuna reports have created a stir - with this week's weather and numbers of fish making them too hard to pass up for many. The best part is that there have been fish caught from Portland to Inverloch.

Customer Mark and mates Lee and Cip headed offshore from Sorrento towards Anglesea during the week and found good numbers of fish in the shallows. Running a spread of lures with Xraps, skirts and stickbaits in the mix meant most options were covered and the fish were happy to eat. The boys had their bag of fish before 10am and were on their way back in.


Customers Christian, Thao and Damien also fished a similar patch of water mid week. Again launching from Sorrento and venturing west towards Torquay the fish were quickly found and the lures were off. Again skirts and hardbodies were both successful, with not much in the way of small baitfish in the area. Lures in the 6-8'' size were most effective. The line to be looking along was 25-40m.


Customer Rick fished out from Barwon during the week and took young Dalton out to get him amongst the tuna. Rick and Dalton found fish working from Barwon across to Anglesea and found that skirts in the 6'' size range worked best. The fish were found in water as shallow as 15m out to 30m or so, and weighed up around the 30kg mark.

 


The wild west coast is producing it's Summer time inshore speedsters with tuna and kingfish on the cards. The best part about this form of fishing at this time of year is that the fish aren't out as far as normal Winter fishing. Targeting the bluefin tuna this time of year revolves highly around casting to surface feeding schools of fish that are hunting whitebait and anchovy. The kingfish can be found operating in the same method, but generally sticking to the inshore reef that runs from Portland harbour along the coast past Narrawong is your best best of locating them.

Vic Representative from EJ Todds was down on the tuna last week and found schools of fish will to eat stickbaits worked at high speeds. Mitch found a Molix stickbait in 120mm the most productive on the fish.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been down along the west coast fishing with his sons. James and the boys have been finding kingfish in close, and ending up sidetracked by the tuna schools. The boys had some good fishing just recently on bluefin to around the 25kg mark in close. Sticking under the 50m line and vigorously keeping an eye out for any bait schools and surface fish in the best method of locating them. Make sure you have a variety of stickbaits and casting lures also, as these fish can become picky when switched on to particular prey items. Lures from 75 - 150mm are needed, with the sweet spot seeming to be around the 115mm size. Cubing with pilchards in the deeper water is also a good way of connecting with a few solid Summer speedsters.

 


The fishing in Westernport and it's offshore surrounds has been where many anglers are concentrating their efforts at the moment, with plenty of good fishing for bread and butter species like the humble gummy. If you can get offshore or towards the port's entrances the fish have been larger, with gummies under the 12kg mark usually uncommon. There have been some solid school shark floating about also, as customer Steve reports. Steve caught a nice schoolie recently while anchored up just outside the eastern entrance of the port. Fresh chunks of salmon and slimey were the most effective baits for him.


If you're after a table sized shark the port has been holding loads of gummies from small pups through to around 10kg. The top of the port around it's many feeder channels along with the Corinella mudflats has been producing many of these smaller sharks. Staff member Dylan fished some of the shallow mudflats recently in search of some table flake and in a short few hour session 4 were landed up to around 7kg. The last 90 minutes of the run in produced the results, with the fish coming from a small channel ledge in 2m of water. Banana prawn was the most effective bait when fished on the edge of the flats.


The rest of the port and especially the region pushing towards the waters of Bass Strait has been worth fishing for larger gummies. Amongst the large females a few smaller sharks normally make their presence felt. Customers Vito and Simon have both done well on lovely eating size gummies over the past weeks. Baits of fresh squid, trevally and wrasse have gotten the job done when pinned as hangbaits on single oversized circle hooks. The last bit of the run out tide or fish hour of the flood has been the best time to snare one of these fish pushing in.

 


If you're looking for a good quality gummy shark for the table and the weather plays ball - head offshore from the bays. The offshore gummy fishing has been excellent all winter and continues on, with the wind and swell the only real factors to consider. Heading out from either entrance in Westernport or from The Rip there is acres and acres of quality shark ground to drift or anchor near. If you're heading out from the eastern entrance like customer Steve did, you can head halfway towards Cape Paterson on the right conditions, and catch your bait and gummies out there. Steve fished a bit closer in around Cape Woolamai just recently, where he a couple of gummies to 12kg on baits of freshly caught wrasse and red mullet. Steve managed the fish in about 35m of water.


Out from the western entrance customers Benny and Damien have also been getting into the gummies. The boys fished out from the Seal Rock area in 40m of water and landed 3 nice fish between them. All 3 of the fish were around the 10kg mark and took baits of wrasse and pike caught from the area. There have also been a few snapper floating around these same reef areas as they make their migration into the bays.

 


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.

 


During bouts of calm weather the offshore gummy fishing has been excellent. The bays have been producing good numbers of gummies for anglers but the offshore fish have been of better quality. Customer Dave and mate Gawaine fished out from Phillip Island recently in slick conditions to land some nice gummy and school sharks. The average fish ofshore at the moment has been around 15kg, with much larger fish to 25kg or so frequently encountered. Dave and Gawaine plotted a small section of reef and after working out the layout they anchored up and started collecting bait. Fresh chunks and fillets of parrotfish and wrasse along with pike did the job on both the gummies and school sharks, so make sure you are adept at catching fish like these fish fresh bait if you venture offshore.


If landbased fishing is easier for you, then gummy fishing can be good. There have been plenty of land based options for these sharks around Westernport in particular. Customer Brendan has been landing gummies table sized gummies to around 7kg from the shore along the eastern side of the port at locations such as Corinella, Tenby Point, Lang Lang and Grantville. The region from Lang Lang through to Reef Island is good for targeting gummies as there are plenty of mudflats for the fish to patrol during the night, and they can be routinely caught if you pay attention to your tides. Brendan has been landing gummies on a variety of baits, with pilchard, pike, trevally and mantis shrimp all working well after dark.

 


There have been some winter pinkies and school snapper about in the bay for anglers to catch. While many don't fish for them in winter, it can be the best time to chase them, especially with calm sunny conditions. If you're landbased there have good numbers of fish hanging around in the northern region of the bay, with Port Melbourne and Williamstown holding some solid fish. Customer Ryan has been fishing the top end of the bay from the piers and has been catching fish to around 1.5kg. Ryan has done a couple of bait sessions at night but has found the afternoons have been fishing well with plastics. Small minnow and worm pattern plastics in 3 - 4inch have been the standouts, and even deadlier smeared in gel scent if the bite is slow.


The pinkies hanging around the inshore reefs have been touch and go, with a bit of sounding required to locate a patch of fish. When found however the fish have been pretty aggressive towards baits and lures especially late in the day. Customer Bashir and his wife Alexandra have been catching some nice table sized pinkies around Black Rock. Late afternoon has been the most productive time to fish for them, with cut pilchard being the best bait.

Further down in the southern end of the bay customer Petar landed a lovely winter fish of around 2.5kg during the week. Petar has been chasing the gummies around the south channel and surrounding channels, but was pleasantly suprised when he landed a nice red. Fishing baits of freshly caught squid and yakka has been the go for him, and with good quality baits you do have a good shot at catching these fish if they are around.


With some calm winter weather mixed in the offshore gummy fishing continues to be productive. While there haven't been any real 'hot spots' the areas around Cape Schank and Pyramid Rock have been good places to start. There have been two main methods to catching these fish, with both drifting and anchoring popular. Anchoring nearby to an isolated patch of reef and berleying to bring the gummies to you has been one method, while drifting 'wider' has also been a good way to intercept a cruising fish. Customer Jon fished recently out towards the Schank and landed some nice fish to around the 15kg mark. Baits of freshly caught wrasse and parrotfish from the accompanying reef are excellent options when targeting these fish.