The bluewater and offshore action has been good around Bass Strait locally and a bit further afield, with tuna and kingfish the main targets. The water temperature has risen over the past few weeks, and also the water hasn't been the 'cobalt blue' that many anglers prefer there have still been fish around in it. The West coast down around Portland has been been producing loads of 'rat' kingfish along the north shore reef and also out to the island, with some nice bluefin tuna mixed in as well. Customer Edly was down at Portland recently and managed a nice chunky tuna of around 25kg.


While there have been plenty of fish about, the warmer months bring lots of baitfish so they aren't a shoe-in. Small bluebait-like imitations have been the best, as this best represents the current food. Poppers and stickbaits up to 140mm have been the go on the kingfish, with the tuna responding even better to smaller offerings. There are a few small but heavy zinc stickbaits in store that have been deadly when cast to cruising fish.


Back around the bays the kingfish have made their presence felt lately, with most of the main rocky promontories and points holding fish, along with areas such as the rip. Around the entrance to Westernport some of the smaller fish have been so thick that they have been hitting smaller flasher rigs sent down for catching slimies and yakkas. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has caught a few smaller fish on the 'sabiki' rigs of late, with some larger fish to 85cm taking the live slimies. Customer Jason fished the rip during the week in search of a kingfish and managed fish to around 6kg. Tandem hook rigs with small live squid were the most effective when fished on a modified 'Westernport' rig.


While there has been kingfish caught offshore around areas like Cape Schank, out a bit wider some anglers have reports of bluefin tuna. Customers Justin and Mick ventured out on Monday to see what was happening, with some rat kingies caught in close on squid. Out a bit further the boys managed a solid tuna of around 20kg. Small lures have been the go at present, with clear water and small food making the fish harder to trick than winter models.

 


Westernport has become the more popular bay for the fisho's recently, as the attention has swung towards the shallow banks and grass beds in search of King George whiting. There haven't been any real hot spots for the whiting as many anglers will have their own favourite marks and locations, but one thing is for sure - if you're not moving around you won't catch. Moving about between the shallow bank edges and deeper holes and mixing up baits has been the go forf many anglers. Customer Mario has been doing well on the whiting in the port over the past few weeks with lots of mini moves earning the goods.


Mario has been a few different areas of the port but using the same techniques and looking for similar ground. Mario has been consistently finding quality fish along small lumps and flats in 16m of water along the north arm, with pipi and squid cocktail baits normally doing the job. Staff member Don also fished for the whiting before heading off on holidays around the middle spit and Tyabb area, with good bags of school fish to around 40cm coming from around 6m of water. Squid strips and pipi were also the most consistent performers, with size 2 straight worm hooks holding the baits steady in the current.


Amongst the whiting there have been plenty of fish keen to take the baits - which is perfect if you want some fresh baits for gummies and the like. Customer Ryan has been picking up whiting out from Stony Point, along the edge of the grass beds in 7m of water. In with the whiting Ryan has caught squid, pinkies, yakkas, slimies, leatherjacket, salmon and flathead. Plenty of mixed bag fishing to be had, with a small berley trail from the weighted bucket keeping the action happening. Ryan found that the Hayabusa 'spark' rigs were dynamite on all species.


On the bait front, the numbers of slimies and yakkas has been excellent. Some of the slimies have been up to 50cm which will give you a real run on light gear. Small pieces of pilchard or squid have been good to collect some top notch bait, with the main pier structures around Stony and Hastings holding good schools.

Further down at Flinders customer Angelo has been doing well on the yakkas using bait. Angelo has noticed an increase in 'ajiing' around the pier, which is finesse gear fishing for the yakkas and small pier fish on lures. Angelo noticed one particular angler who bagged over 20 yakkas in less than half an hour during the week using this method. Needless to say, Angelo has since purchased some specialised 'aji' style plastics and jigheads to try this method for himself. If you are interested in giving it a go talk to the boys in store, as there is a good selection of finesse rods and tackle to match.


On the gummy front, there has been no shortage of nice fish about. Small table sized fish have been plentiful while fishing the top end and along the deeper whiting patches, with some big females making their presence felt towards the western entrance. Customer Jeff caught a cracker of around 20kg recently from the western channel. Jeff kept the fish as it was tangle in the net it broke, and bleeding badly from the gills but completely stoked on it as a capture. Gummies like this are really on the cards over the next month or so as they come into the port to give birth.


Meanwhile just outside the port the bottom bouncing has been good. While many anglers have been starting to look for kingfish the gummies have been good just out from Flinders bank. Customer Aaron fished just out from here to land a heap a nice table sized shark amongst a heap of flatties to around 1kg. Aaron found squid was the most effective bait for everything.

 


While reports have thinned off a little from Port Phillip, there is still plenty going on! The snapper have slowed off a little with their usual pre-xmas spawning movements, but there are still plenty of patches of fish to catch. The southern end of the bay seems to be the go at the moment, as the water temp is slightly lower and more conducive to a snapper bite.


Out from Mornington, customers aboard 'Relax, Go Fishing' charters have been getting some solid fish to around the 6kg mark throughout the week. Baits of silver whiting have been very effective along with squid, and a few fish taking the usual pilchard as well. The productive areas have been from Mt Eliza through to Mornington in 16-17-18m of water.


Out from Black Rock customer Adrian has been catching some nice fish to around 4.5kg on pillies. Adrian has been fishing around the reef edge in 9m and fishing pilchards. Using a strong berley trail of pilchard cubes has been the best way to keep the nearby fish interested, with a handful of cubes going in every 40 minutes or so. Customer Michael has been getting a few fish still out from Carrum also. Michael has been fishing nearby to the outer artificial reef in 18m and finding the odd fish around sunrise. Fresh squid has been Michael's preferred bait.


Customer Mick came into the store recently to set up some Port Phillip 'specific' gear. After realizing that some of his stuff was more suited to Western port Mick purchased a lighter outfit to tackle the finicky nature of Port Phillip's snapper. Very next session Mick was out and into fish to about 3.5kg, with long octopus tentacles getting the bites.

Down along the Peninsula there have been some squid caught from some of the piers. Dirtier water and winds have slowed things a bit but persistence and constant jig changes has been the way to piece a bag together. Staff member Don got down to Mornington and although conditions weren't super favourable he still managed a decent haul. Switching between rattle and non rattle 2.5 size jigs was the go, with UV colours and rattles getting bites before the other jigs.


At the bottom of the peninsula there has been some movement from the schooling kingfish. While not 'on fire' yet, there are fish around - and they are worth targeting. Friend of the shop Bruce fished around the heads and offshore towards Barwon over the weekend to get into a few school sized fish. Bruce's best tactic was to run a 'Fanasty squid' hardbody behind the boat and pin a long squid strip on a dropper behind the lure. The lure works to get the king's attention and the squid strip seals the deal.



 


While the snapper run is about to get most Melbourne anglers excited, here is a good reason to keep all options covered! Customer Steve was out fishing just offshore from Westernport recently in search of some snapper moving in when he scored a ripper gummy and school shark. Steve's ripping gummy weighed in at 22kg and took a cutlet of fresh salmon, while the school shark he landed weighed 18kg and took pilchard around slack water.


Another Spring surprize was a huge kingfish caught by customer Trent. Trent didn't want to say too much but we do know that the massive kingie was taken on live squid, and was caught inside Westernport. These thugs should start turning up over the next month, so yet another option to stretch your arms on.

 


The northern coastline of NSW is a popular destination for anglers as it is fairly quiet and holds a good mix of both southern and northern fish species. Popular fishing locations along this part of the coast include Brunswick Heads, Ballina, Yamba and Coffs Harbour. Customer Gary lives around Ballina and fishes the region a fair bit, and his latest beach session has seen him yield some massive tailor to 80cm. Gary has been fishing pilchard on ganged hook rigs early during the morning, with most of the fish coming while it's still dark.


Staff member Chris has just returned from a trip to Yamba, a tad south from Ballina. Chris did some fishing with his father but found the weather to hold them back a fair bit - with only 1 decent trip offshore. A good mixed bag of species were caught offshore with spotted mackerel, snapper, tuskfish, pearl perch, flathead and small whaler sharks making it to the boat. The humble pilchard did most of the damage with nearly all fish finding it heard to refuse.

 


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. 

 

 

 


The bread and butter species like gummy shark are an excellent option during the winter months, as you are able to catch them shore based in the bays, from the surf beaches, boat fishing the bays and also offshore. The best part about this style of fishing is you don't have to go overboard, for a landbased session a surf outfit of your choice is the way to go, along with a sturdy rod holder and enough tackle for the session. 

Staff member Dylan did just this last week, took to the the ocean beaches in search of a gummy or two. A nice gummy of around 7kg hit the sand during the first hour of the run in tide, and took a fillet of freshly caught grass whiting on a single 8/0 circle hook. Picking your preferred beach during the day can give you the advantage in spotting the more likely gutters and rips, and taking the guesswork out of your fishing.  Programs like Google earth can also help you identify similar features from the palm of your hand, but just be mindful that these conditions can change subtly between aerial shots.


If the boat fishing for gummies is more your thing, then the offshore fishing at the moment has been worth getting in to. The gummy fishing just offshore from Western Port has been exceptional, with much better average sized fish coming in. Among the gummy sharks, you will also have other species like snapper and flathead to keep you busy offshore, so you can really bring back a mixed bag at times.


Frogleys Offshore Victorian Rep Gerry took his new boat out for a spin last week in search of a gummy or two while offshore conditions were good and he wasn't disappointed. Gerry landed 2 lovely fish destined for the table using the lightweight Atomic Arrowz offshore model rods.

Customer Steve also got out offshore in the same region to land a nice fish just under 11kg. Steve fished a patch of reef that he normally tries for gummies and found multiple fish around it. Locally caught couta was the best bait for the day, which were thick mid water and easily catchable on small sabiki style rigs.

 


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.