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.

 


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.

 


The nice Autumn weather that we have had recently had made for some pleasant bottom fishing for gummies, both in the bays and offshore. The autumn period sees some large females moving into the bays to lay their pups, and historically has been the best time of year to chase them. There has been plenty of fresh bait about to collect and use for the gummies, and the fishing will continue on through Winter, the only thing that may stop anglers is the weather!

Customer Steve has been making the most of the conditions and recently caught a lovely gummy from just outside the eastern entrance of Westernport. Steve normally collects fresh bait on his way out in the form of yakkas, salmon, pike and trevally and rarely misses on these tasty sharks once offshore.


It's fair to say that most anglers are aware that Gawaine Blake enjoys his gummy fishing. Gawaine has been doing his thing and catching some ripper gummies, both offshore and also inside the bays. Gawaine has found that the offshore fishing for gummies has been very consistent throughout the Winter months and is a viable option for anglers during the cooler months of the year when they make think about packing the boat away. With double and triple hookups on fish over 10kg in nice conditions, why would you want to put the boat away!

 

While there haven't been too many reports posted on the kingfish front, there are still some numbers of good fish around. The rip is still holding fish, with some larger fish making their presence felt to anglers still out chasing them. The offshore fishing around Eden has been very good for the kingfish, and if conditions are similar to last year the fish could still hang around for another 6 weeks or so.


Gawaine Blake took a trip up to Eden over the Easter break in search of a few kingies, and he wasn't disappointed. Gawaine purchased a new Shimano Tranx 301 reel to try on these fish, and knocked them over with it easily. The Tranx is a 'low profile' style baitcaster but with serious grunt! Gawaine found most of the fish out along Mowarry Point and jigging was by far the most effective method on these fish, with some nice fish also caught on 2oz weighted soft plastics fished around the reef. Most of the fish that were caught were in the 10 - 13kg mark, which are excellent sized fish.

 

Customer Steve had been stocking up slowly over the last few weeks for a trip up north, and now is currently catching up in the Northern Territory. Steve has been doing well on a variety of species fishing out from King Ash bay in both the local creeks and Arafura Sea. Steve said the barra fishing had been tough but fish like this 80cm specimen have been tricked on shallow running hardbodied lures twitched around feeder creeks during the run out tides.

Steve also mentioned the variety of species he has been catching including barramundi, blue salmon, black jewfish, golden trevally, queenfish and also mudcrabs.


Steve found that one of the best fights he has had came from this big queenfish while up north. Steve said that the 'queenie' went crazy and took a live grunter fished in a deeper hole in the river.


Steve has also found out how many sharks are present in northern waters. Steve has been losing a few hooked fish to large whalers, with this nice black jewfish just one of the casualties. The head of this jewie alone was around 3kg, so it wouldv'e been a nice fish. Steve did get some revenge on the sharks however, with this large reef shark kept to feed enough of the locals back at the ramp. The shark took a pilchard rigged on gang hooks in 4m of water and proceeded to flip and jump out of the water during the fight.