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.


While some sections of the Murray river have been affected by blue green algae, this hasn't stopped the fish from biting. The section down stream from Yarrawonga is the worst affected at present, with a small amount still affecting upstream from Yarrawonga towards Corrowa. To prove that the algae hasn't made fishing pointless, customer Mario fished the section of river from Corrowa down towards Bundalong - where he caught around 60 cod in 5 days. A lot of the fish were in the 40 - 60cm size range, with a few like this 80cm fish taking lures also. Trolled stumpjumpers and cast spinnerbaits did most of the damage.


Staff member Dylan has also been caught a few cod recently. Dylan has been fishing the section of water around Bundalong and has caught fish to around 75cm on surface lures during the afternoon. Customer Travis also fished for the cod recently and managed his first one which he was rapt with.


Not to be outdone, the golden perch have been quite active in the Murray around Mulwala recently. Dropping water temperatures have kicked them into gear and had them feeding actively, with staff member Dylan and mates catching a few nice ones over the Anzac weekend. The goldens have been hitting 3/8th and 1/2oz spinnerbaits along large bankside snags, with purples, whites and red skirt colours being the standout colours recently. These fish should be reasonably active over the next month and then slow off as the water gets substantially cooler towards June.

For the holiday makers heading to any of the states' northern impoundments, the native fish are about as active as they will get over the summer months. Water temperatures in all but the coldest regions have warmed dramatically and this has sent species like Murray cod, yellowbelly and bass into overdrive.

Customers Jordan and Jinsu have done some work on the yellowbelly in recent weeks, and have caught fish to around 45cm in length. While yellas can take a bit of searching to find where they are holed up, normally once one is caught there is a good chance that a few more will be close by. Jordan and Jinsu found small profile vibes like the Daiwa 47S to be effective when hopped around likely rock ledges and fallen timber.

Customer Zoran also chased the yellas up towards Eildon with a mate and found some nice fish. Using modern sounder technology, the yellowbelly were able to be pinpointed and targeted using small plastics around fallen timber. Most of the fish were in the 45 - 55cm range which are chunky little fish.

The next couple of months should see the yellowbelly plateau off somewhat, with themselves and Murray cod still a good option for summer freshwater fisherman.  


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.

 

Most anglers have a 'dream fish' or place they would really love to go and fish. For Customer Barney his dream was to catch a big barra. Barney fulfilled his dream recently while he was in Darwin with his wife Irene. Barney was fishing aboard Vision Charters with skipper Ben when he caught these 2 rippers at 94cm and 95cm. These nice salties were caught trolling hardbodies around the Shoal Bay region just north of Darwin. Nice one Barney!

 

While the southern bluefin tuna fishing can be good in western Victoria, the attraction of jumbo bluefin is what lures gamefisherman to Tasmania. Many of the fish caught around these southern waters are 100kg+ 'barrels' as these fish are regularly caught within a few kilometres from the shoreline. Customer Frank ventured down to the Apple Isle only a couple of weeks ago in search of his own 'barrel' and wasn't disappointed. Frank fished out from Eaglehawk Neck on the southeastern coast of Tasmania and was lucky enough to hook a jumbo sized tuna on his 50W Tiagra. After a 2 hour fight the fish was boated and weighed in at around 120kg. The big fish took a Rapala XRAP 30.

 

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 trout fishing in the lakes has been good recently, as the conditions have been perfect for them! Cold weather with rainfall really triggers the trout to feed up and move in their annual spawning congregations. Lake Eildon has been fishing well around some of the arms like Jews Creek and Big River. Customer Mick fished the main arm out from Eildon boat harbour in search of a few trout, and he did catch a few small browns trolling tassies behind downunder sinkers. 

Customers Rene and Andrew also fished Lake Eildon recently, where they camped out and did some trolling. The guys trolled a mixture of lures like Tassies, Merlins and Rapalas - with a few pelagic browns taking a mixture of lures. The guys trolled around Jews Creek and Big River to find their fish.

The western lakes normally fish well at this time of the year, and this year has been no different. Bullen Merri, Purrumbete and some of the northern lakes like Wendouree and Toolondo have all been producing fish. Lake Bullen Merri has been producing some quality size fish from anglers trolling and baitfishing. Young angler Gabrielle was fishing out in the lake with live bullhead minnow when this massive brown trout got hungry. At around midnight her bubble float went under and this 4.3kg trout came up. What a cracker!