Bring on the tuna
  |  First Published: April 2011

Well our sodden summer has finally drawn to a close and anglers will be hoping for a calm autumn to get out and tackle the southern bluefin schools that are hopefully heading this way.

Figures from the bureau of meteorology have revealed that the 2010/11 summer was the wettest in Warrnambool since records were first compiled in 1867. The 272mm that fell over Dec-Feb beat the previous record of 266mm way back in 1945. Despite this rain there have been plenty to keep anglers occupied.

The Hopkins has been producing good captures of bream to 1.5kg despite the dirty water. With the mouth wide open, tidal influence is having a far more noticeable effect on the river than it normally does and the fish seem to be responding well.

Bait such as crab, peeled prawns, freshwater yabbies and spew worms have been working well but lure anglers are finally starting to see better captures. Hardbodied lures fished around the margins are taking the most fish. The lower reaches of the river seem to be producing well with even land-based anglers off the bridge and various landings taking good fish.

The lower reaches of the Curdies have also been the best for bream recently including the upper section of the lake. The Merri River suffered a minor fish kill recently with around 300 trout succumbing to some naturally occurring water quality issues that occurred when the river rose quickly over the banks followed by some hot weather.

On the saltwater scene King George whiting around the inshore reefs have been a popular target, particularly with other options that require better weather conditions. Good-size whiting from 38-45cm have been taken from the Killarney region with fresh squid and SA cockles being the most productive baits. There have been a few silver trevally, some good squid and plenty of pinkies also in this area, haven’t heard any more recent reports of kingfish this month though.

Come April, whiting and pinkies will still be a worthwhile target species, however most saltwater anglers will have a bigger target on target on their mind this month. With a few fish this season already taken well west of here, come April hopefully there will be southern bluefin tuna offshore from Warrnambool and Port Fairy.

May was the hot month locally last year on the tuna but April 2010 was hampered by some ordinary seas and weather. Perhaps they may have been there earlier and previous seasons have seen fish taken during April.

If you are keen on tackling the tuna off the south west coast make sure you are well prepared. Use the plethora of weather websites available to help you make an informed decision about whether a trip is worthwhile rather than committing to planning a trip too far in advance.

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