Even though the big boats are rolling through the southwest at the moment with the tuna season wheeling into another year, by May it should really be in full gear.
All signs are looking good, with the all the elements of the food chain being present offshore that we will be in for another bumper season. With a couple of albacore taken wide off Warrnambool and a 19kg bluefin off Port Fairy during the local March fishing classic, there are fish already present that will hopefully come in closer and increase in number, as we head into May.
At the time of writing plenty of tuna are being taken in the 1000m/shelf region towards Portland. By May hopefully the tuna will have worked their way closer to shore thus bringing the ports of Warrnambool and Port Fairy into play as more consistent producers of tuna than at present. The shelf comes closer to the shore the further you move west hence most anglers concentrating their efforts at Portland and Port Macdonald during the early stage of the season, as the travel time by water is less to the more productive regions.
During May 2010 was a revelation in local angling circles as the waters off Warrnambool and Port Fairy turned on some staggering captures of southern bluefin tuna. Over a two week period, from mid to late May, there were many barrel-size bluefin from 80-140kg captured and lost with plenty of school fish mixed in amongst them.
Most of these fish were taken relatively close to shore, (in tuna fishing terms), with the 50-70m mark producing most of the fish. Who knows where the big fish will turn up this year. Keep an ear and an eye on the angling grapevine and the weather charts.
Even if there have been no reports due to extended periods of bad weather, when it clears up and the seas are good at this time of the year just get out there. You never know you might be the first boat to come across them.
The annual March Warrnambool fishing classic was blessed by some good weather which resulted in myriad species being captured. As well as the tuna there were a number of makos weighed in with the biggest being a 120kg fish taken by Scott Neal. Some 4kg mulloway from the Moyne, some 2-3kg snapper amongst the pinkies and some good gummies from down towards Childers cove were other interesting captures.
The waters off Port Fairy have been pretty quiet for gummies last month. Last May saw some good gummies caught in this area though which made a nice distraction/alternative from the tuna. In fact the tuna frames and leftovers made for some sensational gummy berley and bait. The weather recently has thrown up some excellent conditions for beach angling and some good gummy shark and school shark have been taken off the sand.
The Killarney/Port Fairy area has been producing some good bags of whiting recently. These fish can still provide a good option in early May but usually thin down in numbers by the end of the month. Some good calamari squid have also come from this area as well as Port Campbell pier, which has been producing some excellent specimens at night.
The Hopkins River remains closed at the time of writing and has been fishing pretty slowly. Trout reports have been nonexistent recently but come May they will provide a good angling option as spawning aggression and cooling water temps kick in.Reads: 2011