Throughout June, southern bluefin tuna and albacore are still being exposed but it is proving to be either a feast or a famine.
A week before the Queens Birthday weekend, over 120 tuna were brought in, along with albacore up to 25kg. Over the long weekend itself it was as if somebody had turned the tap off! Only nine tuna and about 15 albacore were brought in.
The bluefin tuna run should run continue until at least mid-July, with good reports still coming in from west of Port MacDonnell and Beachport. Fishing throughout July depends largely on the weather conditions, as poor weather will restrict a lot of anglers travelling to Portland – not to mention the ever-increasing fuel prices. There have been reports of fish from 70-130m, but most of the tuna, albacore and dolphinfish have come from the 200-1000m mark and are travelling east along the Continental Shelf.
There has been no lack of baitfish and krill, with one working squid boat saying the water is alive with little squid at night. Most fishers coming back from the Shelf are in awe of the number of tuna seen jumping out of the water chasing these bait fish. Anglers have been trying every lure in their tackle box in an attempt to get these fish to load the reel, but most tuna and albacore are being caught on skirts, Killer Vibes and X-Rap bibbed lures. It is just a matter of changing lure patterns and colours to get the best results.
Charter operators in the area have been suffering the same inconsistency as the rest of us. Amongst the most successful have been Wayne of Sharkmen Charters and the new kid on the block, Phil Daffy of Game On Charters. Hopefully July will see a lot more tuna and albacore coming into the cleaning tables for those putting in the time and effort.
While out tuna fishing some anglers have been taking a break and having a go at bottom bouncing. They have been coming in with good catches of blue eye trevalla and hapuka.
Other fish species are mostly coming in from 50-100m of water either off Cape Bridgwater or Cape Nelson Lighthouse. Species caught have included snapper, gummy shark, morwong, queen morwong, coral perch, flathead and, in close, whiting and snook.
Over at the North Shore, gummy sharks and school sharks have been coming in from between the Surrey and Fitzroy rivers for those boaties after something different.
Land-based anglers fishing off North Shore have caught trevally, whiting and the odd snapper.
Fishing at the Lee Breakwater has been quiet, which is normal for this time of year. Only the odd snapper and whiting have been caught.
In and around the Harbour there have been catches of trevally, mullet and whiting, while black bream are coming from the canal.
If you’re thinking of heading down this way give the boys at Portland Bait & Tackle a call to get the latest on fishing techniques, locations and species. We are open 7 days a week from 7am to 7pm. Our number is 03 5523 5213.
During breaks in the tuna action, some anglers have been having a go at bottom fishing and coming up with great fish like this 8kg blue-eye trevalla.
This crew from Melbourne were happy with their catch of tuna. The tuna are still there, but on some days the fishing can be hit and miss.Reads: 747