Kingfish move away as tuna rule the roost
  |  First Published: April 2013

April will see the sad farewell to the yellowtail kingfish season that has been quite productive since mid December for Victorian spearfishers.

Divers will have their final chances at landing a kingfish during April at usual haunts across the state especially Wilson’s Promontory that does seem to hold the kingies later in the season.

For the avid blue water spearfisher based here in Victoria do not worry, as April sees the tuna season fire up. Albacore and southern bluefin tuna should be present in numbers out in the west of the state. Usual hotspots off shore from Portland, Port Fairy and Warrnambool are likely to produce tuna and possibly even mahi mahi or dolphin fish as they are known.

A regular and proven method of targeting these elusive species whilst spearfishing is to troll lures (either with or without hook). Once you get the tell tale strike then it’s time to throw in the berley (usually pilchards or other smaller baitfish) and in with the divers. Be sure to keep the berley flowing as it does take a while sometimes for the whole school to rise and commence feeding in the trail. At other times you will roll over into a massive school of feeding tuna, often with southern bluefin tuna and albacore mixed together. A truly amazing sight!

This is not for the faint hearted or inexperienced and it does pay to try this with a seasoned diver on your first outing. It is not as easy as it sounds also but it is very exciting and rewarding landing quality world class fish here in our back yard.

Be sure to be very safety conscious and try and work away from other traditional game anglers trolling lures. Always fly your big boat diver below flag and always carry a flag on your personal float. There have been a number of near misses offshore in the blue water domain with anglers and divers and we all need to be conscious of the dangers involved. In NSW over summer a spearfisher was fatally struck whilst flying the diver below flag so just be very mindful that even with a flag a lot of caution and common sense still needs to be applied.

Great inshore spearfishing can be had right through April with snook being a common species throughout April and May. Other species that should still be around include snapper and salmon and trevally.

The ocean beaches and reefs should produce but do not underestimate the potential of Port Phillip. Here the autumn months can be very productive with good weather and spearfishing. I would try the beaches south of Mornington and of course the southern end of the bay around Portsea, Queenscliff and St Leonards.

Cray fishing will still be productive and when the ocean is flat enough get right in close. We managed two large bulls recently at Wilsons Promontory in 4m of water only 10m from shore. Do not overlook any nice caves and ledges simply because they are too shallow. Use a torch and dive with a buddy and be persistent and you will be rewarded.

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