Barrels turn up big time
  |  First Published: June 2014

The talk between anglers in the south west recently has been all about tuna. And fair enough too! There were some remarkable catches through late April to early May. Fish easily budging the 100kg mark were hooked, and some lost battles, between the border and Port MacDonnell.


When the weather permits boat ramps in the south west have been as busy as they get all year. Anglers travel miles to the high seas of the south west for a chance at hooking a once in a life time barrel-sized tuna ranging anywhere from 60-115kg that were turning up in as shallow as 40m a mere couple of kilometres from shore. These big fish don't usually stick around for long and it wouldn't surprise me if they were all but shifted on by the time this is printed.

Still great quality and hard fighting tuna in the 10-25kg categories should be readily available for at least the next month or so. Fish have been very wide spread out this season and have been found anywhere from as little as 40m right out past the shelf in some 500m+. As always, keeping an eye out for birds will usually put you onto a patch of fish in no time.

On a slightly smaller scale but equally as tasty, garfish have been fishing really well for the start of winter and will continue to do so throughout the cooler months. Livingstons and Cape Douglass are as good as spots as any along the coast. If you want to take the kids somewhere easy and safe the Port Mac jetty can sometimes turn up good numbers of gardies with the use of a slow release berley trail. A mixture of bran and tuna oil and a tub of gents makes a cheap few hours of entertainment for the kids and a delicious treat when served up fresh for dinner.


As the seasons change so do the fish that you will be likely to encounter at Salt Creek. Salmon have just started to turn up in the 1-2kg range and will continue in numbers and size as the weather gets rougher and colder. Fishing pilchards presented on a ganged set of 6/0 octopus hooks and star sinkers is the best way to get amongst them. This style of fishing has also been turning up numbers of elephant sharks and present far better on the table than salmon, although the sporting fight isn't always there on a crashing surf beach.

Between 42 Mile Crossing and Ti Tree Crossing has been producing most of the salmon and elephant action early on in the season. The beach becomes quite steep and soft through winter due to large tides and big swells. Extra care should be taken even for the most experienced at this time of year. Getting stuck in this section of beach can quickly turn your weekend away into a nightmare. Dropping your tyre pressures down to 12-14psi will see you get through not a problem with some momentum and common sense.

Mulloway have been reasonably quiet as expected at this time of year. The odd fish to 20lb has still been reported by anglers persisting with fresh baits. Try using slightly larger baits than normal when the salmon are around to avoid pickers knocking off baits in no time. Large squid heads and freshly filleted salmon make gun mulloway baits and tend to hang on the hook better than most baits.

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