Kings out, tuna in!
  |  First Published: March 2015

March is the last month to reliably be targeting the local yellowtail kingfish population. There have been some good captures of kingfish locally in January but weather conditions haven’t been too kind in allowing many windows of opportunity to get amongst them.

Casting soft plastic, slugs, baits or hardbodied stick baits like the Daiwa Overthere skipping or Zipbait SSM minnow works well when conditions are calm enough to spot surface schools.

Trolled squid strips or jigging has worked well at times when fishing has been a bit tougher.

As seems to be the case almost each season now, the odd tuna has shown up early in the season feeding around some of the same bait schools the kings are on. As if king fishing isn’t exciting enough as it is, without having some tuna breaking the surface as you’re targeting yellowtail. Come March the tuna should be making their presence felt much more consistently, although they will most likely be in the deeper water around the shelf region.

The same incessant wind we’ve had over January also hasn’t made targeting the local shark population very easy. This is unfortunate as there have been some excellent captures of gummy and school shark taken when conditions allow. Not many game species of shark have been taken recently but March is a great time to catch a mako or thresher. The best mako I’ve heard of taken recently was a 180kg fish by the Richardson Marine boys on their Christmas break up. Now that takes getting into trouble with unsavoury creatures at a Christmas party to the extreme.

King George whiting have been a consistent option over the summer on the inshore grounds if it has been too windy to get out further, and March should be no exception. It’s amazing how shallow these fish can be caught in low light conditions, particularly with a good weed bed present. What the local whiting lack in numbers they make for in size with most fish being around 38-44cm.

The holiday crowds of January, and a closed mouth, slowed the excellent fishing in the Hopkins River somewhat. When the mouth opens though, it often leads to a couple of days of exceptional fishing and with plenty of mulloway still being present in the system it would be well worth a look if you hear the mouth has recently opened.

The annual Shipwreck Coast fishing comp is on again this March from 7-15 March. Entry is online only. The 2014 event was a fantastic success, with almost 650 competitors and over $64,000 in prizes and giveaways. This year promises to be bigger and better than ever with a massive number of prizes making this event the largest fishing comp in South West Victoria. Profits last year went to Peters Project. This year’s profits will be donated to the Warrnambool Coastguard, who have supported the comp tirelessly over many years.

This year will see the introduction of catch and release options for a number of species including bream, mullet, estuary perch, trevally, mulloway, and trout. Big prizes are also on offer for snapper, whiting, morwong, Australian salmon, flathead, gummy and school sharks, kingfish, game sharks, and tuna. In addition, 2015 will also see the return of sweep and crayfish to the eligible species list. See the comp rules for full details.

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