April is what is regarded as the peak of the local southern bluefin tuna season. Coinciding with the Easter holidays, many keen game fishers make their way down to the South West to tackle the tuna.
However it appears someone forgot to tell the tuna when they were supposed to arrive, as they have been a hot angling target throughout February!
For the past few seasons the odd tuna has shown up in close around January and February, often for anglers on the hunt for yellowtail kings. This year, however, there have been prolific schools of fairly decent fish in the 16-20kg range showing up on the inshore grounds between Port Fairy and Narrawong. Usually big numbers of inshore tuna aren’t seen until May and June.
The fish have been hanging around the prolific schools of small baitfish. Like inshore tuna on small bait often are, they can be a little difficult at times, but some days have bitten their heads off with shelf style numbers being clocked up.
Many other fish such as snook, slimy mackerel, salmon, kingfish and couta have also been encountered around these large bait schools. It can be a little annoying when some of these species keep jumping on the tuna lures when you are trying to get to the tuna school ahead of you.
Like the extending tuna season, gummy and school sharks seem to be an all-year event. With the tuna being around early, there’s plenty of frames and offcuts that make a brilliant bottom bouncing bait. April and May always was a good time to target gummies, as it usually throws up some calmer seas as we make the transit out of the summer weather pattern.
The Hopkins River has remained closed over the past month. As per usual the fishing has slowed somewhat when the river is full and closed for a long period of time.
The odd mulloway is still being encountered and there has been some good perch taken on the surface on calm muggy nights. This month though it will have been manually opened or opened naturally and the fishing should be quite good. Easter full moons were always a good mulloway time so hopefully that will prove to be true this season.
April should also be a good time to start looking seriously for a good trout. As the spawning urge beings to creep in and that big cautious, wily brown might make the mistake you’ve been waiting for.Reads: 550