Pelagic pandemonium in close
  |  First Published: May 2015

May is usually a time that I look forward to as the schools of bluefin come closer to the coast.

This year, however, they have been in close since February, offering plenty of opportunity to dash around chasing surface action in smaller boats than your traditional tuna game boat set up. The fish can be often finicky when they are in close and feeding on smaller bait, but casting stickbait lures like the Zipbait SSM, Monsoon Breaker and Daiwa Overthere Skipping often brings them undone, but small soft plastics or metal slug lures also produce the goods.

If you are struggling to chase the fast moving schools, sometimes ignoring the mayhem of jumping tuna around you and trolling in-between bust ups can pick up a stray fish on its way between a bust up.

Gummy shark are often a good May target for those sick of, or not interested in the tuna. In fact, the tuna frames and leftovers make for some sensational gummy berley and bait.

May can also a good time to target the local trout as the waters cool and the spawning urge begins to take hold.

The Hopkins River opened to the sea in March and good catches of bream, EP and mulloway continue to be taken. The perch had been going well on black crickets or surface presentations on good nights but things will change by May. Usually this time of year the bream and perch begin schooling up in the middle of the river and some big numbers can be taken before the water cools right down over winter.

The Annual Shipwreck Coast Fishing Classic was another huge success with some quality fish being caught, weighed-in and released, despite less than ideal conditions over the course of the week. Anthony Haberfield had the largest game shark with a massive 143.6kg mako shark. Scott Gray’s 6.4kg kingfish took out largest scale fish. Some other impressive section-winning fish were Cam Ordner’s 23.6kg tuna, a snapper of 3.04kg taken by Tony Zordan, a mulloway of 4.5kg from Tane Quarrel and a gummy of caught by Sam Hallyburton at 16.1kg. The biggest whiting was 49 cm and the biggest bream was 45cm.

But perhaps the highlight during the comp was the tuna caught by Ben Pohlner inside Warrnambool harbour in just 3m of water! Fishing for whiting with Derek Burn the boys saw what they though must have been a school of salmon on the surface. A quick cast with a metal on a 6kg outfit saw them hooked up to something far bigger than a salmon and, after a chase around the harbour amongst the moored boats, a 16kg fish was eventually landed.

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