April is the unofficial end to the run of yellowtail kingfish right along the Victorian coastline, although some of the best areas for hunting kingfish may still hold a few fish even at this late point in the season.
This year has been one of the best seasons in recent memory for these highly prized fish with divers upgrading many of their previous PBs. Wilsons Prom, Pyramid Rock and Cape Liptrap in the central zone all produced some great fish as did Portland’s North Shore and Lady Julia Percy Island off Port Fairy.
Kingies were plentiful and seemed to be of a bigger average size across the entire state this season, and can only be a great sign of the health and stability of the species moving forward.
Finding some clear water with a warmer temperature break in any of these aforementioned key areas of congregation may still yield a few fish even at this late point in the season.
On the upside, we begin to enter the peak period for southern bluefin tuna in the far South West of the state. Having said that, we have seen a very early start to the season already, in fact, right through the preceding few months we have had an abundance of school sized tuna seemingly in residence off the north shore at Portland.
I have personally encountered large schools of tuna mixed in with or adjacent to kingfish in as little as 7m of water and less than 200m from shore. Having these fish accessible in such shallow water with the real prospect of being able to access them from a shore-based dive is a fantastic development and I hope this will be an ongoing occurrence in future seasons to come.
As President of the Shipwreck Coast Skindiving club, I’d also like to make mention of an upcoming event our club will be running out of Port Fairy. We will be hosting the inaugural Bluefin Battle, scheduled for the weekend of 28-29 May, weather permitting, and promises to be well attended.
It will involve individual awards for the largest tuna taken by an individual diver as well as a two-man pairs event with the combined weight of each divers fish determining the winning team. With the extraordinary start to this seasons run of tuna, this comp holds the potential to be one of the best bluewater tournaments in the country. More information can be found on the clubs Facebook page ‘Shipwreck Coast Skindivers inc’.
Inshore diving is also not to be overlooked at this time of year. Right along the Victorian coastline divers can expect to find species such as snook, sea sweep and King George whiting, just to name a few. Salmon and trevally are also common captures in April.
Southern rock lobster are still in season and abundant at this time of year and a feed of abalone is always easy to find. All these species are best found on the shallow reefs close to shore. Depths of 4-7m are the ideal hunting grounds.
Areas such as Killarney near Port Fairy in the South West and Portsea, Queenscliff and St Leonards are all prime locations this month.
Remember to make yourself aware of all size and bag limits of any specie you target and to always dive safely and sustainably.Reads: 1230