The autumnal offshore scene is humming along nicely with plenty of tuna captures happening at present, which seems to point to yet another mind blowing season. The fish have been sighted everywhere including right in close just off Thunder Point at Warrnambool in late April.
Many boaters are finding schools of SBT busting up bait balls in depths of only 50m. Some anglers are cracking the double when targeting school tuna as some solid yellowtail kingfish seem to be lurking near and under the tuna schools. Add to that albacore tuna, which have turned up recently in big numbers. Most of the albacore are averaging around 6kg, but further out wide right up close to the shelf they have been caught and weighing in at well over 20kg.
Just recently a 64kg bluefin barrel was caught off Warrnambool and combining that with several reports of more barrels taken off Port MacDonnell in South Australia, it’s only a matter of time before these big’uns arrive in force!
Those dropping baits down deep in depths around 180m have come up trumps with some huge blue grenadier and pink ling. Whole squid has been the proven bait.
Meanwhile closer inshore, some excellent pinkie snapper continue to be caught along with some sizeable gummy shark. Although not many have been sighted this season, let alone snaffling large baits ballooned out the back, the odd mako shark to 70kg has also been hooked. Along with big bluefin, makos make up Victoria’s big game fish duo.
For those with smaller boats, the big news around this autumn is the bream fishing in the Curdies River. The lake is very low due to a distinct lack of viable rain and is mostly off limits to boating, but bream to over 40cm have been caught right up and down the river’s length. A popular spot is in and around the entrance to the lake. I and many others have landed some excellent fish lately.
Both bait and lure anglers have done well with plenty of fish on offer on a given day. There’s plenty of juvenile salmon about and slicing the salmon fillets into long, almost worm-like baits has been the number one bream bait without a shadow of a doubt. Earth and scrub worm, packet prawn and whitebait have also caught a few fish.
Soft plastics, metal blades and medium diving minnow lures have also accounted for some sizeable fish. You can easily spend up to 2-3 hours peppering the water with lures for not much in return, then the bream suddenly switch on into feeding mode and the action suddenly gets very hot indeed.
The Curdies definitely contains mulloway, which would have entered the river last year when it was finally opened after a long spell. Roughly five weeks later the sea’s swell closed the mouth, which was a shame but during that time a school of mulloway entered via the very shallow mouth; probably after dark on a high tide. Since then reports of bream anglers being busted off by something sizeable and the odd fish coming in of barely legal size (60cm) have fuelled the many rumours floating around of big fish lurking in the river.
In April, Timboon angler Wayne Sleep buried all those rumours once and for all hooking up to and landing a mulloway that measured exactly1m in length! Wayne and a few others knew they were there and put much of their bream angling on hold for quite some weeks in an effort to land a decent one; and Wayne eventually did it and on 6lb line.Reads: 170