Inshore bluefin going nuts
  |  First Published: March 2017

Once again the South West has seen an influx of southern bluefin tuna during the summer months. With many genuine specimens over the 20kg mark, these fish have been turning up in waters from 20-35m deep.

Many of these fish are taken by anglers casting stickbaits on heavy thread line tackle, and this makes for some superb fishing. One thing that is different about this inshore summer run of fish is that you’re not usually looking for huge bust ups and diving birds like later in the season. Instead, you need to be on the lookout for surface ripples or disturbances caused by the school of fish. Of course, this isn’t easy and the need for flat calm weather certainly helps to locate the fish.

At this stage, the kingfish probably haven’t been as good as last summer, but the tuna have certainly made up for it. March is probably the last good month to reliably target the local kingfish population. As for the tuna, nobody really knows. As soon as these inshore fish slow up, new schools of fish will probably be showing up along the deeper shelf regions towards the end of the month.

There were a couple of massive makos taken locally recently and March is often one of the best months to get out and target a mako or two.

The Hopkins River has fished well this summer. After the last big flood event in 2011, it seemed to take the bream a little while to fire up. Despite the heavy flood waters last year, the bream population seems to be quite active and prolific.

Holidaymakers casting lightly-weighted baits off the bank and piers in the river have been accounting for not only good numbers, but some decent fish around 40cm as well.

There have also been some good mulloway around the 70-80cm mark being taken recently by both anglers specifically targeting them with fresh baits, and as incidental captures by lure anglers using soft plastics.

King George whiting have been steady all summer and March is still a great time to target them on a calm, warm evening. Fishing shallow waters in the 2-3m depth range around Killarney, Lady Bay and Port Fairy can produce some excellent fish in the 40cm plus range.

After a slowish start to the season, the pinkie snapper have certainly fired up recently with good bags of fish being taken and some quality 40-50cm fish showing up amongst them.

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