Tuna fever hits town
  |  First Published: May 2007

Over April the ‘normal-sized’ Southern bluefin tuna up to 30kg have moved into 80–100m water, just as they have in previous years, and are feeding on the plentiful sauries that are out there in amongst the massive amounts of krill. Most fishermen have returned with their bag limits of tuna and have released just as many if not more of these wonderful fighting sportfish.

Others who have ventured out to the continental shelf have returned with good catches of albacore of 3–4kg with a few monsters of 30kg or more. This year has been similar to the early 1990’s with the abundance of tuna being caught in close. Some 6kg bluefin tuna have shown up too, which would be a recent batch of juveniles.

During the middle of April Bob McPherson and myself hooked into two monster tuna estimated to be over 200kg. We hooked into these fish out at the Shelf and I had mine on for 2.5 hours before being spooled, losing 1000m of 36kg line in the process. Bob had his fish on for 3.5 hours. We had this tuna beside the boat ready for the gaff and were just taking a last photo when the line hit a trim tab while the rod was buried in the water under the boat. What can we say? The fish won the day on this occasion.

Three days later Bob McPherson, Tim Clark and Lockie Wombwell hooked into a 125kg tuna at 75m, southeast of the Cape Nelson lighthouse. They used the boat on this fish for two hours before the fish was gaffed and the three men used all their might to haul the giant into the boat. This was no easy task according to the guys doing the lifting. This is the largest Southern bluefin tuna caught in Victorian waters and is a pending Victorian record (just beating last year’s fish of 120.4kg).

Over the last month we have trolled through schools of bursting tuna on the shelf and have seen several monsters that showed no interest in taking a lure on the troll. You can be sure that as in previous years numerous large tuna are migrating past the shelf with the juveniles. The largest bluefin tuna caught this season weighed 132kg and was caught off Port MacDonnell six weeks ago by three fishermen from Warrnambool, Peter Kavanagh, Paul Jones and Dave Newman.

The Southern bluefin tuna should run through to July making it one of the best seasons for many a year.

For those not chasing the tuna the North Shore has been fishing well with catches of snapper, whiting, seven-gilled sharks and gummy sharks out in front of the Surrey River mouth. Land-based anglers along the North Shore have been catching snapper and gummy sharks. Fishing off the Lee Breakwall has produced a few nice snapper to 6kg with plenty of small snapper and the odd whiting.

Melbourne visitor Tony Cini had a great catch of nice snapper weighing 5.4kg, proving to brother-in-law George from Williamstown that you don’t need a boat to get a good fish! Inside the harbour haddock have appeared along with trevally, whiting and pinkies. Off the marina, calamari squid have been caught.

So, as we head into May give the boys at Portland Bait & Tackle a call to find out all the latest info and weather forecasts. Our phone is (03) 55235213. We are open 7 days a week from 7am to 7pm. For live boat ramp action click onto www.wildblue.com.au .

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