It’s all about tuna
  |  First Published: June 2007

Recently there have been some good snapper to 4kg caught offshore, nice bags of whiting (including an incredible 63cm fish) and the estuaries have been productive. In spite of such a variety of local action, all everyone is talking about is tuna.

Southern bluefin tuna of 15-20kg have been taken consistently along the coast from Port MacDonnell in South Australia right through to Port Fairy. Although there have been fewer big fish this season, these school-sized fish are providing plenty of action. No one I know has missed out on a trip this season.

The number of big boats travelling through Warrnambool has been staggering and it is a great thing for the region, and for Victorian angling, to have access to such wonderful sportfish. Individual captures have been too numerous to mention, but one of significance was Warrnambool angler Dane Newmans’ potential Australian and world record capture of a 34kg Southern bluefin tuna on 8kg tackle.

Traditionally, June has been a time to target the smaller tuna in the 10-15kg bracket, so hopefully the awesome tuna action will continue for some time. These later schools of fish often travel a little closer to the coast, eliminating the long runs out to the Continental Shelf. Already fish are being seen and captured in as little as 50m of water so who knows how close they may come?

It’s always interesting that as soon as the first few good bluefin get reported in the local media each year, government departments pipe up and issue a statement that recreational anglers should show restraint with their catch. Let’s hope they show similar vigor when it comes to their negotiations with commercial and overseas ventures, which are also interested in the species, so that we continue to see these fine sportfish along our coast for years to come.

On the estuary scene the Curdies has been the pick of the bream rivers recently. The best fish I’ve heard of recently was a 49cm fish taken off the bank by Jordan Trusty on an SX40 hard-bodied lure. The Hopkins River mouth is still closed but may open with the next dump of rain. Hopefully this will fire things up as it has been a little quiet.

Despite the lack of rain, Darren from Wilderness Kayak Adventures reports some good trout moving in the local rivers. Some local trout waters, like the Lower Merri, remain open throughout the year because they are classed as ‘sea-run’ fisheries. This provides anglers with the opportunity to target trout during favourable seasonal conditions when the likelihood of capturing a quality fish is higher than in the warmer months. Check your DPI angler guides to see which rivers this law applies to.

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