Portland’s run of Southern bluefin tuna continued throughout May. Boats of a variety of sizes have experienced either feast or famine as the tuna move on from Port Macdonnell through to Port Fairy and continue their journey.
Tuna of 15kg and more are fairly well spread out and are being caught from depths of 40-70m all the way to the Continental Shelf. Winter’s southwesterly winds and swell pump the rich krill and other bait closer to the bays via the underwater canyons leading into Bridgewater and Cape Nelson. The tuna usually follow, moving in to feed on this rich food source.
Until about two years ago, very few fishermen would venture past this area in search of tuna. These days, however, it’s a very popular hunting ground. The tuna around here should continue throughout June.
Over the past month there have been numbers of larger tuna rearing their heads out of the smaller schools. Anglers have been left shaking their heads in frustration, wondering what it will take to catch these monsters.
Sometimes birds will reveal spots where tuna are higher up in the water. If you manage to be in the right place at the right time you can see these feeding fish leaping completely out of the water.
Some days the tuna stay down deeper – this may be due to a lot of fresh water on the surface or higher temperatures. Whatever the reason, it can be very frustrating for anglers who are trying to get them to the surface. At these times, you will need to pay attention to detail and make sure that your rods aren’t trolling ‘dead’ lures, which are not tempting to the fish. The lures must imitate the bait the fish are feeding on and if they do then you will have no problems with tuna hitting your gear.
Another species on offer out of Portland have been dolphinfish (mahi mahi). Many of these have been caught by anglers chasing Southern bluefin. Chris Stirk and Howard Lowman landed two 10kg dolphinfish in 180m of water towards the shelf while on a recent charter with Adamas Fishing Charters. Other dolphinfish have also been brought to the cleaning tables by anglers chasing tuna.
Darren Dyson and crew had a good day out, catching five blue-eye trevalla while bottom bouncing on the shelf, just to show what else is available from this vast area.
For those not chasing tuna, most winter species are still available, with the 70m mark providing gummy sharks, snapper, morwong and coral perch to name just a few.
Snapper have been taken from the North Shore and Lee Breakwall, with the odd whiting also around. Slimy mackerel and trevally are being caught from inside the harbour.
If you’re thinking about heading our way, just give the boys at Portland Bait & Tackle a call for all your weather and catch updates. We are open 7 days a week from 7am to 7pm. To catch all the live action at the boat ramp have a look at www.wildbue.com.au.Reads: 609