With some magnificent weather and water conditions there have been some exceptional angling opportunities in the southwest recently, none more exciting than some truly sensational bluefin tuna.
The run of southern bluefin tuna is a much-anticipated time amongst the gamefishing community. The last few seasons, however, have been virtually non-existent. With rising petrol prices making the cost of searching for the elusive schools even harder, many people were beginning to wonder whether the bluefin fishery was ever going to be a viable option again for amateur anglers.
After a few sightings in various locations along the coast, it was Ken Hines and Cameron Ordner who started the ball rolling when, on a bottom bashing fishing trip some 32 miles off Port Fairy, they saw some tuna action on the surface. A double hook up resulted in Ken landing a magnificent 85kg tuna. It was not to be an isolated capture though, with many other boats heading out over the last few days of March to chase some of these massive fish.
Many fish were lost, with searing runs proving too much for quality 24kg tackle, but some made it to the gaff. All this has occurred a little earlier than most had anticipated.
May has often been prime time in the past for tuna so hopefully we might still be in the grip of tuna fever this month. The southern ocean is no place to muck around though. With the huge distances involved to find tuna, some local knowledge, big boats, travelling in pairs and competent crews are essential ingredients for success.
But it hasn’t all been about tuna though. The flat seas have enabled anglers to get out amongst the still plentiful pinkies. A few kings have also been taken east of Port Fairy. By May though, the kings should be long gone and the pinkies will have moved out into deeper water.
There will still be plenty of inshore targets around such as salmon, King George whiting and trevally.
Bream continue to bite well in the Hopkins and Curdies rivers. The average size has been down a little with many fish between 26 and 30cm but enough reports of fish over 1kg still make a trip worthwhile.
Towards the end of May the lower reaches of the rivers should be producing the best results. May is also a good time to target estuary perch in the freshwater sections of local rivers and streams. Mixed in with them will be a few good brown trout.
Trout are also a popular target at this time of year. Increased aggression given the upcoming spawning season makes them much more catch-able on lure and fly.Reads: 1742