Will the Tuna Stick Around?
  |  First Published: June 2006

They say a week is a long time in football. Well, it can prove to be an eternity in fishing.

The last week in March was fine and warm with the massive run of southern bluefin continuing to cause great excitement in local angling community. Come the first weekend in April though the weather had turned decidedly winter like with rain, wind and big seas. Unfortunately, this weather coincided with the return of the Warrnambool Light Game and Sports Fishing Club’s annual competition. Those who did brave the conditions were restricted to smaller target species with a 1.2kg bream taking out the major prize.

Autumn is traditionally fairly stable but windy conditions and big seas continued to hamper those pursuing the fantastic run of tuna offshore. During the few breaks in the weather, tuna were still taken by anglers heading out from Port Fairy to the shelf.

The big 80kg fish were still around but so were some 20 to 40kg fish. Trolling skirted lures on 37kg tackle was bringing more fish undone than traditional 15 to 24kg tackle, which was getting busted up by these hard fighting fish.

Game fishers are hopeful that the traditional run of smaller 10 to 15kg tuna will come through and be a target throughout June. These fish usually travel a little closer to the coast, eliminating the long run out to the shelf that has been necessary for the bigger fish lately. If you make the trip out and the tuna don’t show, having some bottom bouncing gear on board might help balance out the fuel bill for the day.

Easter also didn’t produce great weather for those who travelled to the region to chase the tuna. Conditions were good for estuary fishing though and the annual WDAC Easter competition was a success with some good bream taken. The best was a magnificent 1.6kg specimen that took a pilchard bait.

After an extended period of high water, due to an exceptionally large sandbank, the mouth of the river was manually opened in late April. Previously, the annual eel migration has entertained onlookers as the slithery beasts try to scurry out to the ocean when heavy seas roll over the sandbank. The opening of the river didn’t hamper the bream though with fish continuing to be caught.

Crab baits, soft plastics and hard-bodied lures have all been producing the fish lately. Bream have also been biting well in the Curdies with fish taken to 1.6kg. Reports have come from down near the lake right up past the Boggy Creek boat ramp.

The breakwater at Warrnambool was popular over the holiday break and has been producing some quality salmon to 2kg some days, but little else on others. Large skate and eagle rays have also been busting up a few anglers.

As we get further into winter, salmon will become a popular target. Surf anglers should target these fish off Levis Beach and East Beach. Good sport can also be had on lighter gear in calmer waters such as Port Fairy and Killarney bays.

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