They’re back!
  |  First Published: February 2009

What a season we are having to date, as we go from one great angling species to another. The yellowtail kingfish are still on the bite and now we have the southern bluefin tuna upon us as well.

The cleaning table has been kept busy with good-sized tuna up to 35kg and albacore to 15kg. The first of the tuna were landed on February 7 by local Bob McPherson. On hearing of reports of tuna being spotted, Bob decided to go and have a look and came home with two tuna weighing 30kg each. This trip inspired a few of the locals to get out and have a look the following day, and they too came home with good-sized fish.

Charter operator Matt Hunt has been fishing in some not-too-nice weather and each day has come home with good catches of albacore and tuna. So, all indications are for a good tuna season with good catches of 30kg plus tuna and albacore, and quite a few sightings of bigger fish (and a couple estimated at 70kg dropped at the boat).

There have been sightings of tuna from in closer all the way out to the Continental Shelf. Julian Dickeson and his crew from Hamilton came home with good-sized tuna and managed to land an 80kg mako on a Black Magic lumo-skirted lure, which was a surprise by-catch caught in amongst the tuna.

The schools of tuna moving through now are just the beginning of the season, with sightings of good schools migrating down from South Australia. Port Lincoln fisherman Hagen Stehr, of Clean Seas Tuna, has reported this professional tuna season as being the best he has seen in the past 40 years, with bigger than average fish being sighted and caught.

For those coming to Portland to chase the tuna and albacore, as of March 2, 2009, the changes to Victorian fishing regulations allow two tuna per person per boat, and a new limit on albacore of five per person per boat.

Meanwhile over on the North Shore the yellowtail kingfish are still being caught, with Wes Hulm of Darwin and local Dave Miller catching seven one day, and a beauty of 15kg the following day.

Many others have been catching these great fighting fish over the past couple of weeks, but they are still proving finicky and take a bit of time and effort to entice into biting.

Another crew from Melbourne had a great day on the yellowtail landing 11 kingfish weighing 8-14kg. The best results have come to those first putting in the time in the harbour to catch live bait.

Other fish being caught over on the North Shore have been snapper from 1kg. Good-sized whiting, trevally, salmon and the odd mulloway are also coming in from this area.

Fishing in 60m of water between Cape Nelson Lighthouse and Bridgewater the main catches have been blue morwong, coral perch, gurnard, gummy sharks and flathead, as well as many mako sharks. The biggest mako landed was 175.1kg and was caught by local Brody Carter during the latest ANSA convention held here in Portland.

Around the Blacknose and Point Danger areas, good-sized whiting up to 1kg have been plentiful. There have also been good catches of salmon coming from this area

For those fishing land-based off the famous Lee Breakwater, anglers have been making good catches of snapper, whiting and good-sized calamari squid.

This area has been well and truly trashed over the holiday season and is dire need of a good clean up. If anglers cannot keep it clean they are in grave danger of losing this great platform, as the Port of Portland will close it down for health and safety reasons. It would be great if the local fishing clubs and the Portland community could band together and organise a ‘Clean up the Lee Day’.

Fishing in and around the harbour has seen good catches of snapper, whiting, sweep and trevally. For those fishing off the marina, calamari squid, whiting and snapper have again been the main catches.

For all the latest and most accurate fishing and weather updates give the boys at Portland Bait & Tackle a call. We are open 7 days a week from 7am to 7pm, or check out our website at www.portlandbaittackle.com.au or Bob’s site on www.wildblue.com.au

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