Blown away by bluefin
  |  First Published: July 2009

We have just witnessed some of the most mind-blowing southern bluefin tuna action that you could have imagined.

Walking down the street or standing in the local tackle shop is a buzz in its own right, as stories of fish captured or lost continue to amaze even the most seasoned angler.

Some of these tuna have topped 130kg plus, massive fish, with bigger models lost.

The fish have been out wide, anywhere from 50km to 70km offshore, and most crews venturing out haven’t bothered putting out the lure spreads until about this distance.

Double and triple hook-ups have been the norm with one local guru having five fish on at once with only three anglers in the boat. To say it was pandemonium is an understatement but the boys did well to land three fish from 80kg to 110kg.

A lot of people have asked how long this action will continue and, to be honest, nobody really knows. But a look at the sea temperature charts indicates the fish could hang around until mid-August.

Of course, everything depends on Mother Nature but let’s cross the fingers and hope this dynamic fishery keeps going strong for a few weeks yet.

Out on the continental shelf albacore to 28kg have been plentiful with the odd jumbo yellowfin tuna also in the game.

Most of these shelf fish have been tempted by cubing with a little sparse berley.

Mako sharks to 300kg also have been encountered, especially when the albacore are in full song.


Closer to shore, the bottom-bouncing brigade are happy as the snapper run hits top gear.

Most reefs are holding reds to 2kg, with the occasional fish to 4kg succumbing to fresh baits. Areas like Potato Point and the deeper reefs off Tuross have been the pick with the close in reef at Brou also worth a look.

Better baits have been squid, cuttlefish and whole pilchards with morwong, john dory and leatherjackets making up the remainder of the bag.

Montague Island is a deserted at the moment with no kingfish to be found. Give them a few more months before we see any decent results.

The beaches have been very consistent with salmon the main targets. Any beach with a good gutter will produce results with Brou and Tilba the top picks.

The salmon can be caught using a variety of different methods with paternoster rigs with a bait/popper combination working well.

Anglers casting smaller chrome lures into the suds are having a ball, especially when using light braid more suited to catching bream than hard0-pulling sambos.

A few tailor can be expected with every Winter producing a few big greenbacks. A wire trace is almost mandatory with these guys as the size of the teeth is something to see – keep the fingers away!

There have been a few bream caught to but not in any numbers, with beach worms the gun bait.

And early morning flood tide is the best time to target them with the rockier corners of south-facing beaches good starting points.


Wagonga Inlet has slowed considerably over the past few weeks with the cold water influx but the fish being caught are of good size.

Some thumping big bream are around the racks, but the crystal-clear water is making them very spooky and hard to catch.

Light leaders and slow -moving worm-type plastics are the only way that I have been able to get a bite.

It’s the same with the flatties. The water is 12° to 13° at best and slow-moving smaller plastics to 80mm are the only way I have found to tempt them.

Most fish are coming from shallower banks in only a few feet of water.

Look for the areas with sunlight on them, this is where they will be lying and waiting for a feed.

Good- sized tailor are still being caught in the main basin, with a few trevally and blackfish from the deeper sections of the channel.

Squirt worms have worked well on the blackfish and small soft plastics and prawns are bringing the blurters undone.

Try near the 8-knot sign on the eastern side of the channel near the town wharf, the water moves quickly through there so fish the last two hours of the flood tide when it slows a little.

Tuross is fishing slowly for the majority of anglers. Bream are about in the snags, as are estuary perch (it’s closed season, though) but they are patchy.

We’ve done OK on plastics fished deep into the snags with slow presentations the go. This place will start to get better as we head into Spring.


On the rocks, the usual cold-water species will be chewing.

Drummer numbers will be at their peak with silvers to 4kg possible on cunjevoi or cut crabs on lightly-weighted rigs.

Blackfish will be found in most washes with the Golf Course Rocks in town a favourite hunting ground.

There’s a cracker ledge there on the northern side of the platform that screams blackfish. Use a float rig with cabbage weed on a falling tide.

A few bream get caught here, too, with the outside wash zones home also to salmon.

This ledge is reasonably safe but care has to be taken, especially in a southerly swell. Whole pilchards rigged on ganged hooks, or a handful of chrome lures, will produce many hours of fun.

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