Unprecedented captures of southern bluefin tuna have been taken off Port Fairy and Warrnambool.
Locally even people with limited interest in recreational fishing couldn’t help but be aware of the mass of boats in town, crowds at the ramp and coverage in print and other media.
The fish seem to have been running in two distinct classes. Huge fish from 90-150kg have been taken by many anglers and those who haven’t caught a big barrel are still having great sport on school fish in the 12-20kg range.
The biggest tuna brought in to Port Fairy so far is Al McGlashan’s 154.6kg fish whilst David Cassidy’s 140.7kg fish is the largest to grace the gantry at Warrnambool. Hot spots have been 40-60m of water off Port Fairy and 70-80m off Warrnambool, much closer in than is usual for the species.
The fish however have been wide spread with big and small fish still encountered from regular shelf areas to right in close. Jason Kelly and his dad caught school bluefin as close in as 2-3km off the back of the Warrnambool break wall then the next day Steven Rhook caught one in 15m of water!
All manner of tuna lures have been successful at one point or other but there does seem to be a preference for smaller lures, even for the big fish, to match the bait in the schools these fish are feeding on.
In July the best bluefin fishing should have passed but last season a couple of big fish were taken off Port Fairy in mid June so if the seas are flat and people are out there who knows what surprises the southwest SBT fishery will throw up.
The salmon run at Killarney has continued to be very good this season. Many anglers are enjoying the sport fishing aspect of these fish, which are running from 1-3kg, by targeting them on light spin and fly gear. More traditional surf fishing methods are accounting for fish at Levis Beach and East Beach, Port Fairy.
How you target the Merri for trout in July will depend on any rain events between now and then.
If we get a little rain then fishing natural coloured stick minnow plastics and smelt coloured flies in the deeper areas will work best. Trolling minnow styled lures will also work well. If we get some serious rains then fishing shallow runs and flooded margins will be a better bet.
Paddle-tailed soft plastics and dark large wet flies are the weapons of choice. Remember certain local areas remain open to trout fishing in the local area due to their ‘sea run’ classification allowing anglers to target trout at this opportune time.
The Hopkins has been fairly inconsistent of late with some days producing good bags of fish yet others shutting down completely and producing mainly small specimens. The fish that are appearing schooled up in the middle of the river are proving very hard to entice with better fish coming off edges.Reads: 2233