Winter looms, fishing hots up

IT might be getting close to winter but the fishing has still been pretty hot in many southern parts of the country.

Shane Mensforth, editor of SA Angler magazine says trailer boat anglers are continuing to catch plenty of school-size southern bluefin off Port MacDonnell. Most who ventured out over the weekend returned to shore with boat limits of tuna in the 12-16kg range, along with some medium albacore and skipjack tuna. A few nice mako sharks also were taken by those who chose to drift and berley. This bodes well for the annual Port Mac Tournament, to be held in a couple of weeks.

Big kingfish continue to dominate sportfishing news off SA’s west coast. Katie Webb’s 39.5kg king, (see accompanying pic) taken south of Rocky Island, was a notable capture for a junior, and there have been plenty of others in the 15-30kg bracket. Most of the bigger fish are falling to live baits fished deep over bommies and reefs, although several of the charter boats specialising in jigging continue to do well. 

The main talk in Victoria has centred around the recent run of big southern bluefin tuna which has seemingly captured the imagination of anyone with a decent sized boat living within a few hundred kilometres (or further) of the ports of Apollo Bay and Portland. Judging by the numbers of boats reported at ramps in these towns over Easter and since, anyone with a decent trailer boat is willing to have a crack at travelling long nautical distances for a crack at the action. Lee Rayner of the Fishing Fever tackle store told Fisho this morning he just returned from Apollo Bay and reports good numbers of big SBT are still being caught wide of the coast. The largest taken in the past few days was a 143kg fish.

Rayner aslo reports Portland is producing plenty of school-sized SBT in the 10-17kg range. 

Still in the south, over the border into NSW, well known specialist guide Stuie Hindson of Aussie Fish Estuary Adventures reports champagne inshore fishing to be had on the NSW South Coast. Hindson’s clients have recently enjoyed exceptional lure fishing at Tuross for good numbers of flathead, with some being monsters nudging 80cm. Hindson says there’s been some great bream fishing to be had at Tuross and Mallacoota on hard body lures. He recently spent a couple of days at Mallacoota with Fisho’s Pat Brennan where they accounted for a total of over 170 bream caught & released over three memorable sessions. Ten bream over a kilo were taken during the action-packed breamfest.

Greg Reid of Bay & Basin Sportfishing reports that St Georges Basin has also been turning it on for bream, with excellent numbers being taken on both hard body lures and soft plastics, especially scented SPs such as GULP Craws. As well as bream, Reid says there have been some real surprises in store for lure throwers, with encounters with monster tailor and even snapper to 4kg becoming commonplace.

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A 90cm NSW South Coast tailor taken, unfortunately, while the cameras weren’t rolling during filming for an episode of Fishing Australia.  

Scotty Lyons of Southern Sydney Fishing Tours reports the odd kingfish can still be caught in Botany Bay, mostly for those who go to the trouble of catching fresh bait. A sure sign winter is getting close is the run of silver trevally that’s getting into gear in the Bay – Lyons syas his clients have been catching good numbers of trevs around the Drums. The odd flathead can still be caught out off Towra Point on soft plastics, while trolling at first light is still prodcuing bonito and tailor in Yarra Bay.

Sadly, the numbers of wayward species such as spotted mackerel that had made appearances in Botany Bay and Sydney Harbour over summer seem to have departed the scene for warmer waters.

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A spottie mackerel taken in Botany Bay earlier in the year.

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