Bluefin mania continues

Brown Dog!

Here we are into June and the game-fishing season is well and truly in full swing in the south, but not just the south. Over the past month we have seen many albacore in the 15 - 20 kilo range caught off St.Helens - not to mention the huge Australian record bluefin that weighed in at an incredible 153 kilo's. But it is in the south of the state that anglers are really having a ball!
Eaglehawk Neck is on fire as those anglers that fished the recent Southern Bluefin Championships found out. I am not aware of a single boat that didn't land multiple bluefin for the competition and organisers even ran out of "catch & release" tags on the first day, certainly the best competition to have been held out of "The Neck" for many years.

Over the past couple of weeks the fishing has continued in the same vein with one boat even landing a wahoo, or dolphin fish as it is more commonly known. Although there have been wahoo found washed up on our coastline before, this is the first one known to have been caught in Tasmanian waters on a rod and reel which just goes to show what a diverse and productive fishery we have right on our doorstep.
There is a huge amount of baitfish in the area at the moment made up predominantly of redbait and small squid. This bait is sure to hold tuna in the area for weeks to come so don't be fooled on bright sunny days when the fish "stay down" and give the impression that there are no fish left - it's times like this to run a darker coloured "Mack Bait" or Halco Trembler at the front of your lure spread - or be radical and try something different! The bulk of these fish are currently in the 20 kilo range so have some fun, locate them on the sounder and pull out the "knife jigs" - tuna are great fun on spinning tackle!!!
I have even managed to get hold of some super sized soft plastics in a dark colour branded "YUM" which are going over the side soon for the first time just for something different - bluefin on soft plastics, that's different!!!
When the conditions are ideal - cloudy and overcast with a bit of surface chop - the fish are coming up and can be seen "busting" the surface everywhere - it's times like this that the redbait imitating Meridian Super Donger lure (affectionately known as "the brown dog") comes into its own and has been responsible for many a fishes demise over the past two or three weeks - if you don't have one in your tackle box, you might do better to stay home and do the gardening!
Pedra Branca, off the southern tip of Tassie has also been (and still is) fishing well and although the average size of fish is currently only around the same 20 kilo mark the bigger fish that this area is well renowned for won't be far away.
Last season we had bluefin right through until the first week in August which is probably the latest season we have ever had - this season is shaping up to be the same so it looks like there will be ample fish to keep us out of mischief until the trout season opens again.
Beat the winter blues, rug up and go and get hooked up - IT"S FUN !
John Orchard.

Bluefin Mania - footnote (Thursday 24 May)
Although the weather was too rough to throw my "YUM" soft plastic over the side - thanks to a howling northerly wind, we still had a ball. Having traveled quickly down to the Hippolyte Rock we put out four lines, trolled fifty yards, got a four strike and landed the lot - with only two people on board our day was going to be over before it started so we let one go! We put out two lines, trolled thirty yards and got two more - both of which were released so that we could keep fishing - you can't pack up and go home after only 30 minutes!
By lunch we'd hooked 19 fish, the seals helped themselves to 6; we landed 11, and broke two more off trying to land them on locked drags before the seals took them. A great morning fishing. Go the Brown Dog!

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