SOUTHERN BLUEFIN REVIVAL
The southern bluefin tuna has made a spectacular comeback and is now common all around the southern half of the country. Portland, in Victoria’s South West, has experienced a tourism boom on the back of tuna fishing, especially in autumn and winter. The NSW South Coast, around Eden and Merimbula, also has great fishing in winter when the tuna push up the coast.
However, one of the most impressive places to chase this game fish is the small seaside village of Eaglehawk Neck on Tasmania’s south-east coast. Bluefin are almost a year-round proposition here, peaking in late summer, and can be found within two kilometres of the harbour. With its backdrop of cliffs that plunge into the Southern Ocean, it’s a stunning place to fish.
NOW CATCH ONE!
To improve your chances, troll a mix of deep-diving Halco Laser Pros and small skirted lures while travelling at six to eight knots (11 to 15 kilometres an hour). You can expect to hook fish weighing between 15 and more than 100 kilograms; once you do, its struggles will attract the rest of the school, creating mayhem on deck as every rod comes to life.
The only downside to chasing tuna? The rougher the weather, the better they bite – which just adds to the challenge. There are several charter operators in the area, including Personalised Sea Charters (personalisedsea charters.com.au), which runs full-day game-fishing tours for up to four anglers.
Giant trevally are a favourite sportfish in the Coral Sea (above); southern bluefin tuna have come back in huge numbers