SOUTH­ERN BLUEFIN RE­VIVAL

QantasLink Sprit - - Fishing -

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

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