Legs set shoulder width apart, arms cradling their prize and a toothy smile from ear to ear – this is the image that has become synonymous withPortland’s fishing scene since the ‘big game’ boom of 2006. The seaside town – long regarded as one of the best kept fishing secrets in the state- is now considered Victoria’s major game fishing destination.
So what is this fisherman holding that has him grinning like a Cheshire cat?
These majestic cold-blooded giants are the southern bluefin tuna and albacore fish.
Following the consistent captures of these two species – which can weigh over 100 kg – six years ago, Portland has been swarmed by anglers desperate to haul in these prized fish.
It’s the prospect of renewing the age old battle between man and fish which draws anglers to Portland in Victoria.
Adrenalin filled encounters between fishermen and the southern bluefin tuna – some reported to have lasted more than three hours – have often resulted in the fish triumphing.
For those who have managed to return to port with the serious game, they have secured a mighty trophy, but more importantly, a mightier story to tell.
Throughout the Easter holidays Portland was inundated with boats and fishermen.
It was out on the continental shelf that most of the bluefin tuna and albacore were hooked, east and west of the ‘horseshoe’ area, in depths of 200 to 1000 metres.
As the season continues to progress the location of the schools of bluefin will change as will their feeding patterns.
Portland fisherman, Chris Hall, gave these tips in South East and West Fishing magazine to prospective anglers.
“There is plenty of bird action happening, so keep your eyes open while trolling along as this is always a good indication that the bluefin are feeding,” Mr Hall said.
“Most fish have been caught on a mixture of lures (including) skirted lures, xrap deep divers, killer vibes and jet head lures.
“Colours have been varying on different days, so once you get your colours sorted out you will find there will be plenty of fish out there for everyone.”
Of late, the majority of bluefin being taken to the cleaning tables have been averaging between 15 and 30 kg, and albacore have ranged in sizes between 10 to 20 kg.
However, sightings of bigger specimen have been estimated to be between 70 to 130 kgs.
You never know, you may be the next fishermen who can’t wipe that smile of success off your face.
If you are without a boat of your own and want a taste of the big game fishing adventure then Portland has a number of local charter operators now in business.
For any fishing and boating needs, the experienced and passionate fishermen at Portland Bait and Tackle have you covered.
Looking for a unique place to lay your head after a long day of fishing? Annesley House is the best accommodation inPortland,Victoria.
The short and long-term impacts tuna fishing will have on Portland is a hotly debated subject.
In the short- term, the boat ramp has been congested – at times, when the tuna are running hot, more than 190 boats have launched at Portland.
However, of far greater importance are the long-term effects this fishing frenzy will have on our coastline.