Bluefin tuna in Victoria primarily means the west coast except for the odd abnormality. Usually for me and the guys I fish with that means Portland or over the border. A chance to fish closer to home at Warrnambool with former local and good mate Andrew Smith saw Dave O'Brien's blue Stabicraft loaded up and heading west. At about a 3 and a bit hour drive from town it was a pretty welcome respite from the usual 5 hours. Word was that the fish were not very far out from port which was sensational news. Easing into town for a 'wake me up' coffee, we launched at a pretty leisurely hour and we were most pleased to be met with some bird activity almost immediately around the 30 meter line. It only takes one tern or gannet after all to show you where the fish may be...No joy for us initially, however once we hit 50 meter line and beyond there were birds everywhere. Tuna started to pop up here and there however they very quickly sounded, quite typical of tuna on a full moon and to make it tougher they were herding and feeding on whitebait and quite small sauries. Being such a tiny morsel whitebait can cause the tuna to get 'missile lock' and be very hard to tempt on 'standard' sized skirts and bibbed minnows. All the early strikes came on soft baits, the old favorite Atomic Guzzler 7 inch stick bait rigged on a worm hook worked a treat being run well back skipping across the surface. As the day wore on some of the other lures got a look in with the old barometer - Rapala X Raps getting in on the act, can you have a tuna spread without one just past the prop wash? Southern Ocean Lures Spartans and Snipers were both in on the action as well as Marlin Magic Snyper and Ahi Pussy which all claimed multiple scalps. The day resulted in 14 hook ups and 11 fish boated with 6 of those going back with a tag in them. The surge on the much maligned Warrnambool boat ramp was quite tame on the day and the retrieve was not an issue at all. The locals will either love me or hate me for saying this but this location as a game fishing port has been off the radar for too long and whilst the continental shelf is a touch further out than those ports west of it, quite often there is no need to go that far. Whilst the ramp is completely usable in good conditions and if not silted up, when and if it gets its new safe boating harbour watch this place come on the map. Already being a family friendly town with plenty on offer aside from fishing, with some good lighting, cleaning facilities, toilets, better parking arangements and of course, a safe harbour you will see this town shine as a 'go to' fishing location for mad keen fisher people and their familys as well. If you are local to the area, or are a Victorian game fishing aficionado you can do your bit to ensure this necessary development occurs the right way; make sure you have your say here
Warrnambool ramp on a low surge day
But a second later where did the water go! Improved facilities are needed.