Portland barrels – XL Southern Blue Fin Tuna

What an amazing bite that just seems to be continuing to get better! Even though the School sized Bluefin of 12-20kg can be caught literally from January to Sept, the prime time to catch the jumbo Bluefin over 100kg is traditionally Mid April. Around mid-August 2015 a couple of good sized southern Bluefin Tuna got caught at Portland in Western Victoria and this got people looking for ‘barrels’.  What happened next can only be described as world class fishing. As word spread that the jumbos were in town, anglers raced to the Western Victoria Port town, and with good reason to.

Called ‘barrels’ because they resemble the shape of a wine barrel, it’s becoming a daily occurrence that fisherman are hooking, loosing and landing the true giants – with some anglers having multiple strikes during a single day.

I was lucky enough to get down there myself last weekend, and after seeing a few big fish hooked around us on the Saturday, our luck changed on the Sunday when my Paukula Sprocket lure got inhaled out of the port rigger. The first run was nothing short of amazing. There was no mistaking what had taken a liking to my Sprocket! 24kg line howled off my Tiagra 50w like it was in free spool, I pushed the drag lever up to 13kg and it seemed to do nothing to the rate of line loss!

We got a look at my fish quite early in fight, about 20mins he popped up and we managed to get close to him, in awe of the sheer size of the fish powering along the surface, he soon decided he didn’t like the look of us, and promptly emptied the spool of line again.

After a lot of work on both ends of the line, about 4 blistering runs, and a lot of winding on my behalf we finally had the beast at the side of the boat. He was beyond exhausted after our battle and I certainly had him beat. It wasn’t until once we got him on board, which wasn’t an easy task in itself, that we could really appreciate the size of him, his head, the girth of his belly and his giant tail – it was one impressive fish to see up close.

Later on he pulled the scales down to 109kg, and a fork length est. around 170cm.

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While tomorrow is the first of Sept and the start of Spring, the bait that’s holding these fish doesn’t seem to be thinning out, and word is lots more big fish coming from the West there shouldn’t be any reason why we can’t see this great fishing continue well into September!

Best big Bluefin bite ever? The local charter operators are certainly saying so, last time I checked there had been just over 85 Bluefin around 100kg weighed since the middle of this month. How big? Well just yesterday the pending state record of 164.3kg Bluefin was weighed – only 3kg off the all tackle IGFA World record. How long before someone cracks the 200kg mark? Surely there is one swimming around out there somewhere.


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