THE TUNA FISHING PHENOMENON....by PORT FAIRY & REGION VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE
The Port Fairy tuna fishing phenomenon began in 2006 when an 85kg Southern Bluefin Tuna was caught in 550 metres of water about 60km south west of Port Fairy. At the time, this was the biggest Southern Bluefin Tuna ever caught in Victorian waters. Word quickly spread and the Victorian game fish revolution began.
Over the last decade the South-West Victorian coastline has received an incredible run of school-sized Southern Bluefin Tuna. With the local waters around Port Fairy offering year round fishing for these prized fish.It’s not uncommon to catch tuna to over 100kg in weight, with the possibility of encountering a world record sized tuna. In 2018, 12-year-old Tait Missen, while fishing with his father, caught a 143.4kg tuna off Port Fairy's coast, hauling in a new under-16 world record!
Whilst there is excellent fishing off Port Fairy all year round, the peak tuna season is from January to June. During this time the boat ramp in the Moyne River becomes increasingly busy and you’ll often see a hive of activity around the Griffith St riverbank with many locals and inquisitive tourists coming to see what the fisherman are landing at the wharf. Other game fish species commonly encountered at this time of year include Mako Shark and Yellowtail Kingfish.
In the summer the run of Southern Bluefin Tuna seem to prefer the inshore coastal waters, where the water is warm and baitfish are in abundance. These fish are usually in the 10-30kg size range, so it’s a great opportunity to land a big fish close to shore.Traditionally, the autumn and winter fish are found further out in depths of 45-70 metres right through to the continental shelf in over 400m of water, which is out about 65km from Port Fairy.
Southern Bluefin Tuna are a prized fish to catch because they have an extremely powerful, streamlined body and they’re a great fighter. They are also a great tasting fish due to their fat content and red flesh and are renowned especially in Japanese cuisine.
If you’re heading out into the Southern Ocean please carefully check your safety gear, your fishing gear, fishing regulations and most importantly the weather.
Game fishing charters are available all year in Port Fairy. A weekend away catching tuna with a bunch of mates is certainly a lot of fun! If you have never experienced that adrenalin-packed, line screaming run, you don’t know what you’re missing out on.