Barrels keep rolling in; big southern bluefin tuna still being caught
THE earlier-than-expected arrival of bait fish, good weather and warmer water has seen an extended run of southern bluefin tuna throughout autumn, much to the avail of anglers, charter operators and businesses.
It is not unusual to see more than 100 boats launching from Portland in a single day to chase large tuna, colloquially called barrels or jumbos when weighing more than 100 kilograms, from as early as March and across to the start of winter this past weekend.
Hugh Johnstone, 17, a keen fisherman and staff member of Portland Bait and Tackle, said now is as good as ever to land a barrel.
“This time of year you get the jumbo-size tuna,” he said.
“You generally get two runs each year: first in April, which generally goes for a month or two, then in August, which can run for up to three months.
“The second run has really established itself in the past three or four years.
“This year, the April run has lasted a lot longer because we have had heaps of bait fish pushing through; the currents and the water temperature have helped too.”