Fishing Yarns

It was a Labor Day long weekend, and in my opinion it’s probably the best long weekend on the whole calendar to head out for a fish. It's the time of year where you have the largest variety of species to target in Victoria. My good mate, Benny Weston and I planned to go for a fish on the Monday, until I received a phone call from Benny; “THE BARRELS HAVE ROCKED UP AT PORTLAND”.

And that was it, Monday's original plan was quickly scrapped, and all we could think about Tuna! The plane was; head down Sunday night due to prior commitments), arrive in Portland at 1am, swag it for 4-5 hours and head out and first light! Seamless right?

Sunday evening rolls around, myself and young gun Jack Anderson met at Benny's house and that is exactly what we did!

It was a rough night's sleep but I managed to get 3 hours in. Once packing up the swag we woke up to 20 boats at the ramp with the same plan - shattering. We launched the boat in the dark and as we left Portland the sun poked its head out! 

We headed towards Cape Bridgewater where reports of bait in the masses had been seen and let me tell you they were not wrong! Football field, after football field there was more bait than any bird, seal, dolphin or bluefin tuna could ever imagine. 

We quickly got down to business going from work up to work up pulling lures through bait but to our surprise no action! Jack got a call from one of his mates, they were on a double and soon after calls over the radio from other boats to stay clear of each other as boats were hooking up one by one!

Thinking on their toes, Benny and Jack thought let's get the spreader bar out the back in shotgun to entice the bite. Jack got another phone call from his mate to say that one had landed on the deck and they lost the other. At this time we were trawling between work ups and I'm not sure what it is about being on the phone sometimes but all of a sudden we got a blind bite. 

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ fish on, and on the spreader bar!

Lucky for me, Captain Benny looked at me and Said Buckle up mate! I quickly shuffled around the front grabbing the harness and got to work. I managed the fish whilst Jack finished strapping me in. The fish was cruising. It didn't seem like a particularly traditional fight and I think it had something to do with the spreader bar. I fought the fish for about 20 minutes and got it boat side. It was super tricky handling for Jack with the spreader bar and as soon as we touched it he took off and was obviously still very green!

We then entered another phase. A dog fight phase! Unlike the first 20 minutes where the fish was on top of the water after getting him boat side he took off deep and dogged it out under the boat. Another 25 minutes, 100 pinwheels later we saw the fish rise to the surface again, this time well prepared with Jack on the leader and Benny leaving the helm to set the gaff. 

Bang Bennys gaff was in. I grabbed the second gaff and stuck the fish also! WE HAD DONE IT! A few hi-fives and a few more cheers we opened the Tuna gate and in came the fish. The fish was on the deck and there were celebrations all round. My first barrel and couldn't be happier. This model went 76kg and was quickly bled and put on ice. 

The fish was fileted and separated thanks to Bachar Houli for the freezer bags you saved us!

The fish has fed at least 10 families and still more sashimi to come.

Until next time, tight lines.