Historic Port Fairy is a 20 minute drive out of Warrnambool on the way to Portland. The focal point of the town is the Moyne River estuary and the Fisherman’s Wharf area which is often lined with commercial fishing boats.
The boat ramp is located within the river and access to the ocean is easy and safe, provided the correct course is maintained until clear of the reef and any breaking waves on the right as you head out. Parking at the ramp is limited during busy times. The main feature out from Port Fairy is Lady Julia Percy Island. It’s home to a large seal colony and the scene of most yellowtail kingfish activity in the region.
The continental shelf is accessible to boats departing from Port Fairy, with the journey averaging 55km depending on the line chosen. Fishing depths of 200m to 500m are extremely productive, especially early in the season when albacore are usually encountered and the bluefin are quite reliable. Come late May, June and July, schools of bluefin are found closer in, from the 40m line and deeper. Several spots out from Port Fairy, wide of Lady Julia Percy Island, across towards Portland Bay to the west and back towards Warrnambool, are consistent for tuna fishers.
In some seasons, larger barrel tuna show up out from Port Fairy, predictably coinciding with large concentrations of baitfish around Lady Julia Percy Island.
The summer inshore run of tuna can see large schools of fish in extremely close, sometimes within easy reach from the Port Fairy harbour around Killarney and out from the passage in the area known as the Water Tower.
Port Fairy is a prime location for kingfish with Killarney, The Crags and Lady Julia Percy Island reasonably reliable. The island is one of the most consistent places to encounter kingies on the west coast. A popular method is slow trolling squid strips and at Lady Julia Percy Island this is often done with the aid of a downrigger or inline lead sinkers. Baits of live slimy mackerel and yakka are also effective.
On the deeper ledges, jigging can work well and casting large soft plastic lures and stick baits can produce exciting action.
If you’re targeting the edge of the continental shelf and beyond there are good grounds off Port Fairy with canyons towards Portland. Expeditions this wide can be best combined with tuna fishing on the way out or back. These journeys can even include mako shark fishing, which is popular in these deep waters.
Click here for information on Port Fairy Griffiths Street boat ramp.