APOLLO BAY is benefiting from a tourism boost as anglers rush to catch southern bluefin tuna weighing up to 136 kilograms.
Fishermen have been catching southern bluefin off Cape Otway from the Nine Mile Reef towards Moonlight Head.
News of the big catches has attracted anglers from Melbourne and parts of western Victoria to Apollo Bay and generated business for the town’s traders.
Almost 50 boats launched off Apollo Bay’s harbour searching for fish on Monday.
Apollo Bay fishing business owner Wayne Diffey said he had weighed at least seven southern bluefin over 100 kilograms since Sunday.
He said Colac fisherman Brandon Cole had made the biggest catch so far, hooking a bluefin weighing 136kg on Wednesday.
“In the last two to three weeks we’ve had big numbers of larger tuna come in,” he said.
“According to the guys that have been out over the last few days; they’re picking up a lot of very big fish up there,” he said.
“Judging by the phone calls I’m getting we’ll be expecting a lot of people coming down this weekend.”
Colac Otway Shire mayor Frank Buchanan said the influx of anglers to Apollo Bay was fantastic for the town’s economy.
“We are getting people from Melbourne and all over the place with boats and tow vehicles worth over $100,000,” he said.
“They are dropping a lot of money in the town and are having a good time.”
“I talked to one group of three people and they’d spent $750 in the town; for a two-day spend, that is huge.”
Cr Buchanan said Apollo Bay was starting to establish a reputation as a quality fishing destination.
“Whether it’s tuna, snapper, gummy shark or flathead, there’s always recreational fishermen down there now when weather permits,” he said.
“It’s fantastic that people are recognising this as a nice little spot.”