Targeting Tuna

Game fishing for tuna can be both rewarding and punishing, start times are much later; 7am on the wharf and out of the heads by 7:30am. This season I've targeted tuna three times jumping aboard with "Ambition" and "Wahoo" out of Sydney, these two operators are some of the best in the business and they work hard to get us onto fish. On our first trip the game plan was power out 20 miles, then depoly the spread of lures and troll to Browns Mountain and beyond. We brought ourselves 12kg of frozen pilchards for when we descided to change tact and commence cubing.

The morning was very uneventful, except for a pod of dolphins swimming along the boat, which I at first glance mistook for a school of hungry Yellowfin Tuna busting up. After 4 hours of trolling we got to a spot that our skipper had caught a few the day before, we wound in the lures and started a burley trail of pilchards. My weapon of choice for this application is the Tiagra 30W spooled with 350m of 65lb braid, a topshot of 300m of 50lb Monofillament line, to 300lb swivel, 1.5 meters of 100 lb Moimoi fluro carbon ending at a snelled Tackle International 5/0 Octopus Circle Hook. The drag is set to 8kg, approximately 1/3 of the strength of the line, I then pin the Pilchard through the top of the head and out the bottom of the jaw; when using a circle hook it is imperative that the point of the hook is exposed.

Once everything is rigged up I flick the ratchet on, place the rod in the rod holder, toss the pillie into water and qucikly start to pull line off the reel, ensuring to keep the line constantly slack. This technique ensures the bait will drift nicely down the burley trail, if the line becomes tight at any stage the bait will rise to the top of the water and the only thing you'll fight is the seagulls. We cubed for about an hour before a Tiagra started screaming, Collin quickly sprung into action, he struck and bang he was on. 5 minutes into the fight a nice 5kg Albacore was boated and we were all releaved that there were some fish about. As soon as Collin's fish it hit the boat, the rest of us quickly depolyed our next baits, feeding line to quickly get them into the zone; 10 minutes later Mikko's Tiagra starts singing and after a fair fight Albicore number two weighing 15 kg was in the boat. The next thirty minutes brought nothing and I was starting to think that today was not going to be my day, then it happened an anglers worst nightmare a tangle with another fisho's braid. I managed to get my line back to the swivel, I cut it to release the braid; but I sat in the game chair slightly frustrated. It's times like this you can't let the failure get to you as that trophy fish could be around the corner, but the only way you'll catch it is by having your line in the water. So I tied my trusty knott, tested it and sent out another pilchard. I had only fed out approximately 20m of line before it was my Tiagra's turn to scream and boy did it scream, this was the biggest fish I had ever connected to and after the long LBG season I had where I didn't turn a reel, it wasn't going anywhere but the boat!

It took 3 or 4 good runs giving big headshakes too, with swell tossing the boat around and the force of this fish pulling, I was glad to have Collin holding me from behind; as few times I felt like was gonna swim with the fish. The battle went backward and forwards for 15 minutes until I finally saw colour and that's when I felt the pressure to land my very first Yellowfin Tuna. Once it saw the boat it took two more darting runs one under the boat and another towards the back, where I think I slipped a disk trying to hold on. Finally on its 5th pass my gaffman got it, I took a step back and allowed gaffman number two a clear shot. As they raised it into the boat all I could say was "Is it in the boat" and then the big "YEOW" when it hit the deck. I'd finally landed my fist game fish and to have it be the prized Yellowfin Tuna weighing in at 30kg + was an amazing feeling. As we all caught our breath, from the front of the boat we hear Trio yell "I'm on" and it was battlestations again for the crew. Trio battled his fish for 10 minutes, navigating around the boat as he struggled to stay aboard with the rising swell; finally he landed his 25kg Yellowfin and the whole boat errupted into cheer.

It was great to see that every angler landed a fish, the two other trips I took this season resulted in donuts for all, expensive donuts at that! Cathching such an amazing fish has only fueled my desire to catch an even bigger one next time...bring it on!

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