As we anxiously await the arrival of the Bluefin tuna we are experiencing, or were experiencing a good run of Yellowfin.
Over the last few weeks Yellowfin tuna running between 25 and 70 kilo’s have been caught off Sydney. These fish are ranging over a wide area having been caught from wide and North of the ‘Bait Station’ all the way down the coast. Consequently they take a lot of finding and the changing conditions at sea every day don’t make it any easier. However once located the fun begins… if you’re lucky.
I was out on Sunday in ideal conditions. As it happened the bite had been early. However as we arrived there was a boat fighting so we set the gear and started searching. Over the next hour or so we saw several bust-ups but they were over so quickly we couldn’t get to them in time. Eventually a school made a mistake and busted only 50 metres ahead of us. With all eyes watching and wishing the fish to bite expectations were high.
First the rigger went off then the flat line and while the guys were
clearing the other lines the Shot gun took off. A triple with very inexperienced anglers. After the initial confusion the anglers and the tuna settled in with all three circling under the boat – a recipe for disaster. Fortunately Rob and Frank managed to keep the lines from crossing. Sadly we lost one of the fish as it was about to be gaffed when it made a run under the boat and caught the rudder. In retrospect it probably helped making the other two fish easier to land. The guys were ecstatic with two 35 kilo fish to take home. Since there was no further action in the area I started trolling for home which was several hours away.
A short way from Browns I saw a huge school of Sauries take off and much to my surprise as I turned to chase them a school of Mahi Mahi took to the air close behind them. Quite a spectacular sight but not one that I have ever seen in mid-winter.
I went out again on Monday but this time left earlier hoping to catch that early bite of the day before. Other boats were already working the area and the news wasn’t good. The water had cooled and I don’t think anyone out there had seen anything.
When we arrived where we did indeed find cooler water and more current. Shortly after we arrived a trailer boat hooked up on a triple not far from us. We and several other boats started working the area but all to no avail. Surprisingly George from Wahoo Charters called up saying he’d just caught a 6 kilo Mahi Mahi. I then moved a bit wider and had a strike on the Shotgun. All I saw was a flash of blue and assumed we had also hooked a Mahi Mahi. Then a bill appeared followed by the rest of a Striped Marlin, unbelievable. Sadly we only had it for a few minutes before we parted ways. The only saving grace for the day was when we landed a good sized Albacore.
I did hear later in the day of a boat out a fair bit wider finding schools of Yellowfin but it was much too far for us to go.
So we still await the arrival of the Bluefin Tuna which seem to be holding up to the South though there are occasional reports of closer fish.