THE TUNA :
There are several members of the Tuna family frequenting the local waters. Most are fairly small eg. Striped Tuna and Mackerel Tuna as well as Frigate Mackerel and Bonito all are great sport on light tackle and are also amongst the best baits for Marlin.
Those Tuna important to us as Gamefish are :
Yellowfin Tuna :
Ranging all along our coast Yellowfin are a great Sport fish and probably the toughest fighter of all the Gamefish. Overseas Yellowfin reach over 200 kilo’s. Here the record is 125 kilo’s but a good fish is 75 to 80 kilo’s with 50 kilo fish being quite common.
Yellowfin may be encountered at any time of the year. During the Summer months they are often found by boats trolling out wide looking for Blue Marlin and occasionally in big schools,. During Autumn and through to Spring the fish may be found by trolling but more often cubing is the best method of catching them as it attracts the fish to the boat. Also while cubing there are fringe benefits in the form of Albacore and Mako sharks, I have even caught Striped Marlin whilst cubing.
Bluefin Tuna :
Until about six years ago Bluefin were virtually unheard of around Sydney with only the very occasional one being caught by the commercial fleet. As their numbers increased so did there range. For the last few years we have had a run of ranging from Bluefin 30 kilo’s to 150 kilo’s. They are a very exciting fish to catch as they bite quite freely. The problem is finding them.
The current method is to troll lures, both skirts and minnows, to locate the school. Once located a handful of pilchards thrown overboard will usually bring them to the boat whereupon a pilchard on a hook is used to catch them. I have some great video of 50 to 80 kilo Bluefin swimming under the boat while we catch them on baits and poppers…
Albacore Tuna :
Albacore are not huge tuna the biggest maybe getting to 25 kilo’s but averaging 8 to 10 kilo’s. They are great sport on the right tackle but they are fabulous eating, hence the attraction.
The methods for catching Albacore are the same as for Yellowfin and Bluefin. Consequently while catching Albacore you are likely to encounter the bigger tuna’s . So don’t go too light when fishing for Albacore commonly called ‘The Chicken of the Sea’
The Tuna’s all have one thing in common, they fight hard. Whereas with the Marlin you can use the boat to advantage you can’t with tuna. Tuna fight deep not wasting energy on long runs and make you earn every inch of line.
The Yellowfin in my mind is the hardest fighting of the Tuna’s. The Bluefin because of there size are a challenge. However pound for pound most agree that the Striped tuna is the toughest and we’re lucky they don’t grow to the size of Yellowfin or Bluefin.