Tuna Tricks

There are few things more exciting than catching big tuna. Offshore expert Al McGlashan looks at the tricks of the trade to get you to connect to some jumbo tuna.

I have to admit I am a diehard tuna fisho’, while I love my marlin and snapper there is something about tuna that makes them special. I am not sure whether it is the awesome power on that first run or the excitement of watching a school of jumbo sized tuna smashing and crashing bait on the surface as excited seabirds wheel about above. Either way when the tuna are running everyone gets excited.

In Australia there are a number of species of tuna from the ever popular yellowfin to the deepwater bigeye or the tropical dogtooth. However for anglers it is the yellowfin and bluefin that reign supreme, but we can’t forget the humble old albacore either.

Yellowfin are coming right along the East and West Coasts of Australia, but the biggest fish traditionally come from NSW waters, especially the South Coast. Potentially growing to more than 200 kilos fish over 80 kilos are considered trophies these days. A fast growing fish yellowfin can reach the 100 kilo mark in less than 8 years in the right conditions.

The Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) on the other hand is a much slower growing fish living with more than double the lifespan of its yellowfined cousin. They also grow to well in excess of the 200 kilo in Australian waters. Once prolific the bluefin have suffered heavily at the hands of the commercial operators and almost disappeared a decade ago.

However they have made an impressive comeback in recent years, in particular it is the jumbo sized fish (100kg) that are turning up in ever increasing numbers much to the delight of anglers. Common from Albany to Tasmania the hot spots are the Shipwreck Coast in Western Victoria and the southern half of Tasmania.

The albacore is often seen as the poor cousin in the shadows of their bigger brothers however they are still a great tuna in their own right. Found right around the world albies can grow to 30 kilos or more but average less than half that size in Australian waters. Preferring temperate waters well offshore they are most common in southern NSW, Tasmania as well as Western Victorian waters.