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Small windows of chance produce
  |  First Published: March 2014



The fishing weather window has still been closed due to the persistent strong southeasterlies we’ve had for the last 5 weeks. It has made getting out on the bay very hard. Anyone that has lucked out and had a day off on one of the rare good weather days, have done well.

I am hoping that with a new month comes some good weather to give us the opportunity to get out on the bay and start chasing some fish again.

March is always a fun month on the bay, it is generally the start of the longtail season and, if the size of the fish up the coast is anything to go by, we will see some big specimens this year. I caught my PB longtail off the Sunshine Coast late January and it weighed in at around 28kg. If that doesn't get you excited about the season coming then I'm not sure what will!

When targeting longtail tuna on lures most people would first think slugs, then probably plastics a close second. My favourite technique for targeting longtails is casting stickbaits. There is nothing better then finding a school of tuna feeding hard, casting a stickbait over the top of them and skipping it along the top and seeing the lure get monstered and ending with a big screaming run. Then the tussle begins.

People argue that whenever you are targeting tuna it is visual but I say that targeting them on stickbaits is even more visual. I tend to only throw stickbaits when I can see that the fish are feeding on larger bait. This is because the lures are between 100-120mm, so if the fish are feeding on 50mm bait then your chances are minimal of hooking them on a big lure.

There are a few different techniques that work when using stickbaits for tuna and it just depends on the situation as to what technique you use. The first would be burning the lure along the surface of the water so you can wind the lure and skip it along the water imitating a fleeing garfish/baitfish.

The second technique is a walk-the-dog action; twitch the lure side to side. This isn't a fast retrieve but it can be worked fast if needed.

The third retrieve that I use is a sweeping retrieve. By giving the rod big long sweeps your lure will have a swimming style action.

The retrieve that you decide to use also depends on the lure that you choose. There are a few different types of stick baits; floating, slow sinking and fast sinking. Floating stickbaits can be skipped along the surface or walk-the-dog style retrieve. The slow sinking lures are a good all rounder as they can be retrieved all three ways, the only difference is that the walk-the-dog retrieve is sub-surface not along the top.

Some of my favourite lures for longtails are the Maria Bullchop (slow sinking) and the Maria Blues Code (slow and fast sinking). There are many others too but these two lures are my favourites.

I hope the weather comes good for an extended period of time so that we can get out and smack a few fish. Until next month.

1

Stick baits are a viable option on longtail tuna. The water exploded when this 28kg model hit this skipping Maria Bullchop.

2

This fish also fell victim to a stick bait. This was the author’s girlfriend’s first encounter with a longtail and definitely an exciting way to introduce her to fishing.

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