Big-time tuna hit!
  |  First Published: April 2016

The weather has started to cool down but the fishing remains hot! Apart from all the wind we’ve had, the fishing has been great with plenty to go around. The dreaded southeasterlies have caused havoc – it seems every weekend the winds would pick up to 20 knots. Luckily there have been some breaks lately and anglers have made the most of it with some trophy fish!


Autumn is a great time to target big snapper. A quick look at my fishing log, the majority of my bigger snapper have come from April and May while fishing the deeper artificial reefs. Chase some snapper over the next few months, trust me – it will definitely be worth the time and effort.

Anchoring up or drifting close to the structure at Harry Atkinson Artificial Reef is a good way to hook a big red. These areas always fish better when there is less boat traffic around, so try to get to your spot early or even try for an afternoon/evening trip while everyone else is heading home. If you are unfamiliar with the area, a quick Google search of Harry Atkinson Artificial Reef will put you onto the Department of National Parks website which has all the GPS marks and some good information about the reef itself.

There have been hordes of baitfish around lately, so throw a bait jig over the side to get a few live-baits. You will see the bait on your sounder as you drift near the structure, live-baits for snapper can produce some big fish! If you prefer lures, the 5” ZMan StreakZ in baby bass colour has been a consistent performer in Moreton Bay and I always make sure to keep a packet in the boat!


The mulloway have been around, but unfortunately not in any great numbers. Here one day and gone the next seems to be the common track! My top tip is to keep a close eye on your sounder to ensure you get your lures down to them. Peel Island Artificial Reef has produced the odd fish for anglers willing to put in the time. Lure selection isn’t critical, just be sure to get your lure down to them. Adding a bit of scent to the lure can help entice a bite when they are being stubborn.


I have been having a lot of fun lately chasing these big speedsters around the bay. They are hard to pass up when you see the massive surface strikes, water splashing everywhere and baitfish fleeing for their lives! It’s pure chaos but gets the heart racing! They have slowly worked their way into the southern bay and big schools were around the Tangalooma and Mud Island area but have now moved further south towards Peel Island. The downside to chasing these fish is that they can be frustrating. Some days they will spook very easy and as soon as you get within casting range, they are gone.

So what’s the best approach to catch one? Keep an eye out for diving birds, these are the best giveaway of tuna in the area. The tuna will ball the bait up and then push it to the surface before they feed. The birds have a good view of this so pay close attention to their movements.

Always make sure you approach the fish slowly, too fast and you will scare them off. If you take your time, the fish will stay around longer and you will give yourself a better chance of landing a cast among the mayhem. Stickbaits, soft plastics and slugs are all viable options for lures. Some days they prefer one over the other, so mix it up if you are struggling to get the bites.

If you get a chance, get out there and look for the tuna! Watching barrel-sized fish chase down a lure sure is exciting! If you catch one, send me a photo through to --e-mail address hidden-- and I will do my best to get it into the magazine!

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