The tuna trek to Southern Bay
  |  First Published: April 2008

April is a time of change in South East Queensland, especially throughout the Southern Bay. Traditional winter species such as bream and snapper really start to make their presence felt, while mackerel (not that we have seen many this season) and jacks start to disappear from the local scene.

Tuna season is also in its prime this month, so there will be some great longtail fishing to be had. Indications are positive for a good season with some substantial schools of longtail and mac tuna working their way down from the Northern Bay following the large schools of baitfish.

There is also the chance of picking up a good yellowfin tuna or Spanish mackerel, though these are much less common.


There are a range of tactics that can be used to fool the bay longtail. Everything from bait to lure and fly can all be used effectively.

When bait fishing, try live yellowtail, herring or slimy mackerel drifted along the edge of the sandbanks around Harry Atkinsons, the Rous Channel and the Amity Banks. If you have the space on board to run a number of outfits, try suspending some baits under a balloon, while placing others down deep near the bottom – for every tuna you see busting up on the surface, there is another hunting down deep.

If you are tossing soft plastics around, 5-7” long Zoom and Assassin plastics matched with 3/8oz TT heavy wire jighead works wonders. Popular colours vary, but albino shad, crystal shad and pink diamond are some of the proven performers in the Assassin range. When the fish are busting up on the surface, twitching one past the nose of a longtail rarely gets passed up. Otherwise, if the fish are up and down and not staying on the surface, then slow hopping them in mid-water, as if you were chasing snapper, is a more effective method.

Fly anglers use much the same techniques as the soft plastic anglers; they just have to get a little closer for casting at the fish. Ideal flies include Polar Beans and Surf Candies for when the fish are feeding on top and larger patterns, such as Deceivers and Bush Pigs, also work great.

Tackle for longtail varies depending on the method being used. For bait fishing, a 10-15kg overhead or spin outfit will handle just about any tuna swimming in the bay. For soft plastics, a similar weight spin outfit with a light tip and powerful butt section will suffice. Some of the more popular rods for the job include the Egrell S10, Loomis Pro Blue and the Zenaq MYS Twitch. In fly gear a 10-12# outfit with an intermediate sink line is ideal.

Reels need to hold at least 300m of braid backing and be smooth enough to withstand sustained runs under firm drag settings.

Snapper and bream

It is also a great month for a snapper or bream around the Southern Bay Islands. Snapper will be commonly found around the drop-offs and ledges where they fall into 5-8m of water. Coochiemudlo, Peel and the northern end of Macleay Island are all good places to try.

The bream are mostly found up in the shallows, right up into the edges of the mangroves. Any shallow shoreline or island in the bay is fair game for bream, but the areas that feature rock and gravel sections tend to hold greater numbers of quality fish.

For more information, give me a call on 07 3207 9965 or --e-mail address hidden-- . Alternatively, drop in and see us at our new store in Victoria Point! We are now located next door to Pattons ‘Big Gun’ Butchers in the Town Centre at Victoria Point, just off the Redland Bay Road. Our range of specialist fishing tackle has increased with the move to the big new store, so come in and check out our local and imported brands.

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