Tuna on the run
  |  First Published: June 2008

Laguna Bay and beyond has been a fabulous area to wet a line over the past month and this should continue, and even improve. Those hoping for pelagic activity have not been disappointed and those looking for a feed of reef fish have also brought home the bacon.

Hordes of mackerel tuna, northern bluefin tuna and a few spotted and Spanish mackerel have been harassing the baitfish along the coast. There have even been tuna caught by those hardy souls casting slugs off the rocks, and I wouldn’t mind betting a few have been taken along the beaches.

I ventured out the other day and dropped a few squire and sweetlip into the esky before chasing the boiling schools on the way home. Usually I would start such an exercise with a light mono leader and after a few cut-offs move to single strand wire. On this occasion my spin rod, loaded with 20lb Platypus Super Braid already had the wire leader in place from the last sojourn so being my usual lazy self I began a fruitless effort of dozens of casts at the feeding tuna.

At the other end of the boat my companion had a rig with a mono leader and he was into the fish immediately. A procession of dart and mac tuna came to the boat before I sat my lazy butt on the esky and re-rigged with a 30lb Penn leader. Instant success! The baitfish were small and so we used similarly sized slugs and enjoyed plenty of success.

By the time we were ready to go, I just had to have one more cast – this time connecting to a solid fish. My mate casted from the other end and also hooked up, and of course the two fish went in different directions. His was headed to Noosa whilst mine seemed keener on Fiji.

I had no control whatsoever at this stage and as such the skipper (my mate) expertly drove the boat and skull-dragged his fish with it. I sat in hope on the bow losing line every time the boat slowed. Within minutes my mate landed and released another fat mac tuna whilst I continued what was to be a lengthy battle. After 30 minutes or so I felt the hook pull – there was immediate joy as the rod loaded up without fish or me missing a beat. It took over 90 minutes to subdue it!

Another lengthy battle I heard recently was by local Bree Gillham. She encountered a similar fish and won the fight after a lengthy tussle aboard charter boat Trekka II. Mike Fisher, skippering Trekka II, also found willing amberjack and some fabulous coral trout at Double Island Point, which of course will put a smile on any anglers face.

Anglers chasing trout closer to home generally head to Sunshine Reef, however they are more of a by-catch in my opinion, although many will argue this point! Other offshore options at present have included snapper, Moses perch and sweetlip with a few cobia showing here and there.

The Noosa River continues to be a slow affair due to the fresh still draining into it. The run-out tide, which is generally more productive than the run-in, is so discoloured it is hardly worth fishing. Those that have persevered have caught some quality bream and whiting in the lower reaches and there has been a reasonable show of flathead and mangrove jacks.

The jacks have been taking trolled shallow run lures, particularly in Noosa Sound. Live baits have accounted for top quality jacks close to 3kg in Weyba Creek, where there have also been good muddies potted.

Flathead have been responding to drifted pilchards during the run-out phase near the river mouth, possibly following the bait pushed downstream by the dirty fresh water. On the run-in trolled lures have accounted for some good flathead along the Tewantin Reach.

The freshwater scene has been worth pursuing, especially for those chasing bass. Lake Macdonald has rebounded somewhat, however the fish are mostly in the 30-35cm range.

Up at Borumba Dam local stalwart angler Jed Hollis continues to pull quality fish despite reports that the place is fishing poorly. Jed takes his time and fishes small, carefully selected areas hard rather than a few casts here and there before moving on. Small minnow lures have proved the best bet with beetle spins also catching a few willing bass. Most of the fish are in the 35-45cm bracket with the odd thumper of 50cm being subdued among the occasional yellowbelly.

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