Heading for the horizon
  |  First Published: September 2008

Last month’s report alluded to some good captures of yellowfin tuna so armed with that knowledge, I decided to take my own advice and head to the horizon.

Multitudes of bird activity from 40 fathoms and beyond had us high with anticipation as we motored east in search of the first drop-off. As we passed the 70-fathom mark some birds circling, rather than just cruising, prompted the throttle to be eased back and a lure spread set.

We decided to run a mix of lures to cover our bases and were only just starting to relax when three rods loaded up and quickly emptied their line loads.

Matt's blue Squidgy Jelly Baby on 24kg crossed Rowan's hard-bodied offering on 15kg, quickly leaving him to retrieve limp line, albeit about 50m shorter.

Ten minutes later, Ro's fish won its freedom when the hooks pulled. Meanwhile, my fish had finally slowed its first run with half a spool of 24kg gone, even though the tiny little purple and black Zuiker was intended for an albacore.

Another 20 minutes of tough rod work and we finally had colour on a solid tuna. With the trace finally at the rod tip, the call was for the bigger gaff and all was looking sweet but as often happens, just when you think you have won it all goes pear-shaped.

The hook pulled with the fish a mere metre from the gaff and we painfully watched the barrel of a fish slowly disappear into the depths.

The following eight hours’ trolling proved fruitless and needless to say, that nights barbeque was a fish-free affair.

The next weekend proved even more frustrating with reasonable reports over the radio of 15kg 'fin being boated, as well as a 75kg model further south.

A mid-week sortie for Phil Petridis and Alex Naoumidis, however, produced the goods when the boys hooked a leviathan in 600 fathoms.

Unfortunately the fish ate a trolled skirt fished off a popping outfit designed for stopping GTs. Despite the heavy braid and Saltiga threadline being pushed to the limit, it took both of them close to two hours to get the fish to the boat, only to have an ordinary tail gaff shot tear out and the tuna nearly spool them once more.

By the time the gaff went in for the second time, the fish had almost notched up two-and-a-half hours and wore them both out. At 53kg it certainly made them work much harder than it should have, especially considering Phil's biggest is 78kg and was boated in 20 minutes.

At the time of writing, albacore have been scarce but some southern blues to 50kg have made sporadic appearances.


Estuary fishing is still worth a go with black bream and estuary perch about in reasonable numbers. Tuross and the upper Clyde have been producing some nice fish for those willing to put in lots of casts.

Often in late Winter you come across big schools of perch in deep water if you have a quality sounder. They can be pretty dopey in cold water and can take a long time to respond to any lure you throw at them but once you get one to bite, it is quite possible to catch 20 or 30.

And there is always the possibility of a big hook-up on a mulloway lurking nearby.

Bream, too, can inhabit the same deep water but are much more likely to be residing in thick fallen timber.

Unweighted plastics are your best bet for work around the trees and super-slow retrieves are the way to go.

Off the rocks there are still some good snapper to be found with 4kg fish reasonably common. The cuttlefish run was a bit late this year so there may still be the odd floater around if you are lucky.

There were also a number of hard-luck stories this Winter of anglers getting smoked by above average snapper so make sure you back the drag off a bit and let them run if you are lucky enough to hook a monster.

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