A tuna goldmine
  |  First Published: July 2010

It’s a tuna goldmine on the continental shelf and the second drop-off, so bum a ride with a mate or get a crew together and do a game fishing charter.

Normally the yellowfin and albacore would be starting to slow down by now but this season is a month or two out of whack, due to some lingering warm water back in June.

Late that month a number of striped marlin, the odd short-billed spearfish and even a couple of mega mahi mahi were boated. Even when the water finally dropped to 18° there were still marlin crashing tuna lure spreads!

Leading up to this report yellowfin averaging 40kg and the occasional 80kg fish had been boated and there was talk of some big southern bluefin turning up again after last year’s wondrous run.

Most of the action has been the result of many hours of patiently laying out cube trails inside the shelf line, when the wind and current allowed.

On the days when those annoying westerly or north-westerly winds prevail (which has been virtually every trip for us!), there is no option but to troll lures.

Still, some good yellowfin are taking lures on occasion. Albacore have not shown up in numbers yet but I suspect this will have changed by now.


Striped tuna have been fairly common and we have been encountering triple hook-ups on stripies to a whopping 8kg taking fairly big lures. I welcome any striped tuna action as it breaks up the monotony of trolling all day and also provides a good source of cubes when the weather is agreeable, rather than using too many ridiculously overpriced pilchard blocks.

Frigate mackerel have also been massing in big numbers just inside the first drop-off, occasionally blacking out the sounder. You can be sure if you find frigates the jumbo yellowfin won’t be too far away.

Add to that the odd school of sauries taking to the air and you have a recipe for a big hook up.

Strangely there has been a total lack of sharks in our cube trails this season, which is a good thing when chasing tuna but I find it odd that they have been absent.

Southern bluefin should be on the cards particularly over the second drop-off and around the many canyons. Already some really big fish have been taken north and south of the Bay so if you have a big boat and a big fuel tank, head for the horizon and drag some lures.

Trolling is the best plan for blues and a mix of minnows, Squidgíes and pushers works. Be careful how many rods you run to how many anglers are on board because if you find the fish it is more common to have all rods load up, rather than just one.

Having five 100kg tuna hooked up and only two anglers on board would be very interesting indeed!


Back on shore, snapper in dribs and drabs continue to entertain the rock fishos with the odd 5kg fish still to be had. The cuttlefish run hasn’t really hit full swing so this month may well still be a cracker for chasing snapper.

With his boat out of action, mad-keen plastics fisher Ben Roberts has been grounded this season but this has not deterred him from snaring a few nice reds to 3kg off the rocks on softies.

He also hooked an unstoppable line burner and I have no doubt that Ben will be nailing a bragging-size land-based red on plastic real soon.

Drummer should be on fire this month and with all the stormy, stirred-up conditions lately, choosing a spot should not prove difficult.

I have earmarked a few old favourite spots that I haven’t been to for about 10 years so it will be interesting to see how they are fishing now. It has been way too long since I last had a feed of drummer.

The fantastic run of jewfish I reported last month issue has slowed down a fair bit but a few fish to 8kg still makes chasing them a worthwhile prospect in the estuary or off the rocks and beaches.

My mate Pete Alkousis also deserves a mention for his awesome effort recently in nailing a jewfish that just nudged 40lb on fly in a Sydney estuary, just rewards for a seriously dedicated fisherman.

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