Eaglehawk Neck Southern Bluefin Tuna

by Stu Nichols | Australian Lure Fishing

Eaglehawk Neck

Stuart Nichols

Stuart Nichols

Fishing Guide And Charter Operator

Stuart Nichols is one of Australia’s best known Southern Bluefin Tuna specialists, having operated a commercial charter operation at Eaglehawk Neck for 20 years. Stu has nailed 95 barrel tuna and in the 2016 season caught and released over 1000 bluefin tuna

Stuart’s Tips For Southern Bluefin Tuna

  • There’s no need to head out to the shelf to tangle with tuna in the Eaglehawk Neck area, most fish are caught closer to shore around structure such as Hippolyte Rocks or Tasman Island. Often it’s just a case of following the other boats!
  • Your eyes are your greatest asset for finding fish when they are surface feeding. Watch for surface commotion and working birds. When fish are not active on the surface, fish the structure and tide lines where the baitfish tend to be more prevalent.
  • The boat is a great fish attractor, it’s a mistake to put your lures too far behind.

Stuart’s Preferred Tackle For Southern Bluefin Tuna

  • A quality spinning combo is perfect early in the season when the school fish (10-30kg) arrive. Stuart uses a 9500 size Fin Nor reel with a Wilson Venom rod. Because he’s often fishing with novice anglers he uses 37kg line – but experienced anglers could fish lighter. A standard leader consisting of 1.5m length of 45-70kg leader is usually used
  • For the larger fish later in the season, large overhead reels with matching rods and 37kg line are preferred. Stuart switches to wind-on leaders of 45-70kg breaking strain for the larger fish.

Stuart’s Top Lures For Tackling Bluefin

  • Halco 190mm Laser Pro is one of the best lures for school bluefin. These stay in the water even during windy, rough conditions and are fished short. Stuart switches from treble hooks to large singles when the bigger fish turn up.
  • JB Lures Micro Dingo and Little Dingo are 7-8″ cup faced skirted trolling lures that account for most of the jumbo sized fish.
  • Meridian Demons are another skirted lure and are very effective rigged in the standard way on single hooks.

When To Target Southern Bluefin Tuna

  • Southern Bluefin Tuna are caught from Eaglehawk neck from around Late December through until June. Jumbo fish typically turn up around April, with the smaller school fish being more prevalent through the earlier part of the season.

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