Hervey Bay Fly And Sportfishing
Andrew has been a Hervey Bay based sportfishing guide for 12 years, giving keen anglers the opportunity to experience the best freshwater, estuarine, coastal and bluewater fishing the region has to offer. In addition to guided fishing, he know also operates Gotcha Boat Hire, allowing anglers to enjoy a DIY Hervey Bay fishing adventure!
Andrew’s Tips For Longtail Tuna Fishing
- Longtail tuna can turn up absolutely anywhere and are a year-round option. They are common out in Wide Bay, but can turn up almost anywhere. They’re not unheard off in snapper creek, the mouth of the Mary River, on the flats, from the Urangan pier, in the surf zone. Be ready for them when you are targeting other species and you’ll often pick one up just by having a rod rigged and ready to go.
- The most likely place to find fish in the months of February to April is out in the bay. Birds are the easiest indicator for inexperienced anglers to spot, so start looking for them from the moment you leave the boat ramp. Birds looking into the water, hovering and/or dipping and diving are a good sign that bait has been pushed to the surface by predatory fish.
- Don’t just scoot past schools of mack tuna in search of longtail – it’s worth putting in a few casts and allowing your lure to sink beneath the school. Often longtail and other species will be found under the macks.
- In recent years the masses of tightly packed bait that once characterised Hervey Bay have been far less common, bait tends to be more scattered, but longtail are still around and available.
- Andrew switches trebles out for single hooks, partly for safety when he has clients on the boat but also because it’s better for fish that are destined to be released.
- It’s important to not be too fixated on the electronics as you’ll become a more rounded angler and catch more fish if you can also read the water and understand the indicators that can tell you where the fish are and what they are up to.
- Sharks can be a problem and it’s important to know how to reduce the risk of losing fish to them. It’s impossible to muscle a feisty tuns to the boat even on heavy gear, so fighting tuna on a light drag allows them to get away from the boat and reduces the risk of being sharked, once they tire, quickly move the boat to them and net, gaff or release the fish.
Andrew’s Longtail Tuna Tackle
- The Shimano Saragosa 6000 is Andrew’s reel of choice for longtail charters, coupled with Shimano Grappler rod in the 7-8’ and PE3-4 range. He spools the reel with 20lb Powerpro or Fins braid. A length of 30lb Asari fluorocarbon leader completes the setup.
Andrew’s Top Longtail Tuna Lures
- A 5” Bubblegum coloured ZMan jerkshad with a 1oz TT HeadlockZ HD jig head is a versatile option that catches longtail anytime, anywhere. It can be cast out and burned back, sunk alongside mack tuna schools and hopped back beneath the mackies or even jigged vertically when the fish are stacked up thick beneath the boat.
- An Ocea or Nomad Mad Scad slow sinking stickbait of around 120mm is great for long casting and working back subsurface. Good stickbaits like the Mad Scad can be simply cranked back through the schools at speed for a reaction bite, others might need to be worked with a bit more tip action. They’re great around drop-offs and the edges of sand banks where there are current lines and pressure waves, or around structure. In these areas it can pay to use a lure with greater presence to attract attention.
- A pencil Popper is not necessarily the most productive lure but is a lot of fun to catch longtail on if you want a heightened experience. The Cotton Cordell pencil popper is a great option and Andrew reckons the ball bearing rattles make a real difference, but the Nomad pencil popper can work well too. This lure can be fished around the pressure edges and banks, especially where there are garfish around. When working the lure simply hold the rod tip high and wind back as fast as you can.
Hervey Bay Fly And Sport Fishing is the guiding service Andrew has been running for 12 years, with multiple guides and multiple boats able to offer everything from freshwater through to offshore charters for lure and fly anglers of all skill levels.
Gotcha Boat Hire is a new business Andrew established during the Covid pandemic to assist those angler who want a DIY Hervey Bay fishing experience and either don’t have, or don’t want to tow a boat to, Hervey Bay.