Tackle Business Owner, Outflow Podcast Host
Andy is obsessed with lure fishing for any species but casting to Southern Bluefin Tuna is one of his favourite forms of the sport. Andy is co-owner of the high profile online tackle store “Ebb Tide Tackle” and co-host of the recently launched “The Outflow Podcast“.
Andy is involved with “Tuna Champions” and recommends anyone who is interested in SBT check out the Tuna Champions website and social media profiles.
Andy’s Top Bluefin Tuna Fishing Tips
- Southern bluefin tuna are fast moving and the ocean is large. To avoid wasting a ton of fuel and a ton of time it’s best to do some research before you leave home. Use the social networks to narrow down the area where fish have recently been found. Check water temperatures, use your sounder technology and know where currents and upwellings occur.
- When researching the fishing, be sure to find out what size bait the bluefin tuna are feeding on. Know what birds eat what size fish and look for birds that signal an aggregation of the size bait that the tuna are taking. Sometimes the fish are feeding freely but aren’t busting up.
- Andy likes to fish the 1.5 hours leading into a tide change, but the 1.5 hours leading out can be good too. Some swell is a good thing, when the water is oily calm the tuna can be visible but can be frustratingly hard to catch.
- When playing a tuna, don’t let the fish get into a pattern and try to minimise the amount of vertical fighting. By constantly changing the angle by using your boat you’ll tire the fish much quicker.
- Andy likes single, barbless hooks for tuna casting as they give a high hookup rate, are less likely to be thrown by the fish, make the release easy and minimise the potential for harm to the angler.
- When a fish takes your lure, strike hard repeatedly to set the hook.
- Tuna are a fast moving species. Get 100mk upwind of the school and cast towards them. They’ll often sound and go under the boat, when they do it can pay to fire a long cast out with the wind, let it sink and work the lure back towards the fish.
Andy’s Suggested Bluefin Fishing Tackle
- The challenge is to find a rod that is relatively long and with a fairly soft tip to cast lures in the range 30-80g whilst still having enough strength to put pressure on a very large tuna when one is hooked.
- A 6000-8000 size Shimano spin reel or 4500 size Daiwa spin reel loaded with 30-40 lb braid line and an 80 lb fluorocarbon (mostly). If the fishing is tough Andy will drop down to 40lb or even 30lb leader if absolutely necessary. This makes boating and releasing fish quite difficult, but can get you bites when they are hard to get.
Andy’s Top Bluefin Tuna Fishing Lures
- The Jack Fin Pelagus 165 is a near-perfect stickbait designed with large ocean pelagics in mind. It casts extremely well, handles rough water and is the perfect size to match the local pichards and bait species. This lure can also be retro-fitted with larger hooks or used with the smaller lures it’s shipped with. As a sinking stickbait, it can be cast long from upwind of fish. Let sink and then work with a very fast, sub-surface walk-the-dog style retrieve.
- Heru Skipjack popper in around the 60g range is good for lots of different retrieve styles when the fish are taking surface presentations. Experiment with different retrieve styles to see what works best.
- A 130mm Amegari Slavi is a fast sinking, hand-made timber lure that has an insane action that can often spur fish into action when nothing else is doing the job.
- Barbless single hooks like the Yamai Suteki are a great option for tuna fishing, especially when the fish are to be released unharmed.
Andy is supported by Mako Eyewear and reckons a quality pair of polarised sunglasses should be the first thing anyone packs before going out on the water for the day.
Navico supplies the high quality Lowrance and Simrad electronics that Andy relies on for finding fish whether he’s in the fresh targeting natives or offshore chasing bluewater species.