NSW South Coast Fishing Personality
Simon has been living and fishing the NSW coast for 7-8 years and has been consistently taking quality yellowfin tuna on surface lures for the last 4 years. A tackle industry insider, Simon also targets a wide range of freshwater, estuarine and marine species in his back yard ranging from trout, bass and cod through to snapper and reefies.
Simon’s Tips For Shoalhaven Yellowfin Tuna
- The yellowfin tuna runs on the NSW South Coast have undergone a major revival over the past decade or so. From being almost absent entirely they are now being consistently taken in inshore areas in good numbers and in excellent sizes – even on topwater lures.
- It’s worth investing in a premium Rip Charts subscription and get the extra tools, more timely charts, higher resolution charts and other resources that can help identify edges and temperature breaks.
- Simon isn’t too fussy about temperature but likes a current feeding in from the west, which pushes fish closer to the coast. Look for places where there’s a back eddy or slack water where the fish can sit and rest without swimming too hard.
- Upwellings where a current strikes underwater structure at right angles are always likely to hold bait and hence attract tuna. These areas can change by the day or week, so be prepared to spend some time searching for them.
- Bird action or fish busting are obvious signs, but even birds resting on the surface are worth sounding around to see if there’s a tuna marking. It’s not a bad idea to troll around until you find fish and then start casting. If there are sauries on the surface that’s also worth a cast or two.
- Surface fishing for tuna is a finesse technique and fish tend to not stay on the surface too long, maybe 20 seconds or so. If you’re not trolling you can put the hammer down and get to the fish fast, slow down off the plane from 80m or so out and then slowly move into the path of the fish and make casts.
- On quiet days it’s important to keep casting and to keep looking for any sign of possible fish, such as birds sitting on the water. Don’t give up, don’t lose concentration.
Simon’s Topwater Yellowfin Tackle
- A PE 5-8 rod in the 8’ to 8’3” length range is ideal, coupled with a 6500 size Penn Slammer reel, PE 6-8 braided mainline with 130lb fluorocarbon.
Simon’s Top Yellowfin Tuna Casting Lures
- A Kaijah Tuna 240F floating stickbait is perfect for fishing topwater, especially on the calmer days when the wind is 15kn or below. It’s a great imitation of a saurie a pair of 4/0 trebles balance this lure nicely and fluorocarbon leaders sink the nose a little to help it dig in. Cast long and close the bail just before the lure hit the water, working the lure from the instant it hits the water. It’s important to work the lure with sweeps, ensuring there’s a little bit of slack at the end of the sweep so the lure can get side to side action.
- The Jack Finn Pegasus 165mm sinking stickbait. These are fished more like a metal spinner and are great when the conditions are rough or the fish are eating smaller profile bait. Cast long and retrieve at a relatively constant, moderate speed. This lure has plenty of action worked at moderate speed and stays in the zone longer than a flat out retrieve. Can also be sunk down deeper and worked in much the same way if the fish are marking deeper.
- The Codger Skipjack is a 200mm cup faced popper is great when the surface is calm and a noisier lure is needed to pull fish up from deeper. Holding the rod at 45 degrees, wind for a bit then stop and twitch the rod tip to get a “pop”. This lure can also be fished much like a stickbait in choppier conditions and will create a great bubble trail.