Tim’s Top Tips For Sydney Yellowfin Tuna
- Spring usually sees the start of the yellowfin tuna run in central NSW. Much depends on the warm currents pushing down from the north and how interact with the bathymetry of the sea bed and the coastline.
- Finding yellowfin is not too difficult if you do a little homework before leaving home. Use the BOM site, or even better, subscribe to a paid service that allows you to overlay sea surface temperature, bathymetric data and chlorophyll onto a map. Yellowfina tuna are a tropical species, so look for areas where the water is warmer, but particularly where there is a temperature change of 1-2 C over a short distance as fish will work along these gradients. Where these intersect with upwelling caused by bottom structure, strong currents and chlorophyll you’re in the right spot for tuna and other offshore gamefish.
- Once you’ve reached the locations identified by your research start trolling with lures that can work at 8 to 10 knots. The idea is to cover as much ground as possible while keeping an eye out for indications of fish (eg working birds). Current lines and changes in water colour are other good signs to check.
- Fishing from an outboard powered boat, angle the prop up to create more prop wash and shorten the length of wash. This strategy isn’t great for fuel economy, but increases the fish attraction of the boat while making the lures easier for fish to see.
Tim’s Yellowfin Tackle
- Depending on how sporting you wish to be, tackle can range from 6-8kg up to 24kg. Whatever you use, it needs to be high quality tackle and well maintained. Yellowfin tuna are tough competitors and will punish sub-standard gear.
- Choose a reel that will hold 1000m of your chosen line class. Many anglers don’t realise that as the spool empties the drag system of the reel slowly increases drag pressure, which can put excessive strain on the line and result in bust-offs. Having a large capacity spool filled with line can help prevent this from happening.
Tim’s Best Yellowfin Tuna Lures
- The splashy cut faced and cup faced “chugger” style skirted trolling lures are are more suited to attracting billfish. Tim prefers a more subtle bullet head lure that runs a little below the water surface. He fishes these in the shotgun position within his spread, or close to the boat but held to the side of the prop wash by outriggers.
- Bibbed or bibless sub-surface diving lures are a great choice if yellowfin are the primary target but are less successful on billfish, which are often able to dislodge this style of lure after being hooked. Look for lures that can be run at speeds of at least 8 knots without blowing out. Rapala Magnums are a good choice, but Tim like the Halco Laser Pro 190, which is the right sie and profile and can be run at up to 10 knots boat speed. The ability of these lures to run at speed is affected by heavy leaders or the use of swivels snapped to the tow point, so stick with mono leaders of 80-150lb which are heavy enough to handle fish but light enough for the lure to work. Attach the lure to the line with a compact loop knot such as a Lefty’s loop.