Northern Land-based Gamefish Specialist
Matt has only been land based fishing for longtail tuna in the Wide Bay area for a short while, but has spent years pursuing this aspect of the sport in South-East Queensland. He’s landed plenty of monster trevally, spanish mackerel and other northern speedsters along the way and is currently enjoying the challenge of longtail on very light gear.
Matt’s Top Longtail Tuna Fishing Tips
- Longtail tuna will come into surprisingly shallow water to hunt, so look for headlands, ledges and vantage points close to deeper water, even if it’s not within casting range. It’s important to have sufficient structure present to attract and hold bait that will bring tuna in close, but not so much structure that it’s impossible to play a fish out. Avoid areas where the sand is stirred up by swells.
- Research your land-based fishing spots using Google Earth, then go and check them out. Sometimes it will be that spots are not accessible on foot, or don’t look so promising when you arrive, but keep going until you find suitable places to fish.
- On arriving at a spot, always be thinking about where and how you’ll land a fish once you hook one. If you plan to return fish to the water you won’t be able to use a gaff, so find ledges to wash fish onto and climb down to make the release.
- Time of day is unimportant for longtail tuna fishing, but tides are very important. Matt likes the bigger tidal ranges in the leadup to the new moon and full moon. He prefers to fish the low tides, finding the fish push bait up and feed harder at these times.
- If a hooked fish is being pursued by a shark, back the drag right off and let the fish outrun the shark, then resume playing the fish.
- It’s important to know how to steer a hooked fish in the direction you need to. Often as a fish starts to tire it will arc left or right and just keep going that direction if you keep the pressure on. If the fish is headed towards structure then backing off the drag can turn it to arc in the opposite direction. Then increase the drag and resume the fight.
- Clear, calm, sunny days are vital for sight casting, but Matt also catches plenty of tuna by blind casting on overcast or slightly windy days.
Matt’s Preferred Longtail Tuna Tackle
- Matt reckons it’s important to have quality gear but it doesn’t have to be top shelf. He uses a Shimano Jewel 9′, 8-15 kg rod coupled with a Daiwa BG5000 reel, 50lb braid and an 80lb leader. If it’s an especially clear day or the fish are shy he’ll switch down to a 60lb leader. It’s important that the leader is tough and abrasion resistant but fluorocarbon isn’t necessary.
Matt’s Longtail Tuna Fishing Lures
- Samson Lures Slim Minnow in 50-80g sizes are Matt’s go-to surface fishing plug and is a great representation of garfish. When sight casting he likes to put this lure 20-25m in front of the fish and starting working it gently until the fish get near, then speed up until the lure is skipping on the surface, but not spending too much time out of the water. For blind casting Matt will fan out casts and work the lure so that it is skipping but still spending a reasonable amount of time below water. Occasionally he’ll let the lure sink to the bottom and then work it back at speed to cover the full water column.
- Metals work well on longtail tuna and cast well too. Matt reckons it doesn’t really matter what brand of metal you use and the size depends on the casting distance you need and the capability of the tackle you’re using. Matt likes to place an extra split ring between the hook and the lure, which he finds increases the hookup rate.
- Samson Lures Pelagic Candle is Matt’s choice for calmer days, having a more subtle action. He likes to put a single hook on the tail and finds that the treble hook on the belly allows the lure to be worked faster without blowing out.
Matt’s has a great relationship with the guys at Samson Lures where he’s had feedback into lure design. Samson lures hails from a land-based game fishing origin and their lures are designed for this style of fishing – plus Matt gets the opportunity to field-test their products.