116 11 tips tuna aPresented from Issue 115, April 2015
There is still plenty of time left to hook up with some big tuna - off Tasmania’s coast. You often hear about the one that got away and that can be heart breaking. However with good preparation the risk of losing a fi sh of a lifetime drops enormously.

1. Keep an eye on the sky

115 game on broadbillPresented from Issue 115, April 2015
I don’t think we can really start talking about what May and June will bring for fishing in Tasmania without first talking about what has been happening in the Tasmanian game fishing scene recently. Tasmania has gone off, particularly the lower East coast. Bicheno has seen some battles with big yellowfin tuna with a few sad results.

Talking to one angler with years of experience he had a tale of woe. It was a day like any other off the 80 metre mark just off the top side of the Gulch, looking very fishy. The skipper decided to put in a small spread and troll out to the shelf. He had on a couple of tried and true albacore lures that had never let him down. This one particular lure he mentioned he had…. HAD.. for over 15 years. They had only been trolling for 10 minutes when the reel screamed off in earnest and within an instant they knew there was a big fish heading home with lure in mouth. They battled this fish for an hour before sighting it at the back of the boat. That’s when things got exciting !

In the 90s, Rex Hunt made kissing a fish before you released it back into the waves a thing.

But that is exactly what researchers are asking Tasmania's recreational tuna fishers not to do.

The new Tuna Champions program will share the latest research with recreational fishers on how to handle tuna, whether that is to make it taste it better on the plate or to increase its chances of survival in a catch and release situation.

Read the full article here at the ABC

115 broadbill weighinPresented from Issue 115, April 2015
We headed out of Coles Bay and zoomed through Schouten Passage between the spectacular Hazards peaks and Schouten Island on Tasmania’s East coast. The sun was shining, the breeze was dropping and the twin Yamaha 115s were quietly humming on my 7m trailer boat; ChoonaChasa. We’d entered the Coles Bay Classic run by the Southern Game club and we were heading to the edge of the continental shelf to chase what I believe is the mightiest fish in the ocean; broadbill swordfish, Xiphias gladius!

We arrived at our chosen mark around 0900. A quick scan of the ocean floor revealed undulating features holding fish that we predicted as blue eye trevalla, gem fish, blue grenadier, frost fish and more. A nice ‘Scatter Layer’ of fish and probably squid mid-water added to the food chain and we decided the area was prime for a deep drop or two.

We quickly finalised our first sword rig; today we had a Penn Power Curve 24kg rod and Penn 50 VSW reel filled with 24kg Platypus mono. Add to that a 300lb JEM wind-on leader to a large swivel clip. On the clip an LP Electralume tri-colour light and then a 400lb leader to a 14/0 offset J hook. On the hook a whole arrow squid fixed in place with waxed thread and covered with a 14 inch yozuri squid skirt with glow eyes. We attached a breakaway sinker with a short length of thin line and over she went down to the depths of over 500m. We then deployed an electric reel with baits for the bottom fish to determine what was lurking down there and soon pulled up a blue grenadier. There had been no bites on the swordfish line so we retrieved and moved in-shore somewhat.

114 march game qualityPresented from Issue 114, February 2015

March is a period of happiness and sadness for Tasmanian anglers. Happiness for the anglers that rely on warm currents or warm weather as there is still some of that. Sadness for those anglers that love their daylight savings as March has the days noticeably shorter working to the date in April we play with clocks. Do NOT despair as there is still lots and lots to enjoy angling wise.

 

114 tuna number onePresented from Issue 114, February 2015
The Southern Bluefin Tuna scene in Tasmania has always been popular across Australia, but it is really starting to attract some broader attention. This is in some part due to Tasmania’s fishing being far enough away that it does not feature in Australia’s main stream media. Facebook has changed this in a very short space of time. Anglers have linked up and made friend requests across the country and now if someone catches a good fish anywhere in our nation, the nation’s keen anglers know about it. Tasmania has many reasons to find favour with anglers across Australia, so let’s start running through a few.

114 Preparation tuna2Presented from Issue 115, April 2015
A previous trailer boat trip to the Maatsuyker Island group in late February resulted in the capture of two 45kg southern bluefin tuna (SBT). This was primarily a work trip with some fishing thrown in, but immediately opened my eyes to the potentially amazing fishing this place had to offer.

Once back at home in Launceston I immediately began preparations for a return trip. I contacted a couple of like-minded fishing mates that lived in Hobart and told them of my previous discovery, and as expected they didn’t hesitate to join me on my next adventure. For the next month I concentrated heavily on making sure my boat and fishing gear was ready to go at a moment’s notice, all the time watching the weather closely. Exactly one month later we had our opening.

Weather down south had been mild all week and Sunday looked perfect. A 5-10 knot northerly for the best part of the day, followed by a stronger sea breeze later that afternoon. I was well organised and only had to hook up the boat to begin the long tow to Hobart. I arrived in Hobart Saturday afternoon and immediately began final preparations for an early start Sunday. Unfortunately later that night our third crew member pulled out and we were left short an extra set of hands (as well as someone to split the fuel bill with!). This brought its own set of complications. We were about to undertake a long-range trailer boat mission to one of Tassie’s wildest and most isolated locations, with just a team of two. This was going to be interesting.

114 tuna oliverPresented from Issue 114, February 2015

Tuna season is well upon us and as Matt Byrne writes, with some preparation, a Tuna out of your tinnie is a real option proving that you do not need all the top end gear to get amongst the action.

Every single angler has a new goal or something they aspire to, whether it be catching a wild 10lb Trout, a Tasmanian Snapper or more recently perhaps even hooking a Broadbill swordfish. Yes, with the right amount of money you could indeed hire the top guide or the big boat with the gun crew and probably shortcut a lot of time and effort in achieving your dream fish, but would it be truly as satisfying I ask as having done it in your own boat, in your own backyard and with your own tackle?

For me, there is something incredibly satisfying about doing all the hard work in researching your target species, knowing its habits, preparing your gear, learning from your mistakes and of course in the end experiencing the thrill of landing that target fish. Small boat tuna fishing has all of that and much, much more and in this article I will detail everything I have learned about what is arguably one of the most adrenaline filled forms of fishing, targeting high speed Tuna out of your tinnie.

Presented from Issue 110, June 2014
Tuna and offshore The tail end of May and June saw Eagle Hawk Neck firing. The school sized fish were anywhere you cared to mention and if you found them when they came on to feed you were bound to have success.

July will be no exception with the added hope the big jumbos have thickened up with the cooler weather. We are exceptionally spoilt in regard to the distance we can travel to find fish in Tasmania. You will drive over a lot of fish if you think you have to bee line to the Hippolyte rocks and Tasman Island to get fish. Areas just outside Pirates Bay have been holding good bait and in turn good numbers of Southern bluefin tuna.

109 tuna on scalePresented from Issue 109, April 2014
Fishing has always been a big part of my life however, for most of it I was land based. I was content fishing from the shore for a very long time, and don’t get me wrong I still love fishing off jetties and beaches to this day. However after getting the tuna fishing bug about 5 years ago, I knew that the only way I could fish for these offshore speedsters whenever I wanted was to get my own boat.

It wasn’t till January 2013 that I finally bit the bullet, and ended up purchasing a modest 5.5m fibreglass Savage Ensign named “Mustang Sally”. After taking ownership of her I considered changing the name at some point down the track. Little did I know at this point in time that after the season I’d have with her, this name would be staying with the boat forever.

After the reports of numerous jumbo southern bluefin tuna (SBT) caught days before, during, and after the 2013 Tom Jenkins Memorial Bluefin Competition, the temptation to fish was too much. After checking the weather for the week, I applied for one day’s leave from work, and Tuesday was the day.

108 yellowPresented from Issue 108, February 2014
The weather in Tasmania is sometimes unpredictable and the start to the “warm” weather was a bit iffy.

The weather gods have it well sorted now and water temps and ambient air temps are on the rise. If you have seen the Disney Movie NEMO you will know The East Australia Current is great for turtles, but it is also wicked for tuna fishermen.

The East Australia Current or EAC has been balled up off Eden and is ever so slowly making its way down the east coast of Tasmania. By the time you read this the albacore will have thickened right up off the east coasts of Tasmania after a slow start.

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