Southern Bluefin Tuna

Just the name brings back fond memories of last season for game fishermen around the state, and what a season it was with many multiple hook ups and all but the unluckiest of anglers getting into the thick of the action. And it pretty much happened again this year.

So far this season we have seen an early run of smaller fish around the ten-twelve kilo mark from mid March until early April - much the same as last season. Last year the second run of bluefin turned up and started to fish consistently in late April. After a quiet week or two where it appeared that the season may have been short lived, things began to fire again this year in time for the Southern Bluefin Tuna Championships that ran for four days starting on Anzac day, despite rather average weather conditions the competition was a huge success.

With a record number of entries this year, the Tuna Club of Tasmania is to be congratulated for once again organising and running an excellent competition for everyone's enjoyment. A special thanks should also go to Pauline Grant who excelled in her volunteer role as "Tuna Base" - running the hourly "sheds" throughout the competition to ensure everyone's safety, a job that she does with great professionalism every time there is an event on during the season - from all who fish out of Pirates Bay, thank you Pauline.

Congratulations to the winners of each category and no doubt the team that fished from Stuart Nichols charter boat the "Big Pig" will be back in Melbourne spreading the word about Tasmania  and the quality of  our game fishing - our reputation as a game fishing mecca  just keeps on growing with every season.

For those heading down south for some "Bluey" over the coming weeks things are still looking very promising indeed. Most spots have fired this year at some stage or other, however the most consistent spots seem to have been the reef at the back of the Hippolyte Rock, Monkey's reef and the Monuments down Tasman Island way and well out wide over the "shelf" when weather permits. Traditionally, second day into a south westerly blow has been the best conditions to fish however, last season and so far this season the fish seem to have forgotten the rules and any day from glass calm to rather unpleasant can turn into a real bonanza so its more a matter of being on the water and keeping an eye out for the telltale signs - albatross and gannets circling/diving or any other sign of action on the surface - and get there quick whilst the action is happening.

Remember, when you find the action don't make the mistake that many do and troll through the action, troll around it and preferably keep a fairly wide birth, turning the boat to let the lures cut across the front of the action. Drive the boat through the action (or too close to it) and action is one thing you will no longer have as bluefin get boat shy very easily.

What lures to use?

My favorite lures are the Meridian Demon #5 (Bullfrog and Lumo colours) or Fish Eagles 75g and 125g  Hexhead lures (for real windy days) in either green and gold or  the darker black and silver combination. I asked Stuart Nichols of Personalised  Sea Charters to pick out his hottest lures, after much arm twisting, he disclosed that the green and gold Zukers, the Demon #5 Lumo and the Meridian Tackle's (Bonito) Dart were his secrets to success - sorry Stewie. Another good lure to try is the Boone Tuna Treat in purple and black.

If you aren't familiar with any of these lures, go and check them out at any of the leading tackle stores around the State - they are dynamite and have the runs on the board this season to back up their reputation. Good luck - I hope your rod bends, your reel screams and your adrenalin goes into overdrive!!!

John Orchard.
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