Bluefin time again

John Orchard takes a look at the lures you need to catch one of the toughest fish around - and without doubt the most highly regarded fish for sashimi in the world.

Once again the long awaited run of bluefin tuna has commenced with numerous fish being taken over the past few weeks out of Eaglehawk Neck and Port Arthur in the 25--30 kg bracket, plus the odd larger fish thrown into the mix just to keep anglers on their toes!
Most of the fish taken have had a diet consisting of an array of bait fish-ranging from squid, redbait, mackerel, pilchards and even a few sauris. This has made the selection of lure colours relatively easy with few fish refusing anything that even remotely resembled a mackerel.
Stuart Nichols from Personalised Sea Charters runs a 26" centre console boat called "Big Pig" and over the past few years has earnt the reputation as being somewhat of a specialist at capturing bluefin tuna in Tasmania. With over 192 captures during March 2009 this season he has racked up some important information about what catches, when and how. Stuart does not keep all these fish of course, but his clients usually get a good feed of the world's premium tuna. He is a great supporter of releaseing a good number of fish to ensure there are plenty of fish for coming seasons.
At $800 for a full days fishing shared between 4 people, you would have to consider whether in fact it is even worth while going to the cost of dragging a boat all the way south for a days fishing - much easier to pack your fish in the esky, jump in the car and just head for home at the end of the day; no mess no fuss and no cleaning up afterwards.
Stuart spoke with me about the type and colour of lures he uses. You will find some photos of these over the page.
On days that have been bright and sunny, lures such as the new Classic F18 deep divers and also Mack Baits in mackerel patterns have worked with great success. On days when the weather has been overcast with a bit of rain and wind thrown into the mix, lures such as the ever reliable Meridian Demon 5 in patterns such as Bonito, Stripey, Voodoo, Midnite and Brown Dog (super donger) have all had great success.
This season has seen a new range of weighted lures under the brand called Screamer that have enjoyed instant success - once again in mackerel and pilchard colours.
These lures will prove to be of great value to anglers on days when the stronger winds make it difficult to stop the lures from "skipping" across the water and getting tangled.
With 4 weights to choose from in the range from the 30g baby up to the 160g heavyweight, there is something there for all weather conditions and are sure to become a valuable asset to any anglers "arsenal".

Are there big fish coming?
There are currently some large specimens being taken off Victoria around Portland-with a number of fish over 100 kg bracket. All this bodes well for Tassie over the coming weeks and many people will now start to set their sights on the infamous Pedra Branca Rock. An area highly renowned for some spectacular bluefin fishing from April onwards. Anglers looking to head down that way would be well advised check out one of the charter boats.
Lee Harris runs a 46" Cresta (GO Charters) that carries up to 10 anglers at a time and is comfort plus fishing. Operating out of Southport, he would certainly be the most experienced skipper fishing Pedra Branca so give him a call on 0407 240 750 - and don't forget to take your camera as the fishing AND the scenery down that way is spectacular.
So, dust off the tuna gear - get on the phone to your mates and head south for some fun - its BLUEFIN TIME !!!
Personalised Sea Charters: 6250 3370.
Moonshine Charters: 0408 105 311
Coastal Flyfishing Charters: 0427 672 844
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