Search for Tuna
Over the last week we have been having some work done to the boat so, with that all sorted, we decided to head east to a temp break that was wide of Sydney!! Our plan was to head to the temp break and find our friends, the Yellowfin Tuna.
With a quick look at the weather and sea surface temp the night before, I met Peter down at the boat the following morning. We picked up some ice and continued up the harbour where we picked up the last crew member, a quick fuel stop and a tactic revise and we were off!
As we rounded South Head we were greeted by a lazy long swell and zero wind. The run out to the shelf was great cruising at 37 kph / 20+ knots. On our way out the temperature didn’t move much from 20.6, occasionally going up to 21.0 over a long distance. There was a lot of bird life from the coast to the shelf and beyond! Spirits were high as we set out on our quest to find a possible Yellowfin Tuna or two.
As we approached the shelf we noticed a lot of bait and tuna birds, Stormy Petrels to be exact. We decided that now would be a great time to put the lures in the water so we quickly loaded a spread of Scent Blazers with Pilchards and Mackerel, deploying them one by one. We were using a range of different sizes, a Medium Slant Head Skipjack, a Small Slant Head Green Luminator, a Mini Pusher Sardine a Nano and a few prototypes. Within minutes of setting the spread we were on and hooked up!
Birds are a great way to find pelagic fish such as Tuna, keep a close eye on the birds and you might find the Tuna nearby!
This fish took the prototype lure hard and fast, we first thought it was a small YellowFin but after a short tussle a jumbo Stripy came aboard then we looked at each other and said yep the prototype works! After re setting the spread we got out the Troll Pro and set it in position. I noticed a current line and headed towards. Only a moment after crossing it we hooked up again but this time it jumped. A Dolphin Fish in the cold water I thought to myself, ah these lures seriously catch everything.
The Colours on these Striped Tuna are amazing and really look great alongside the boat, Marlin candy!
After a quick fight we brought it on board. It was a nice little surprise, as we didn’t expect it in 20.4 degree water. The best part about this capture is that it fell to the prototype!! This lure is the perfect size as this is what the fish were eating. As we checked the stomach contents of the Dollie we found a bunch of little baitfish, so I guess matching the hatch works!
Mahi-Mahi or Dolphinfish or Dorado
Matching the hatch is the best way to catch pelagic species on lures, most times they won't even look at a lure if it isnt the right size.
We continued east to the marks of the temp change. As we crossed the 500 fathom line we were starting to mark bait, Sauries, small baitfish and Stripies. The place was alive with the first Whale of the season cruising past on our port, a big pod of Pilot Whales casually gliding around. It looked fishy.
As we continued east we marked bait after bait school but nothing on it, the bait was pretty flighty with no pelagics in sight. A boat nearby was cubing but they too didn’t turn a reel. In the distance we could see what looked like a current break so we headed over and boy were we right! As I crossed the distinct line the temp jumped from 20.7 to 22.7! This was the temp break I saw on the computer and boy was it right.
Skipjack Tuna Trolling
There were birds, bait and a crazy temp change but no predatory fish to be seen. The current ran from 500 fathoms to south east of Heaton’s Hill, some 15nm. We worked the area very hard from where the other boat was cubing to south east of Heaton’s in 2200 Fathoms…the prototype continued to catch jumbo Stripy after jumbo Stripy as we continued the search for a bigger pelagic. We zig zagged out to 2200 fathoms then turned and zig zagged our way in towards the 500 fathom line.
We continued to Browns where the sun dipped below the city skyline and we pulled the gear in and headed home. The run in was pleasant as there wasn't a wave in sight.
Sydney Sunset at sea
To sum it up, It looked extremely fishy and won't be long before our friends show up to our waters and test our angling skills but until then tight lines.