There are a few different types of Tuna in our oceans but I am going to talk only about the three main ones we catch around the coastline of Australia. I am going to give you a rundown on how I catch these three types of Tuna on baits and lures.
Yellowfin can be caught from the coastline to over the continental shelf and the most popular way to catch them is to troll skirted lures. But most of us don't own a game boat or a big trailer boat with enough fuel to make it to the shelf and back after trolling all day! If you live in southern NSW you can go to places like Eden and send live baits out off the rocks. What about the rest of us?? If you live in an area where you do get Yellowfin within a small boat trolling distance try this method (small boat required).When the fin shows up in your area try this very simple method! It will not find you 40 kg + fish but it will catch you small Yellowfin Tuna from 5 kg to 35kg which are a good eating size and great fun on light tackle. My method is to fish at night (that's right chase Yellowfin at night!) with a good 20 lb outfit that holds plenty of line, this is easy fishing, just head out to your close reefs 30 to 60 meters deep that usually holds bait, drop anchor and start float lining with a WHOLE Pilchard. Try this method when you hear the bigger Yellowfin are out wide, the smaller ones will come in close and feed and if this does not work for Tuna on the night it will catch a couple of Snapper as bycatch! Win Win.
Southern Bluefin Tuna.
The southern blues have shown up in numbers in the past few years in Victoria and plenty of people catch these fish but they all do the same old thing, TROLL! This method is very good but gets a little boring when catching rats, 20 to 35 kg fish. Here is a different method for guys that are not afraid of fishing night time well offshore and trying their luck at large Tuna (1oo to 200 kg+ fish) I learned this method when pro fishing for Tuna many years ago. First, you will need large fresh whole Squid, blue light sticks, 3 x 80 wide Tiagra's or Penn Inters on 37 kg stand up rods with a good 3-meter 300-pound leader and a strong J hook to suit the size of the bait and downriggers. Firt thing to do is rig the Squid so it looks natural in the water then put on a blue light stick 1 fathom from the bait now connect the bait to the rigger 50 feet behind the ball and drop to 100 meters, now repeat the process on the second rigger and drop two 50 meters and the 3 rd bait just send out unweighted around 200 feet from boat and start your long cold drift. Now turn your boat lights off because you don't want to attract Squid as the live Squid will eat your baits! This is a great way of fishing for very large Bluefin but you will have to put up with catching Mako and thresher sharks and maybe a Broadbill if lucky.
Longtails are great fun on light gear and are caught close to shore so you don't need big expensive boats to chase them. Most Longtails are caught by casting lures, metal Slugs, stick baits and soft plastics from rocks and small boats. A lot of guys hit central Queensland to chase longtails off the rocks in the springtime and some heavy gear is needed for this as some of the longtails hit 30 kg+ from the rocks, so your little 4000 spin reel spooled with 20 lb braid won't cut it! For this, you will need a 10000 to 20000 size spin reel spooled with 30 to 50 lb braid on a good 8-foot rod. For the boat fisherman off southeast Queensland, your 4000 spin reel spooled with 20-pound braid will do just fine around Morten bay and off the Gold Coast. Once again chase the Longtail in spring around SE Queensland, when they show up in Morton Bay you will see them in very large schools and fishing for them is fairly simple,/ just go upwind of the school shut down your engine and drift and cast your small to medium stick baits, gulp 5 inch jerk shads or 40 to 60 gram raider lures into the school and wind fast then repeat over and over.
TIPS: 1 / When casting to Longtail from shore or boat it is sometimes best to let your metal, soft plastic sink to the bottom and then wind flat out and bring the lure through the different water columns, this will sometimes trigger a bite.
2 / If you ever come across a Whale Shark there will be Yellowfin in the area! It would be a great idea to troll some lures in that area.