By Mark Gercovich
The Southern Bluefin tuna season is in now in full swing along the South West Coast of Victoria and just across the border into South Australia. Big barrels are seeing seasoned game anglers all head to Port MacDonnell, plenty of school fish and albacore are coming from the shelf region along the coast and the inshore fish between Port Fairy and Portland, that have been around since February, are still going strong.
The part I like best about tuna season is chasing these inshore school sized fish in smaller boats. Rather than trolling spreads of heavy game tackle, like most larger boats are set up to do, actively casting at schools or trolling just a couple of diving minnows on spin gear that can be quickly deployed or brought in when chasing fast moving surface school, is the method we use to try tempt these notoriously fickle fish. These school fish, usually in the 10-20kg class, are fantastic sports fish when pursued in this way. Stick baiting these fish is a technique that is definitely growing in popularity as a productive method of catching these fish. Even though they are often on small baits usually best replicated by a small metal lure or soft plastic, these fickle tuna do like to run down and smash a cast stick bait, even when they have been ignoring trolled diving lures of a similar profile in size.
The Saltiga Divestar is a great all rounder. A lure that casts well is always an important factor when chasing surface feeding pelagics for a couple of significant reasons. The longer the cast, the longer the retrieve, the more time a fish has to intercept it.
There’s nothing worse than running out of room as a speeding pelagic veers away at the last minute, as your lure reaches the boat before they catch up to the lure. Also the closer you need to get the boat to the fish to get a cast in, the more likely you are to spook the school. Many smaller stick baits require a refit in hardware before you begin throwing them at things like tuna.
Soft plastics are something that is often overlooked for tuna, and they shouldn't be, with the Bait Junkie 5" and 7" Jerkshads two plastics that I love to use.
When it comes to rod and reel set-up for tuna there are many options, for trolling I like a Demon Blood S63 4/5 matched with 21 Saltist MQ 18000, while when casting I like to opt for a Demon Blood S73 4/6 or S77 4/6 matched to a Certate SW 10000 H.
So look for the windows in the weather, keep an eye on the birds in the sky when you get out there and use your Daiwa gear to help you get into some exciting sportsfishing action with the inshore SBT.