Fishing for Tuna in Australia, like in many other parts of the world is a fairly specialised form of fishing. Depending on where you are in the country and the type of Tuna you are chasing, your method of fishing will change. There are many different species of tuna that can range from the tiny Watsons leaping bonito of around 1-2kg to the juggernauts of the southern ocean the giant southern bluefin tuna that can grow in excess of 700kgs. They are all members of the scombridae family and there are at least 48 different known species and they inhabit all of the world's great oceans. Tuna are the true nomads of the sea. They are constantly moving and migrating to complete different stages of their lives. Tuna grow quite quickly and will consume up to 10% of their body weight in baitfish daily.
Tuna, like other pelagic fish will school up and circle the bait into a ball where the tuna will then push the bait to the surface and attack by shooting through the bait at lightning speed. Tuna are built like an absolute bullet. All of their fins can fold down into recesses in the body while they use the small finlets on their tail stock for steerage. They can swim at speeds of up to 80km/h. They can be easily identified by their bullet like shape and large forked tail. Some of the species include southern bluefin, longtail, bigeye, albacore, dogtooth, mack, bonito, yellowfin and there are many others. Tuna can be caught in many differ ways but whatever way you choose your gear must be up to it as even small Tuna are one of the hardest fighters in the ocean.
Larger Tuna like yellowfin and southern blues are deepwater fish. To target these fish, the waters out on the continental shelf are best. Very deep water with seamounts and good water movement make prime yellowfin country. Look for the schools of bait with birds working. If you can see birds bombdiving then it usually means that the tuna have the bait balled up on the surface. Trolled lures around the outside of the bait will usually result in a hookup. Another good method is to troll a bait like a slimy mackerel at slow speeds around the school. Bright skited lures such as the pakula lumo sprockets are the best.
Another popular method for catching larger yellowfin is called cubing. You need a lot of anchor rope to do this type of fishing as most of the time you will be anchored in 80 ? 120 meters of water. From that point on, cut up a large amount of small tuna and bait into inch by inch cubes and start a trail by dropping 1 cube at a time every 30 seconds or so. A good supply of beer is also necessary for this type of fishing as you can cube for hours before a big tuna finds his way to the boat. At this point it can be very exciting as the fish are normally big and are in full view of all on board. It is then as simple as floating a cube back with a 10/0 circle hook in it and watching the big beast suck it up like a vacuum cleaner. Now that was the easy bit. Depending on the size of the fish you could be in for up to an hour and a half of hard slog to wear the fish out on the surface. Tuna have amazing stamina. Once hooked they usually dive to some ridiculous depth and swim around in circles. You on the otherhand will want to be strapped to your rod and hanging on as a big Tunas first run is unstoppable. Fresh yellowfin tuna is one of the most highly rated food fishes in the world. They are a pelagic fish and need to be bled immediately upon capture.
Once you have bled them they need to be kept in an ice slurry to keep them in their best condition. Tuna have a big fillet yield so with a fish of over 30kgs you are going to have a lot of fish to eat. Remember whilst fishing for tuna in Australia, limit your catch don't catch your limit.