Launching time is generally dependant on a few things, first light or sunrise, wind direction and changes, how many beers you had the night before or a low tide. Inconveniently the low was at 5:40am so Jay and Jasmin got to the ramp at 6:30am..It was a glass off which made the trip a short one. The destination; a productive reef edge lined with bombies and drop offs which we have fished many times before with consistent results. Half way there, they stopped as a mother and calf humpback whale were breaching in front of the boat, playing in the morning sun. A beautiful sight that we are blessed with every year as these gentle giants migrate. Turns out the whale watching experience would be cut short when the water began to boil with bait fish as they were attacked from below..
Whales to the left and hungry tuna to the right, easy decision! Jay quickly tied a 15g Halco Twisty onto his PE3 spin combo and cast towards the bait ball. The trick is to anticipate which direction the tuna are headed and get your lure in front of them because even a small lure landing in the school can occasionally spook them. Jay casts past the school and skipped the lure across the surface bringing it right into the middle of the feeding frenzy. Instant hook up! Screaming drags on the first cast is always a good sign. After a few blistering runs and a couple loops around the boat, a nice longtail tuna hit the deck and they were on the board!
The fish went 940mm on the brag mat..
Being a very bloody fish, tuna need to be bled instantly, then put on ice. Many anglers don't like keeping tuna but if prepared correctly, it can be a delicious treat for the afternoon and it only takes a few minutes.. (Sashimi recipe down the bottom)
They chased the school down and it was Jasmin's turn, using the same technique as before they hooked up to another solid fish. This style of fishing is very fun on the light gear and it's easy to get caught up chasing these things all day. The fight was all but over when the fish turned it's head and threw the hooks. Sometimes singles can produce a better success rate with metal slice lures, it's all trial and error. The bait began to disperse and so did the tuna so it was time to head to the reef!
Upon arrival, a few large, deep diving lures were deployed and the pair scanned the sounder looking for bait, lumps or anything out of ordinary worth fishing. Trolling has to be one of the best ways find new ground. They didn't give the lures much of a chance as they found what they were looking for within 5 minutes. Rises from 18 metres up to 14, perfect for a bit of light bottom bouncing. A few fresh baits were cut up and dropped to the bottom as they set up their drift line. Jasmin was quick to get a few nice golden trevally to the boat for a photo and release as the screen continued to show good ground and fish..
An impressive 790mm chinaman for the big fella.
The switch was made and it was now a classic battle, bait V fake! Jay ties on a 100g Berkley Slomo, which in his opinion is the cheapest and best jig on the market today. And you can't argue with results, big trout seem to like them to. Fluttering down to the bottom and slowly working it through the water column, the jig got the attention of this fatty!
650mm, 4.8kg of goodness.
They had struck gold with their chosen line because the fish kept coming. Jasmin switched her bait to a fresh cube of tuna and drifted it towards the bottom. Half way down the water column, it was inhaled! The rod was almost torn from her hands as it swam for freedom. Line began to peel and she though their luck had run out with the first shark of the morning. That theory was quickly dismissed as the fish began to show colour, it was another coral trout. The size and colour of this fish is truly incredible. That's how you bag out!
Jasmin's topped the scales at 5.1kg and 660mm!
After a few more on the deck and 1 or 2 unstoppable unknowns, they reeled in and slowly made their way to the edge of the reef for a bit of stick bait action. A strong current line presented itself so it was time for the big gear come out. The setup of choice, Temple Reef, Reefer 711, Stella 14000, PE8 Varivas loaded with a sinking FCL stick.. Throwing lures over skinny water, it's always a good idea to up the leader and crank that drag. Jasmin kept the boat off the current line as Jay peppered it with casts, aggressively working the FCL through the chop. With expectations of a GT, when the long tail hit the lure, it was skull dragged to the side of the boat where it was lifted in still quite green!
The tide began to drop and it was time to pack it up while there was still water at the ramp. Now all there's left to do is sink a few tins and fillet the fish!
- Simply fillet the tuna and remove any excess blood line that may still be present.
- With a very sharp and thin knife, cut slices (around 3-5mm) and lay them flat on a plate.
- Now drizzle the plate with olive oil and squeeze half a lemon making sure you get all the tuna.
- Slice an avocado similar thickness to the tuna and layer it.
- Sprinkle with finely diced shallots, sea salt and cracked pepper to taste and serve with a bowl of soy sauce to dip.
- The acid in the lemon cooks the tuna quickly and you can watch it change colour in seconds.
Don't be afraid to try this one, its a real treat!!