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Catching Longtail Tuna on the Sunshine Coast

First Longtail Tuna from the kayak – After many hours on the water last season trying to land a Northern Bluefin (Longtail Tuna) with no success I finally landed one this season. Thanks to a culmination of those hours on the water and advice from other Sunshine Coast anglers my first attempt this season ended up with a 9kg Longtail on the line.

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Here’s the report, full video below also.

Maroochydore was boiling with Tuna so even though it was blowing 15knots with a good swell rolling in I hit the water in my Profish Reload armed with a single rod and a small selection of tackle. The tackle chosen was to replicate the bait fish I had seen the fish feeding on, ZMan 3.75″ StreakZ – Pearl matched with TT Lures Headlocks jighead  3/8 with 2/0 hook. (This combo worked again at Rainbow beach for 3 much bigger Tuna)

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Once just behind the shark nets I found plenty of tuna and birds but casting was not an option as my Shimano T Curve was not the right rod for that and the wind was not favorable to stay with the fish to cast on point so slow trolling out behind the kayak was the best option. Pretty much 10 mins or less and I hooked up.

The most exciting run I have heard on my Shimano stradic 6000 I did not want it to end, well I did but you get my point. The fight lasted about 30mins to a point where I thought I could get a gaff in but the fish had other plans, 10 mins later and a couple of missed gaff strikes and I secured my first Longtail, it went 9kgs.

Zman TT lure Tuna

Below are some tips I got from the other local anglers here on the Sunshine coast who have also been landing some nice Longtail tuna on a regular basis. Hope they help and stay tuned for my next report from Rainbow Beach where the Tuna where much bigger and fighting much harder. Preview below

Tips for Catching Longtail tuna here on the Sunshine Coast

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Paul Oleary, Sunshine Coast local shares his experience below

This time of year (speaking Caloundra, top of Moreton Bay only here) the predominant bait is tiny white bait and there is tons of it. Because its small it hangs close to shore in the shallower water. Getting one on cast is tough as the bait is plentiful, the water shallow and the mac tuna the more predominant school but there are some good longtail tuna schools among them, casts have to be good.

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Bait balls at Caloundra

Try to position yourself in front of the direction the school is feeding and land your cast just in front of the closest boils. Close your bail arm as the slug hits the water and wind like all there’s no tomorrow!  Target those boils.

Mac tuna will rush thru the water rather than jump. The larger fish will only leave the water occasionally and usually mooch around under the other fish picking up scraps and occasional other larger fish. Hence the 3″ paddle tail, 120 laser pro doing nothing like its stunned or falling thru the water column when you stop moving.

Longtail can’t compete with the mack tuna for tiny bait so they eat the scraps and whatever else the mack tuna are not interested in. Soon the white bait will get cleaned up and the mack tuna will move on. It will fish poorly for a week or so after that.

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I usually have one line out the back and one casting stick. Less to deal with if one line hooks up and your still free to cast. Longtail usually run straight back at you after the initial run. You want the rod in your hands before they turn. Use anywhere from 5-10kg rods up to 10-15kg. Sometimes the harder you go the harder they go so light gear still gets them, if you can’t lift them out of circles try and lessen the drag and they will head upwards.

If its a good season, larger bait fish usually move in, the long tails will stick around and take a cast more readily. On days when there is little bait and lots of fish they will hit almost anything. Poppers provide explosive hookups. Other days they will be fussier but usually still go the slow drift 3″ paddletail. Late afternoons will also fish well. Runout tide best but they will feed all day some days. It all depends on the rain we get for the next month. Last two years we got a tropical low and fishing was poor. Here’s hoping for a dry year.

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