With the Southern Bluefin Fishery so good the last few years anglers have been able to get out and try a few alternate methods to the usual “Put out a spread of lures and troll around”. Whilst trolling is still probably the most common and effective way of targetting Bluefin especially big barrels, I just cant get enough of casting stickbaits at fish feeding on or near the surface. A lure I will always have tied on when targetting these fish is the Bassday Bungy cast. You cant get any better lure to match the hatch when they are feeding on whitebait and pilchards a major food source of the tuna. Bungy casts are 100mm long and weigh 30 grams meaning that on medium sized spin tackle these things can be cast a mile which means that you can target the fish from long range and dont upset them with the boat or engine noise. With six colours out of the range brought into Australia by Frogleys Offshore their is a colour to match any situation.
There are a couple of modifications that need to be made to these lures to beef them up a bit and make them tuna ready. I take off both sets of trebles and rings and keep them to use when targetting smaller pelagics later on. The standard lighter gauge trebles wont cut the mustard on a rampant tuna. I prefer to upgrade the split rings to a size 5 (44kg) Gamakatsu Hyper swivel and then there is a mixture of hook options I run depending on whether Im keeping or releasing fish. If the fish are destined to be turned into sashimi then I will run 2 Gamakatsu Treble 14 size 2 trebles, if I am looking at releasing fish boatside then I opt for the Gamakatsu live bait hooks adding an extra split ring on the rear. Its also a good idea to crush the barbs to help with getting the hooks out.
There are a mixture of retrieves that will get you bites from the tuna and on any given day they will prefer one over the other. Some days, not often though it just wont matter and you will only have to land near the feeding fish to get a hook up. When they are fussy I like to start of with a slower retrieve, start by landing the lure as close to the surface feeding fish as possible, being a sinking lure it will drop quite quickly. I normally wait 5-10 seconds as quite often it will get eaten while its sinking if that doesnt happen then a slow roll of the handle whilst sweeping the rod will get the lure moving in a walk the dog motion, mix in a couple of pauses and at some point in that retrieve the rod will nearly get ripped out of your hands. When the fish are active and feeding hard then quickly retrieving the lure accross the top will see some vicious surface strikes.
My preferred outfit for this style of fishing consists of a Samurai Kestrel 602, Daiwa Sol 4000 reel, 48lb Unitika Braid and a 40 or 60lb mono leader. Learning to tie nice slim line braid to leader knots is key as it aids in distance casting and wont damage guides. I prefer the FG knot.
Get into your nearest Frogleys Offshore stockists and check out the Bassday Bungy Cast its such a versatile lure that brings great results right around Australia.