Whilst I did not expect to spend any time in Australia during 2012, a necessary visit saw a great opportunity to get amongst my beloved blue fin tuna on the west coast of Victoria. In as little as two weeks I have managed a couple of visits firstly with long time fishing mate Dave O'Brien where we found the veritable 'chook pen' with as many small albacore as you could care to catch as well as some big striped tuna but not a blue fin in sight at least not for us. A highlight however was the effectiveness of jigging and stick bait techniques on the these fish once the right location to these techniques was zoned in on.
A week later I was back and again fishing the ubiquitous ;horse shoe' area on the continental shelf west of Portland this time in company of Kyle Stacy (Jaks Lures Australia), 'Ace' Jase Taylor and friend Randal in Kyles Formula 233. This fantastic boat made short work of the sloppy morning's chop and we found ourselves dropping lines in approximately 200 meters of water where a temperature break of .4 degree's Celsius was located, also an area where Kyle had enjoyed good success a week before and only a few miles from where Dave and I had found the albys. This was a dedicated light tackle trip and there was not a Tiagra 50 wide in sight; it was all jig and casting tackle. As we set the spread comprising all Jaks lures and one Rapala X Rap in close, three rods went before the fourth rod was in the water. The next time we tried all four went, it was clear we were on a hot bite and friends nearby were into the same kind of action!
We turned our attention to what we had come for, some close quarters action. Trolling now with only one lure in the water, an old Rapala X Rap in close to the transom, we would once hooked up commence to cube chopped up pilchards and cast in the direction of the hook up. It took a few occasions to raise the fish to the boat and a constant supply of pilchards to keep them there, but what followed was two hours of the most entertaining and fun fishing you could hope for. Although not big fish, a seemingly endless supply of bluefin would rise to inhale our pilchard supply while cast stick baits and poppers were either inspected closely or crash tackled by ravenous blue fin, it was a sight to behold and experience, I would truly rate this as a 'top ten' fishing experience in my life.
As the last cube trail disappeared down a tuna's gullet they soon moved on but we were some pretty satisfied fisho's. Although never a numbers man, at least 40 fish hit the decks that morning and I'm pleased to say only 5 made it back to the cleaning table for our immediate sashimi needs, all fish that had a slim chance of survival. A truly special day - I encourage all tuna hunters with a few seasons under their belt to think about the fun they are perhaps missing out on, 15 to 20 kilo fish don't need heavy game tackle and the visual strikes and hand to hand combat you can experience is so much worth it.