Tuna, Southern Bluefin

(Thunnus maccoyii)

Commonly referred to as Bluefin or southern blues!

The southern blue fin tuna is a species of smaller tuna that has gained the reputation of being a feisty little rough sea battler with exceptional table qualities. They are commonly encountered by anglers trolling skirted lures and make for great sport when hooked on ultra light line classes. All tuna species need to swim at least 3 times their body length per second to survive and are the only species of fish designed to produce perpetual motion from birth until death. Whilst their heart still beats so will their tails making them one of the strongest fish species on the planet!

Distribution

Southern blues can be encountered in W.A. waters from as far south as Albany right up to the Shark Bay region as well as N.S.W., S.A., VIC and Tasmania. They prefer water depths of around 20 – 120 meters.

Growth

Southern blue fin tuna can grow to around  25kg in weight and measure well over one meter in length although most fish encountered throughout southern Australia average around  4 – 8kgs.

Habitat

Southern blue fin tuna prefer cooler, southern waters and are most commonly encountered feeding along the edge of current lines, bait schools and deep reef ledges. Smaller fish can also be found in shallow bays with large numbers of bait fish present.

Identification

Southern blue fin tuna can be easily recognised by their short, football shaped bodies and blue to grey colouration.

Taste rating

  • Ninety Taste Rating
    90%

Southern blues are recognised for both their sporting abilities and their eating qualities.

Sport rating

  • Ninety Sport Rating
    90%

Southern blues are a fantastic small game fish species that will test most anglers on light tackle and fly!

Tackle requirements

Ultra light lever drag trolling outfits or spinning combos are best suited for targeting small tuna in most situations. Rods and reels capable of holding large capacities of  2 – 6kg line are most commonly used and are attached to wind on leaders of around 60 – 100lb in breaking strain. When trolling skirted lures for smallish tuna try running small chromed, jet head styled lures at boat speeds of around 9 – 12 knots.  Larger fish respond better to trolling or deep water live baiting or cubing techniques and require heavier stand up tackle in the 10 – 15kg range.

Recommended baits, lures and rigs

Live and fresh dead baits such as gar fish, small mullet, flying fish and mackerel are all ideal baits for targeting most tuna species, with small to medium jet head or resin head, skirted lures also proving to be quite effective on most pelagic species. Southern blues are a fantastic species to cast lures such as metal slices and surface lures into with the visual aspect of this technique proving to be very hard to beat!

Handy hints and tips

Try to ensure all baits, lures and tackle used are of premium quality, there are no second chances when it comes to tangling with smart, fussy tuna!

Preferred fishing times and tides

Most pelagic game fish species including tuna prefer low or high tide changes and new moon phases.

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