On Saturday 11th July 2015 we headed out from Botany Bay in our 17 foot trailer boat ‘Tomahawk’. The target species for the day was tuna and during the week we’d heard reports of both southern bluefin and yellowfin tuna being caught. Sydney’s famous ‘Browns Mountain’ was the centre of much of this activity during the week so we pointed Tomahawk towards the mountain and raced out at a brisk 25 knots with a gentle westerly wind at our backs.
As we crossed the continental shelf the water temperature jumped up to 22 degrees – not bad for the middle of winter off Sydney! We ran for another few miles before deploying our lures, which consisted of a mix of skirted lures, bibless minnows and a Squidgy bluewater livie.
The first hour of trolling was relatively uneventful, we heard reports of a few albacore being taken but otherwise it was quiet for the rest of the fleet. We passed a longliner winching in their gear a few miles south of the mountain but didn’t see much else to indicate the presence of tuna.
As we crossed the 500 fathom line the activity began to increase, we saw a few flying fish and some striped tuna splashing on the surface. Bird activity also seemed to have increased. We did a loop and began to work the area. Not long after one of the Tiagras roared into life and as an unknown fish took several hundred metres of 15kg line before we’d managed to clear the rest of the lures. It’s second run was equally as long and as the fish went deep we were left with barely 100m of line on the spool.
Slowly but surely we began to work the stubborn fish up from the depths and it wasn’t until 1 hour and 20 minutes later that we got our first look at this beautiful fish. It was a big yellowfin tuna with sickles nearly back to its tail. This was a fish we had both dreamed of, but it wasn’t over yet!
After another 10 nervous minutes, the fish was still circling close to the boat with the leader just out of reach. Finally we had a our chance and thankfully all went to plan with the big fish being secured quickly with a gaff before being pulled into the boat.
What a fish! We were blown away at the sight of this fish on the deck. The colours and the big sickles looked incredible fresh from the water. We cheered and hugged and high fived like we’d just won a grand final. It was a special moment for the two of us that we’ll never forget.
Back at the weigh station the fish pulled the scales down to 61.5kg and was a Botany Bay Game Fishing Club record on 15kg for a female. The fish was caught on a Tiagra 50A reel, TCurve 15kg rod and 15kg Mono line.
Here’s hoping the great run of tuna continues!