Trolling tricks

When it comes to catching big tuna a lot of anglers think that cubing produces the best results. However looking back over my records I have noted that all the big bluefin and nearly all the biggest yellowfin including a 71 and 73kg yellowfin were all caught on the troll.

Tuna are fickle creatures. Sometimes they are super aggressive and will snap at anything you troll, while at other times they will be incredibly frustrating ignoring everything on offer. The best approach is to troll a combination of lure types including skirts and deep divers. Skirted marlin lures have probably accounted for more tuna than any other lure but they are not necessarily the best.

My basic spread includes a larger 12 1/2inch lure on the short rigger. Alternately on the long rigger I like to mix it up sometimes a 12 1/2inch lure but at other times a I swap down to a 9 1/2inch lure. On the two flat lines I like to run a deep diver really long well back past the long rigger and then a darker purple coloured 9 1/2inch lure with minimal action in short on the short flatline.

Tuna are really fussy creatures and can become transfixed on certain colours or particular lure action, especially when they are chasing sauris. There is no distinct pattern favoured by tuna and they seem to change their minds daily (must all be females!), so always troll a selection of colours and don’t be afraid to change lures.

The best sign for the presence of tuna is obviously seeing them jumping and boiling. Tuna are actually quite easy to spot when they start smashing hitting bait on the surface especially on calmer days so always keep a visual searching the horizon. When you locate surface activity don’t troll through the centre of the feeding fish. Instead drop the lines right back and then get in front of the school and turn the boat at right angles to the action. Get it right and your lures will cut across right in front of the feeding fish. This approach rarely spooks the fish and more often that not works a treat, if you fail to get a bite try swapping lures. Another trick is to let one lure right out the back on its own like a shotgun, all on its own it often attracts attention.

When you do hook up don’t stop, keep trolling. The actions of the hooked tuna will often spur the rest of the school into biting resulting in multiple hook ups. Even when you do have a couple of fish hooked try cranking the remaining lures in at speed to entice even more bites. If you are really keen try free spooling a heavy metal jig down while someone else battles the hooked fish. Cranking it back flat stick will draw some amazing strikes - a new style of jigging! We can change this freespooling a lure back and cranking it in.