Reel Deal: Big schools of bluefin tuna off Wollongong

Bass man: Darcy Menchin fished his own lures on his 60th birthday to barrel a swag of bass.

Bass man: Darcy Menchin fished his own lures on his 60th birthday to barrel a swag of bass.

Luke from Leisure Coast Tackle at Corrimal says the annual bluefin tuna frenzy is well and truly upon us with some great catches coming from the weekend and the start of this week.

Information courtesy Bureau of Meteorology.

Information courtesy Bureau of Meteorology.

Many headed up to Browns Mountain late last week where reports filtered through of a hot bluefin bite with fish up to the 100 kilogram mark and beyond, before we got hit with the winds again.

A few frustrating days passed until the weather window permitted the hunt to pick up again.

Happily the tuna stayed around and even moved inshore a fair distance during that forced hiatus.

Big schools of fish were found straight off the front of Bellambi and pods stretched down to off the front of Shellharbour with some big barrels in the mix.

Chris Cleaver and his sister Gina found the fish off Wollongong with Gina landing the first fish of 80 kilograms and then Chris, after a five-and-a-half-hour battle, landed his silver keg of a fish which weighed an impressive 136 kilograms.  

The most successful method was to troll a pattern of lures whilst cutting up a bucket of cube-sized pillies.

When the tuna strike comes, immediately chuck over a few handfuls of the pillies to keep any other tuna in the area at the back of the boat and then deploy all forms of lures to tussle with these elusive and superb eating sportsfish.

One boat reportedly tagged 35 fish on Monday using poppers, stick baits and many other lures that you do not often get a chance to throw at these fish.

Weather is looking pretty good for the rest of the week and weekend and hopefully this is not the last we will see of the bluefin just yet as they move south again.

Closer to home there were plenty of big snapper caught over the weekend.

Most of the fish were reported out over the 50-metre depth line and a couple of boats got their bag quite easily and left the fish on the bite with natural baits, mico jigs and soft plastics all doing their job equally.

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