Catching a monster bucket list Tuna

Posted by Carolien Henn on May 10, 2022 12:11:45 PM

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When it comes to the angling community in South Africa, many will undoubtedly say a yellowfin tuna is at the top of any fishing trip. Mainly because of 2 key reasons, the first being the great fight they put up when being hooked and the second of course being the great tasting sashimi one gets to enjoy.

But a newbie to boating, you may be asking yourself, what are the best ways to hook one of these awesome going predators?

This all comes down to which area you will be targeting this species. In the Cape most anglers take around a 40nm run out of Hout Bay or Simons Town to the desired tuna grounds where catches of up to 100kg and above can be achieved.

Hunting yellowfin in the Cape waters certainly comes with some experience whereby anglers factor in chlorophyll charts, sea temperature and of course the location of trawlers and long liners. 

In areas such as KZN, many enjoy the early morning launch, heading straight to the live bait spots. Live-bait in any aspect is always KING. Paired with some high quality fluro, live-bait hook and often a small pink skirt over the hook usually produces the goods when drifting a live-bait. 

In the Cape the preparation is somewhat different as anglers use the troll, chum and hook method. This is done by anglers starting out with a spread of trolling lures, once fish are hooked, usually being a spread of longfin tuna, the skipper circles back whilst the crew start throwing out chunks of pilchard that are cut up on the way out. The more chum the better!

Whilst the anglers are fighting the longfin, the rest of the crew will keep throwing chum to draw in more longfin which generally attracts the larger yellowfin. Coupled with a baited hook released into the chum line, it becomes a matter of a waiting game with what has to be the best anticipation known to man! The feeling of seeing a 100kg yellowfin grab your baited hook, reel screaming and your heart rate through the roof is certainly a feeling 2nd to none.

The fun doesn’t stop here as novice anglers can take over an hour to land a solid yellowfin tuna.. Even more so, if more than one angler hooks up, the infamous tuna dance starts where anglers need to duck and circle around each other to prevent cutting each other off and losing both fish. A mistake that makes many a man shed a tear!

Naturally all of the above gets sped up when cruising up on the massive trawlers in these open waters. As the trawlers haul in their massive nets, a lot of by-catch falls through causing its own chum line. Setting your boat next to these trawlers and watching your sounder, often reveals the yellowfin feeding below which gets the baited hook on the go straight away. Often using a variety of the by-catch often results in a better hook up rate.

So whether you are heading out to fish in the mighty Cape waters or the beautiful KZN coast, using these methods and crewing with an experienced local crew will get you on the fish in no time.

Big Game Fishing is filled with endless tips and tactics, get out there, learn, and keep learning.

Once the bite hits, you will be coming back for more and more!


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Topics: Fishing