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It’s Tuna Time!

By Dan Trotter on May 10, 2012 in Sport

Photo: Dan Trotter

As this Indian summer dwindles into a perfect autumn, life in the ocean undergoes a change in seasons too. The all important water temperature cools and with it the composition of species active on our watery doorstep also transitions.

The mighty tuna species will soon begin to make their presence felt far out to sea. If the last few seasons are anything to go by, Sydney based anglers can hope for sporadic southern bluefin captures, intermixed with smaller albacore and majestic yellowfin encounters. These awe inspiring fish are a sight to behold whether working bait balls, sucking down pilchard pieces from a cube trail, or diving to the depths connected to a fired up angler. Importantly, all anglers (and diners) should be aware of the plight these once plentiful fishes face in the path of a growing human population, improved fishing techniques and changing climate. A prized capture in every angler’s book, we should feel privileged to still have the chance to eat them fresh and experience the raw power they deliver when hooked on rod and reel.

Closer to shore, the Sydney staple – yellowtail kingfish – will have begun congregating on the 100-metre high profile reefs like 12 Mile, The Peak, Texas and a bunch of lesser known deepwater pinnacles. Even further in, larger specimens of the same species will be testing knots, terminal tackle, angler strength and determination on a weekly basis, while in the estuaries smaller specimens can be caught in abundance. Concentrate your efforts on the days leading up to the full moon on the sixth of May; both kingfish and tuna seem to feed more aggressively during these days, with afternoons often producing the best bite times.

Snapper are also a worthy adversary during May and June. Anchoring up in 30-80 metres using a steady berley trail and lightly-weighted fresh baits can really deliver some spectacular sessions for those prepared to put in the effort and thought. Fishing soft-plastics on the drift can also account for pleasing captures as long as the basics and a little finesse are added into the equation.

If catching a simple feed sounds like your thing then drifting for flathead either offshore or in the estuaries can provide a healthy, scrumptious meal. Alternatively, fishing soft-plastics around weed beds, rocky outcrops and sandy drop-offs will also see many a ‘lizard’ proudly presented for a quick ‘fishy pic’ before being dispatched to the Esky.

Fishing from the land can also be great during May. Whether casting off the ocean rocks or standing on the sand, it is worth tempting Australian salmon, tailor, bream and whiting to take a bite.

On the inland water ways trout are definitely still a great option. The rivers and streams are open for fishing up until the June long weekend, so if walking tranquil bush-lined creeks with a fly rod or spinning rod in hand tickles your fancy, make the most of the lead up to the spawning period. Fish warm afternoons, use a glo-bug and nymph combo and test your skills and patience for a challenge worth the effort and reward.

With winter’s frosty grasp just around the corner there really is no excuse not to get back to what matters and step in time with nature’s rhythm.