How to catch tuna

Southern bluefin tuna are an oceanic species and not commonly found inside bays - with some exceptions such as the summer run when they can appear in big numbers for a short period.

They can be caught in a variety of ways with trolling lures the most popular, although lure casting is gaining plenty of traction too.

Bluefin, or SBTs, traverse the coastline on their migration and may stay in an area for days or even weeks if there is a healthy supply of forage fish. Tuna are found in a variety of depths, however this is seasonal and dependant on wind and ocean currents.

Sometimes they can be found a long way off the coast, out to the continental shelf and beyond. Usually they're much closer, sometimes in as shallow as 20 or 30 metres, especially near headlands.

There are a few reliable ways to find tuna if you’re new to fishing for this iconic species.

Fishing reports will help determine where effort should be concentrated in the first instance and once on the water it’s a matter of looking for signs such as sea birds diving, sonar soundings and sighting milling or jumping fish.

Some fishers use sea surface temperature charts to determine where tuna should be ahead of time.  Others will concentrate on areas where they have been successful in the past. When no obvious signs of tuna are present, trolling a mixture of skirts and deep diving lures is a sure way to cover ground in your search. An unexpected strike from a tuna seemingly out of nowhere is quite common.

When tuna are found, either by catching one or seeing them, a variety of techniques can be employed. These range from casting lures, jigging or adopting a method called cubing which is very similar to a berley trail.

SBTs are strong and determined fighters and whilst spin tackle that fishers use when chasing gummy sharks can suffice for smaller specimens, big barrel tuna require robust equipment built to task.

Click here for bag limits on tuna.