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Big Game Fishing: Let’s Talk Tuna

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We hook up with charter boat captain Rob Naysmith who has many decades of fishing under his belt, to find out more about successfully fishing for tuna.

Leisure Boating: What conditions are most suited to tuna fishing?

Rob Naysmith: It is always more comfortable to fish in calm conditions but it is very often the case that tuna like rougher conditions. The whole secret to any kind of game fishing is these fish have to chase their food.

Once you have grasped this fact it becomes easier to push baits and primarily Game fish try and create the most difficult scenario for their prey and they often chase their prey into the current. If you come along and are fishing your lures with the current, the fish can often pick up that it is not natural. If the wind is blowing hard, they will be eating into the wind.

LB: What size shoals of tuna can typically be expected off the South African coast?

RN: The smaller the fish, the bigger the shoal is usually. In our waters, for the smaller fish between 15 kg to 30 kg, there will often be many hundreds of fish in the shoal. When you get to the 50 to 75 kg category fish there will not be as many in the shoal, probably 20 to 30 fish. When you get to the really big fish, the shoal tends to get even smaller.

LB: What baits or lures are best used when trolling for tuna?

RN: Unless I’m fishing behind a longliner or a trawler, as they attract the fish through chumming and bait, then you have to troll to find tuna.

LB: Do tuna put up a good fight?

RN: Yes they do. Sometimes it takes over four hours to get them to the boat.

LB: What rods, reels and lures do you prefer when tuna is your target fish?

RN: I use shorter standup rods because tuna fight straight down as opposed to fighting on the surface, so you want to get on top of the fish and this requires the short lever, in other words a shorter rod. I use Penn International reels and Shimano Trynos reels for the lighter lines.

LB: What sort of tackle do you use for the different types of tuna?

RN: For Yellowfin I use a heavier type of tackle. I’ve got two groups of tackle, one is for Longfin with Skip Jacks as a by-catch which is up to 50 pound line class and then 80 pound and 130 pound line class for Yellowfin, Bigeye and Bluefin tuna.

Yellowfin Tuna

Yellowfin Tuna

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