November : tuna time
Italy - Ligurian Sea
2012 - November
October 2012 was just gone..
It had been a weird month, temperatures had been higher than usual with some days with morethat 25° till the end of the month.
We mainly met frigate mackerel (Auxis thazard thazard), False Albacore (Euthynnusalletteratus) and Dolphin Fish (Coryphaena hippurus).
It was a nice month, but we had been waiting for bluefin tunas feeding topwater since the end of the spring.
In October we met bluefin tunas just a couple of times, but we couldn’t cast any lure on them,except for a couple of casts, because they were too suspicious and as soon as we approached them with the boat, they disappeared immediately.
Finally in November, after a strong storm which lasted nearly one week, we could jump again on the boat.
It was sunny, the sea was calm, getting even calmer during the day.
Almost no waves.
Me and my friend Luca were excited.
No signs of tunas till 9 o’clock in the morning.
Suddenly they started a huge topwater frenzy.
We were on about 110 meters of bathymetric.
I did a few casts with different lures, alternating stickbaits, metal jigs, but no way to get a strike.
I decided to switch to the Surfish Tuna 180 Sinking, the natural blue/green/silver colour that simulate bait-fish colour.
The setup of the lure was : Owner st-66 3/0 in front, Decoy Single Hook model Sergeant JS-1 5/0 on the tail. With this setup the surfish tuna is a perfect “swimmer” if you just retrieve it with the reel.
With trebles both in front and tail, it swims even better probably, but we release 100% of the tunas so single hooks are much better for this porpouse.
After a few casts, I added some twitching with the rod, like small jerking, and ….. Tuna Strike.
The first fish of the day, after 7 minutes of fighting, we got the tuna on board, took some fast pictures, and release it back to the water.
It has been estimated around 30kg.
We went around for another hour chasing tunas feeding topwater, I remember another attack on my lure, but I missed the fish almost immediately, probably because of my non adequate strike.
I started playing some more tricks to the surfish, alternating some casts with stop&go, stop&jerk,retrieve&jerk and finally I got another bluefin on my surfish after a strong jerk.
5 Minutes of fighting, I had the fish on board again, a couple of fast pictures and then released it.
This one has been estimated around 35 kg.
The day ended with 2 tunas landed, another couple lost by me and three lost by Luca.
Mission accomplished and surfish tuna graduated with full honors.
After day one we were even more motivated.
This time there were three of us on board:me,Luca and Simone.
The conditions of both weather and sea were almost the same of day one.
In memory of day one, I immediately start with Surfish tuna, and the first strike arrives at the third cast.
The fight is fast, less than 5 minutes, we have no pictures of this bluefin tuna,
estimated around 30 kg, because we had some troubles removing the Treble Hook so we didn’t want to leave the fish out of water for another single second.
After that problem, I decided to remove the treble hook and put a Decoy Sergeant JS-1 7/0 instead, still JS-1 5/0 on the tail. With this setup the lures swim a bit less, but can “twitch” much more, so it is better if you want to play some freestyle on the lure. It dives a bit less, remaining much nearer to the top of the water,
but it let you play much more tricks, jerks.
Four or five more casts and I got another strike with fast retrieve fast jerk.
The tuna bit one time first, but didn't remain hooked, without any pause
I continued the fast jerking and the tuna attacked again the lure after a few meters. This time it remained hooked.
Another nice fight of about 5-6 minutes, and from this one we release the tunas without bringing
them on boat. It was another bluefin tuna about 35-40 kg.
After my first two bluefin, my friends start having some strikes too.
Luca got a nice strike on one of his self-made stickbait prototype,
and while he was fighting with his tuna, I kept on casting.
After some casts, I got a fantastic attack 15 meters aways from the boat,
after a powerful jerk, with the surfish squashing the top of the water, a tuna jumped out of the water with the lure in its mouth.
Great attack just in front of us, completely out of the water.
Amazing. The best attack of the day.
I waited for Luca to finish his fight, then I started to fight again.
Total fight time, about 5 minutes.
Again another beautiful bluefin tuna estimated about 40+ kg, released without got it on board,directly in the water.
The feeling with the Surfish Tuna was getting high.
After the third bluefin, I got another attack after a few strong jerks-slow retrieve, but my strike was slow and not enough powerful. Fish lost immediately. Unhooked.
After few minutes we got another frenzy, this time I was jerking even stronger, not very fast but strong, and I got another great topwater attack, this time I strike hard four or five time, fish hooked.
The biggest of the day, estimated about 50 kg. Fighting about 16 minutes. Released.
Four bluefin tuna in a day. A couple of missed strikes.
Surfish tuna made the day !
Vagabond Fisherman Shop by Alessandro Massari (Alle’s Lures) for tips about rods, lures, informations
Many friends for some other tips