Tuna Mayhem

July 16, 2015 by Wickus Nel

Trip Info


Piranha group: Captain’s log

Date: 2015-07-16
Launch: Millers Point
Boat: Fish Tales
Skipper: Justin vd Walt
Water temp: 15
Water colour: blue
Weather: Variable winds with small swell
Low tide: +-8:00am
Time on/off: 5:15am - 17:00pm
Catch: 37x longfin Tuna (15-25KG)
Spot: Canyon

Its 3am on a cold winters morning & I get up, itching to get to the deep & try to catch a few long awaited tuna. There’s been quite a few longfin tuna coming out lately & also a few reports of larger Big Eye & even Bluefin tuna making the rounds.
4am & we are on route to Millers Point launch site at Cape Point.

5am, Wickus & I arrive at the launch where we are greeted by the crew, one of the crew is Dawie Scholtz, the owner of Carry Cat marine based in Jeffreys Bay, the master mind behind the awesome fishing machine that I have: 25FT Carry Cat, Fish Tales. When Dawie built my boat almost 1 year ago he said that I must please take him out to catch some of Cape Town’s tuna & today I was going to try my absolute best to put him & the crew on some adrenalin pumped longfin tuna fishing.
Longvin tuna do not get as big as yellowfin or big eye tuna with the All-Tackle reckord being 39.97kg & we normally get them here between sizes of 10-25kg. But these fish are like torpedoes on the end of your line & put up an excellent fight for their size.

7:30am & we arrive at the tuna grounds ready for a day filled with fishing action. As we arrive we see that all of the tuna pole vessels are also in the same area & we start by putting our backlines in with an array of lures on buffet our long finned friends.
Large bird with daisy chain squids stb far back, small bird with daisy chain squids port far back, a mix of deep divers a bit closer & 2x bungee’s on either side, very close to the boat. (A bungee is a thick elastic band supported with a rope with a high strength mono fishing line at the end on which you would normally put a weighted plastic squid, see picture).
As we put our lines in we spot a big flock of birds working baitfish & we all think that this is it, the day is going to start off with a bang! But this was not the case, not one bite or 1 fish marking on the Raymarine Fish Finder. After 2 hours of nothing I could see that the guys from Jeffreys are starting to think “did I come all this way for a bit of sight seeing”.

10:30 and we are still cracking on, trying different lures every now & then but nothing. All of a sudden the fish start marking on the fishfinder (Raymarine Chirp CP450 with 1kW TM265 transducer) at 60m, still to deep for us to raise them on the lures but at least a very good sign of things to come. About 30 min later & we get our first longfin on the pink rapala. After that all hell broke lose with everybody catching tuna on the squids, rapalas & bungees for the next 3 hours. The first tuna that takes the port side bungee snaps the line, but the starboard side just kept on going, with Dawie getting into the groove of handlining tuna in on the bungee.

At around mid day, still on the fish the predicted SW wind starts coming up & for about 15min we get no bites. All of a sudden my rod with a daisy chain goes off, sounding like one of those remote control petrol cars running on nitro’s. (My left hand Avet 50 wide is rigged with +-500m 80lb mono topshot + 80lb braid backing & I use 10KG drag on strike, the biggest yellowfin I’ve caught so far is 90KG & I have not yet needed to use the braid backing).
As I get the rod out of the holder & strapped in I start to see the braid, 3sec later & I’m on the braid, a few seconds later & plenty of the braid has been taken off the reel. All that goes through my head is “this is either a bluefin or a big eye of serious proportion”, but as fate would want it, this was not to be & about 10 min into the fight the hook pull’s & my dream fish swims away into the deep.

We go back onto the troll catching longfin when all of a sudden we hear another remote control car on nitro’s, this time its on Wickus’s rod, +-30 min into the fight & he is starting to gain ground, only for the fish to make another turbo charged run & in the process snapping the leader just after the crimp. It seemed like today was going to be our “the one that got away” day.

3pm & everyone has caught enough longfin to give their families a healthy fish diet for the foreseeable future so we decide to call it a day & head back to Millers point. In the meantime the wind has also come up quite a bit with plenty of white horses around, but the 25FT Carry Cat just eats up weather like that & we were back at the slip at 5pm.

I can truly say that this was one of the most enjoyable days at sea that I have had in a long time, lots of fish, awesome company on the boat & a few stories for that braai about that elusive, “one fish that always seems to get away”.

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