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Tuna Fishing
Seasonal Guide

Tuna Fishing

Tuna may be regarded as the 'glamour' species of big game fishing - big, beautiful and fast. A great challenge for experienced anglers or novices!

Yellow-fin tuna is the most abundant fish in the tuna family to be found in the Bay of Islands, although big-eye tuna and blue-fin tuna are occasionally caught. Yellow-fin tuna tend to average around the 20 kg mark, but can reach up to 70 kg and two metres in length.

They are beautifully-coloured fish with a dark-blue back, iridescent golden band running along the body, a line which divides the silver belly and the blue back. As the name suggests, all the fins on this tuna are yellow, and another distinguishing feature is that the dorsal and anal fins lengthen considerably in tuna in excess of 30kg. On yellow-fin tuna weighing more than 50kg, these fins become long and sabre-like and protrude almost at right angles before curving back to the tail.

Tuna Feeding & Speeding!
The swimming speed and stamina of tuna is legendary. Every external feature of the tuna's body is designed to lessen resistance as the fish cuts through the water. Scientists have estimated that tuna can attain speeds in excess of 30mph (50kph) with ease, and are second only to marlin for speed. An unusual characteristic is their warm bloodedness. The body temperature of tuna is several degrees warmer than the water they swim in, whereas most fish equal the temperature.

Tuna have to consume a lot of food to fuel the energy necessary for their quick propulsion, and remembering that they have only a small stomach capacity, the fuel must be burnt quickly resulting in a high body temperature. Tuna eat just about any bait fish such as squid, pilchards and small mackerel.

Tuna Fishing - Ideal Conditions
Tuna is one of the glamour fish of game fishing. Ideal conditions would include crystal clear water with a deep blue, almost purple hue; temperatures of between 18 to 21 degrees Celsius; a current and the presence of feeding birds, which tend to indicate that tuna are about. Sunny days also seem to be the best-for the tuna and the fishermen!

Tuna Bait
Tuna can be caught on both lures and live bait. When fishing the blue waters off the Bay of Islands, cubing and live baiting is popular. When a yellow-fin tuna takes the bait, the strike is often hard and fast and the fish will run a fair distance at a rate of knots, maintaining a constant high speed. They adopt a deep, lugging action and tend to fight in a long series of arcs, testing both the angler and his tackle.

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