We spoke to Kelly 'Hooch' Hunt of Team PENN-SIMRAD Fishing to find out which four Tuna Lures he would recommend and why....
It is no secret that the Bunga is a favourite of ours. We had a hand in its development and also pressed to have this skirt combination put together. The Redbait here in Tasmania are the staple diet of the Southern Bluefin and a skirt combo that resembled this fish was a must. We fish some pretty rough water here in Tasmania at times and it's not because we are mad but due to our fishing grounds! On the mainland if the weather is rough you generally don’t venture out due to the distance to the shelf. In Tassie we have some headlands and points that hold tuna extremely close to our boat ramps. This means we can depart in good conditions sheltered by land, and sneak out in the rough and rumble of a southerly blow to find the fish feeding hard in the whipped up water. Tuna love a white cap or two and a bit of breeze on the surface - but skirted lures generally don’t. We needed a lure that was heavier - the result was the Bunga. It has shot shell in the head of the lure and holds the water in some nasty side and wind from the quarter. We love it and it has really performs well. This lure would be a cracker in the Victorian tuna waters as well. The Bunga was also the stand out lure when we found ourselves leading the prestigious NSW Inter Club competition... Yes as big a surprise to us as everyone else!
This little lure is a killer. A stone cold killer. It’s a champion for us and run long on the shotgun or long rigger it has proven itself time and time again. Once upon a time it’s ability to catch tuna in a competition spread was a closely guarded secret, only ever spoken about with a secret code. The Smoka head holds the water well in the long positions and won’t blow out with wind pressure. When fishing 24kg and 37kg line classes in the shotgun and long rigger positions the exposed line clear of the water catches the wind and can at times pull light, poorly made lures out of the water, tripping across the surface of tumbling down swells. As far as colours for the Smoka, the 'go to' (as we nicknamed it) was the Sacred Saury, responsible for a good number of competition wins in the tag and release sections we entered. It is often doubled up in our starting 5 of competition lures and is cemented in the shotgun position. Birds will have a second look at a lot of lures but over the years the amount of birds that have swooped and had a crack at the Sacred Saury is incredible. That definitely tells us something!
On occasion when the fish are proving hard to incite a bite, matching the hatch becomes vital. When the chips are down and the reels have been quiet for a while, I dive in the lure roll for the Secret Squid. A great lure, the Roach Secret Squid combo is coloured like a squid - it's a winner! It has seen good competition results for us and I swapped a Sacred Saury out of the spread and subbed this lure in on a recent trip to Flinders Island. It has to be a good lure to take the place of a Saury and it was only in the water 20 minutes when the biggest striped marlin I have seen smashed it off our long corner. This was a short and sad story as the fish didn’t stay connected, but it's just one instance of a dozen that has cemented this lure as a great performer. The Roach is traditionally a short position lure due to its cupped and short head. On calm oily days like at Flinders Island we sometimes mix it up and run it on long corner with the rigger high-ish. This leads to a great smoke trail and the hint of a head wobble that we like to see. It’s a lure that really looks magic running like this in clean water wide of the boat wash!
We are lucky in Tasmania to have some very good Albacore Tuna populations and they are quite often a good size. Albacore to 20kg plus are not uncommon and are super tasty! These fish are not worth much on the points tally, but we love to eat them. If we are looking for some table fish, the Yamas is a colour combo that comes out to play. For whatever reason, pink is a colour these fish like to nail and Yamas gets the job done. Albacore are snipers, so we run the Midge in the shorter positions and fill the freezers with ease when we find a school of these great fish. At 6.5 inches it is a small lure, but it pulls down an awesome bubble trail and breaths with a sweet push of water forward. This not only excites the 'Albies', but brings its fair share of Bluefin undone as well! A little side note to Albacore... If your kids or friends don’t eat fish and turn their noses up to the very suggestion, try Albacore cut into one inch cubes, crumbed and shallow fried. Plate with some dipping sauces and the kids may be on their way to enjoying fish!