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Longtail Tuna - Want to know more?

Postby paulo » Sat Sep 29, 2012 6:27 pm

It has been mentioned before but the recent unseasonal catches of LTs had me going back here to look for reasons why the fish are about this time of year unlike previous years. I still dont have any answers but did pick up a few more snippets of note for use in the hunt for these majestic creatures.

CSIRO did a study of longtails in 2009/10. http://www.longtailtuna.com.au/Info.aspx
Some really interesting stuff here including satellite maps of one fish's migratory pattern. Their preference for deeper cooler water at night and 22-26 deg during the day suggests it would be pointless targeting them at night where we fish and also goes toward explaining why you can catch one any time of the day and not just at first light.

The world record is 142cm and 35.6kg. The fish we have been catching lately are all around the 20 year old mark and getting towards the top end of size. Once these fish get over the 20kg mark they are in a completely different class to the school fish we catch here in April\May and can take hours to subdue from the yak. I battled one off Fraser one year for 1hr and 45 and still got dusted at the boat. I had no control at all for the first 30 mins whist that thing dragged me round like a rag doll.

Imagine if all of the species we chased were 'Recreational Only'. Then think how few there would be if this fish were commercially targeted given how close to shore they come. Ignoring man-made or natural disaster the fate of this species rests with us.
Last edited by paulo on Sat Sep 29, 2012 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Longtail Tuna - Want to know more?

Postby grant ashwell » Sat Sep 29, 2012 6:48 pm

They are a great fish with a quite distinctive fighting pattern
From memory the world record was taken off the rocks somewhere along the East Coast on a live Trevelly or similar


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Re: Longtail Tuna - Want to know more?

Postby paulo » Sat Sep 29, 2012 7:10 pm

liam8227 wrote:Thanks Paulo thats a really interesting post. I have never caught a long tail before (I have chased the buggers from kayak and boat though). LTs are high on my list of fish I must catch.

I do struggle with the idea of killing something thats lived 20 years or so. I wont take a big bream for that reason and would probably agonise about taking a big snap home.

Liam, Sunny Coast in April May is almost a sure thing. Happy to take you out with us next season.
Agreed on taking something so old. However they are a recreational species only, not under a great deal of fishing pressure from rec anglers, yield an enormous amount of very tasty flesh and though I release a good many, its not always possible. Their penchant for fighting to their death makes them my favourite quarry and one I feel justified in killing and eating after a 1hr battle that could have gone either way. They win at least 50% of those battles through sheer power and determination. They can be very frustrating to target. I have video of many post lost-battle tantrums to show just how frustrating they can be. :oops:
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Yak PBs - 60cm Tailor | 72cm Spangled Emporer | 85cm Flathead | 90cm Yellowfin | 75cm Snapper | 85cm Mac Tuna | 2.5m (78kg) Black Marlin | 1.2m Longtail | 1.32m (19.5kg) Kingfish
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Re: Longtail Tuna - Want to know more?

Postby kayakone » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:35 pm

paulo wrote:
liam8227 wrote:Thanks Paulo thats a really interesting post. I have never caught a long tail before (I have chased the buggers from kayak and boat though). LTs are high on my list of fish I must catch.

I do struggle with the idea of killing something thats lived 20 years or so. I wont take a big bream for that reason and would probably agonise about taking a big snap home.

Liam, Sunny Coast in April May is almost a sure thing. Happy to take you out with us next season.
Agreed on taking something so old. However they are a recreational species only, not under a great deal of fishing pressure from rec anglers, yield an enormous amount of very tasty flesh and though I release a good many, its not always possible. Their penchant for fighting to their death makes them my favourite quarry and one I feel justified in killing and eating after a 1hr battle that could have gone either way. They win at least 50% of those battles through sheer power and determination. They can be very frustrating to target. I have video of many post lost-battle tantrums to show just how frustrating they can be. :oops:


Uhoh. I just ate a 20 year old fish in 2 weeks. Thanks for this interesting study Paul.

They are certainly a battle royale, and your gear can easily fail in such a long and powerful battle. The one I got recently towed a 50 kg kayak partly sideways (with 90 kg of pure muscle on it :o ) around for 40 minutes, and was dead on arrival. I slipped my hand in it's gills for not a murmur or shudder. It could not have been revived.

Interestingly, I was talking to another AKFF'er who has been targeting these for a few years, and he uses very heavy gear to get them in in usually under 15 minutes, with the sole purpose of shortening the fight so that they can be released. This seems to make sense. He must be strong lad.

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Re: Longtail Tuna - Want to know more?

Postby paulsod » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:03 am

Best in yak:- Gold-spotted Sweetlip - 44cms, Snapper - 75cms, Estuary Cod - 54cms, Dusky Flathead - 49cms, Long Tail Tuna - 104cms, Grass Emperor - 54cms, School Mackerel - 64cms, Giant Trevally- 63cms, Mulloway - 89cms
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Re: Longtail Tuna - Want to know more?

Postby imnotoriginal » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:33 pm

Great post Paulo.

I think the more information we find out about them the better.

Given the current pressure on other species of tuna I think it's important we recognise what we have here.

I'm hoping to recognise one as more than a burning smell coming from my reel in the next few months :lol:

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