38kg Yellowfin - Gold Coast Australia
For some a 38kg yellowfin, is a monster, for the regular game fisherman, it is average. As this was the first in my boat and the fact that I am a terrible fisherman, I was super pumped. Here's how it went down.
At just after 530 AM, headed out of Tweed Bar in my 30 year old Haines Hunter V17L, powered with a 115hp Optimax, headed east towards the shelf, had a drop in 85m for some pearlies, but couldn't find any, so we kept pushing out towards the shelf as we heard the Yellowfin could be there.
As my sounder does not read past about 200m, we were just going off the GPS and Navionics. To where I thought they might be. Not much happening, so we just kept driving until we saw a lot of seabirds in one area of a few different species. There was a pack sitting on the water and others flying around high, but not diving. So we just stopped near the pack of birds and started burleying. We did this for about 45 mins and had some lunch, but nothing happened. We got jack of that, so we started moving further out, but chucked 2 lures out and started trolling. Very soon all the birds came to life and started diving just up ahead. We saw birds all flying off with fish in their beaks. We trolled right through the patch and Jamie was watching the lures, when he saw something smash one and the line start peeling off. He grabbed the rod and I pulled in the other and the teaser.
The fish went deep and we were not sure what it was. It just wasn't coming up. After about 20 minutes, of Jamie swearing and man handling the fish, it was alongside and I stuck the gaff in it. We dragged it onboard, then we were both super-pumped about the whole ordeal. We killed it, took some quick pictures and bled it. Then chucked it in the 160L Ice Box to cool. I use 4 x 5L Bottles filled with water and frozen solid. We put the fish in, had both bungs sealed, then put a few buckets of salt water in the box, until the fish was half in the water. My idea was to flip the fish over after an hour so the other side got a good chance to cool in the icy slurry. This worked a treat and started cooling the fish down to make sure this tasty treat from the ocean would not deteriorate and keep its eating quality.
This was done and dusted by midday, but we wanted to try for another. So we started trolling again and saw another school with Yellowfin and Stripe tuna coming out of the water. We stopped the boat just up-current, pulled the lures in and started burleying again. While putting our spearing gear on, there were tuna hitting the surface only 10 metres from the boat. We jumped in and burleyed for an hour, but never saw the tuna in the water. We did however have a 3 metre mako come up the burley trail. By then we figured we would not get a tuna past him anyway, we started trolling again.
We went through another school and got a double hook-up, but these were both striped tuna. We saw bigger yellowfin in the school, but couldn't get the lures past these suckers. We chucked them in the ice box and will use them for snapper and pearly bait or burley.
After all this, it was getting close to 3pm, we had 70km to travel to get home in the little Haines, so we turned and headed west. We pulled the boat out and took the fish back to the Icey Tek warehouse to weigh and fillet it. It ended up weighing 38.1kg and we got a heap pf meat off it. The meat was nice and cool after a few hours in the ice box and should eat well.