Bluefin Tuna Fishing
AS A RESULT OF THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE BLUEFINS WE ARE NO LONGER OFFERING TUNA FISHING.
The Bluefin Tuna which we were lucky enough to fish for and catch from 2000 to 2005 have not been seen off the Bills rocks for some years now. They are now on the World Wildlife list of endangered species and it is very likely that those fish we saw in their thousands have all been caught and have become “sushi”. During those years when the Bluefins were here Bluewater took part in Stanford Universities TAG A GIANT programme as we were fishing on a catch and release basis. Despite great effort we only managed to tag one Bluefin aboard Bluewater and a two others were tagged of the coast of Donegal. The following year the Bluefins did not return.
We were privileged to see and fish for these mighty fish and to meet some of the characters involved in big game fishing but sadly it seems very likely that we won’t see them again.
Reports of Giant Bluefin Tuna in the Clifden area prompted John to fit out Bluewater with a set of equipment necessary to tackle these monsters for the 2002 season. The first item to be acquired was a fighting chair, which was firmly fixed to Bluewater’s back deck. Next came the rods, reels and end tackle, which required an awful lot of research. New knots and splices had to learnt, techniques for the unfamiliar methods of trolling and live baiting researched and decisions made on the right type of rods and reels. Eventually Shimano Tiagras and Penn rods arrived together with 1000 yds of line for each reel. Now all we needed were the fish. Armed with this very impressive gear and loads of research into how to do it, we awaited the arrival of the Tuna.
At last, though later than expected, we got a good report of Tuna on 19th Sept. and immediately went to investigate. Sure enough clouds of Gannets were circling and diving amongst a number of breaks of Tuna. The Tuna are clearly visible as they hit the bait fish on the surface with some even coming completely out of the water after their quarry. Within minutes of arriving amongst the Tuna, we were trolling and a short time later we had our first hook up.
The method of fishing is mostly trolling a variety of Lures, plug baits and spreader bars. Live bait fishing is also effective and using a kite is particularily exciting. The Mackerel is suspended on the surface amongst the break of Tuna by the Kite so you can see your bait and the fish feeding beside it.
If you are lucky enough to have a hook up you will be in the chair for at least an hour and it could be a lot longer. This is physically quite demanding and John will give you a run-through on technique if you need it. The water is quite shallow, around 200ft, so the fish will run and, unless the boat is backed up after it, the chances of getting spooled are high. If the fish decides to run upwind, you may find yourself getting a bit wet from the spray as the boat is backed into the waves but this just adds to the drama!
Bluewater’s tackle consists of Penn 80lbs bent butt rods with Shimano Tiagra TI80 W reels to match. During the 2002 season the reels were loaded with a 200m mono top shot connected with a loop -to – loop connection to 500m of 130lbs Dacron. We will be fishing according to I.G.F.A. rules from now on and so will be dropping the line strength to 80lbs.
The end tackle is, like all Tuna gear, very expensive, and Bluewater has a full inventory of it, consisting of a variety of spreader bars, plug baits and live bait equipment. She also has outriggers and most importantly a proper fighting chair.
Going on past experience, there is a very high probability of seeing these monsters feeding on the surface, which in itself is probably enough for most anglers. Bluewater made 18 trips to the ground one year and on 16 we saw thousands of Tuna splashing on the surface, with some coming completely clear as they fed on the bait fish. The fish did not get to their dramatic size by accident and, despite the frequent feeding frenzies, they are very difficult to catch. In our 16 trips to the ground in 2002 we had 6 takes which resulted in 3 hook ups and we landed all 3 fish.
€700 per day inclusive of all tackle and equipment.
The cost of a day’s Tuna fishing is considerable; fuel consumption is high and the Bluewater is properly equipped with the gear necessary to catch these fish. You will not end up playing the fish of a lifetime on a Rod holder but in a proper fighting chair, using gear that wont fail. All necessary end tackle is supplied and the day is as long as you want it to be. All you need to bring is some food; everything else is supplied. Bluewater is licensed for 12 and the number in your group is up to you as long as it not more than 12. Bear in mind that only one fit person can fight the fish but, given reasonable conditions, everyone will get to see them.