How to Catch Longtail Tuna on Soft Plastics - Gobblers Lures Blog

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

Hooking up to a Longtail on soft plastics is a feeling like no other...and it's easy to imagine your reel bursting into flames from the blistering runs and even your favourite rod snapping like a twig from the dogged deep runs that hurt the Angler more than the fish...

Tropical Dave with a typical size Cairns Longtail from the Tinnie

There are not many fish in the sea that can have you anticipating the season like many hardcore lure anglers do with Longtails and hooking them on Soft Plastics is a rewarding way to target these amazing fish and wont break the bank when it comes to Lure selection. Longtail Tuna can be found from Cairns in the North of Australia, all the way down to Brisbane and even Northern New South Wales depending on the yearly current. We refer to them as Longtail Tuna but they are also know as Northern Bluefin Tuna and Pacific Bluefin Tuna and are not to be confused with their bigger cousins, the Southern Bluefin Tuna which have been known to reach up to 400kg +. The common size fish we get to see coming into the Bay's can range from 8kg up to 12kg normally, although some fish can push up to 18kg - 25kg + and you will know all about it if you hook into one of these models on light gear, with your reel heading into meltdown mode, and the only option being, to start the motor and follow the fish to the horizon...

Tropical Dave with a Solid Longtail on Gobblers Lures

Longtail Tuna are migratory pelagic's that move up and down the coastline and cover huge distances in the process. Timing of when to find these fish in your areas can depend very much on the currents that help the bait find it's way into the Bay's and put the Tuna in targeting range. Some years are better than others and can leave Anglers in Southern parts of Queensland disappointed or packing up the car, hooking up the boat, checking the bank balance and heading off in search of where they might be at any given time... Hervey Bay along Queensland's Fraser coast, is a renowned Longtail hot-spot, with Anglers migrating to these Bay waters in the Autumn and Spring months when Longtail's move along the coastline, following the shoals of Bait-fish that get directed into this area during these times of year. Hervey Bay is well renowned for Longtail's because the currents rarely miss this spot, bring the the bait and the fish in with it consistently...

The Longtail's can be hit and miss in Moreton Bay off Brisbane, but they often come down each year and can usually be found first in the Northern half of the Bay around Mud Island and Moreton Island, and they do pop up in a few different spots further south throughout the Bay which I have circled in Red on the map below to help you out... Using Gobblers Soft Plastics to target Longtail's is extremely effective. Different weight Jig Heads can be use to get the distance needed in casting to busting schools of Longtails and they're a fantastic bait profile imitation that easily get the hookups. We have spent a heap of time focusing our design efforts on Lures to ensure you have the best chance of hooking up to as many species as possible in our Aussie waters..and Longtail have been a particular focus.

Tuna Chasers - Gobblers Lures 4.75" Jerk Shads in a few different Colours

Places to start your search for Longtail's are usually in the deeper channels, hard up against sand bar ledges where they like to push the bait up against the edge to make it easier to feed. Longtail's that have already been worked by boats tend to be very skittish...and can go down deep as soon as you get in casting range..then pop up 100m away..which can make the whole process extremely frustrating, especially when you can see the fish..but can't get near them to get a cast in... A good guide as to where the fish are and how deep they're sitting is to watch for a few birds. Birds will hover over Tuna schools and a good measure of the depth they're sitting at, is the height of the Birds. If the Birds are high..the fish are deep. If the Birds are low..the fish are up higher in the water column..even breaking the surface as the birds dive to chance their luck on the bait-fish the Tuna are pushing to the surface.

You will need good gear to target Longtail's. I usually take a Gobblers Lures Large Kit with me, with a decent spread of colours to match the water colour and overhead conditions (Sunny or Overcast) on any given day, and it's covered extensively in the book "Cracking the Code" which will help you understand Lure Colour selection so no need to bang on about it here. The Gobblers 4.75" Jerk shads are an ideal profile lure that can be cast long distances when matched with a heavier 3/8oz up to a 1oz Jig Head..and can be ripped back through busting schools of Tuna at high speed to entice the strike. I find a 3/0 size Heavy Duty Saltwater hook on your Jig Head is the right thing for Longtail's.

Don't be afraid to cut your lure down. Longtail's can be finicky and ignore larger profile lures if they're focused in on Micro-Bait. Sometimes dropping down to a 3.75"Jerk Shad and even cutting this down from the head to a smaller profile can mean a hook-up or heading for home without a catch. If you can get a look at the will know what size to start presenting them.

A Gobblers Lures Large Kit ready for chasing Longtail's - 8 Colours. 4 Profiles. 200 Lures

I opt for a 3500 - 4500 size Reel with super smooth drag. It's worth spending the money on good gear for these fish as the cheaper stuff can be basically thrown away after a few hookups on larger fish. 20lb Braid and 20 - 30lb Fluorocarbon Leader is what I usually uses when targeting Longtail's and it's worth the time to focus on good knots as these fish will work out the kinks in all your gear and can leave you throwing your arms in the air and cursing after hooking and loosing good fish during the fight due to poor knots.

Some patches of Longtail's can be as small as 4-5 individuals and sometimes they're not accompanied by you need to be vigilant and continually scanning the water for fish hitting the surface. Sometimes they leap from the water, but not's like they have already stuffed themselves and their attempt to jump out of the water chasing bait is like me trying to jump hurdles after a 2 hour sit down at an all you can eat Seafood Restaurant... they just seem to wallow around...

Wayne Palmer with a cracker Longtail on Gobblers Lures

Young James Palmer with a Cracker Longtail on the Gobblers 3.75" Pink Glow Jerk Shad

Wayne Palmer with a cracker Gobblers 4.75" Jerk Shad munching Longtail Tuna from Moreton Bay

Hopefully some of these tips help you connect with some solid Longtail Tuna and you can be safe in knowing that grabbing a Kit of Gobblers Lures in our Online Shop is a safe bet to get the job done when it counts most.

Best Regards Wayne Palmer Gobblers Lures

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