A run of big southern bluefin tuna off the NSW coast continues unabated, judging by reports from NSW south coast fishermen over the past weekend. Much of the action is still centred off the southern NSW coastal towns of Merimbula and Bermagui, with some reports of SBTs still being caught wide of Sydney.
Many of the reports of big southern bluefin encounters have involved trailerboat anglers – a growing number now leaving tackle records in their wake.
The attached photos were supplied by Michael Hampson, who in the company of two fishing companions, managed a trio of big SBTs from Hampson’s 17-foot trailerboat, Jedi, yesterday.
Hampson says the smallest tuna the trio boated was an approximately 70kg fish he caught and later gave to an appreciative friend in Tathra.
Another notable catch for Jedi was a 129kg, pending NSW 24kg line class record, for Peter “PJ” Bridle.
The highlight of the day for the crew came when they managed to haul aboard a huge SBT, which after weigh-in tipped the scales to 167.5kg – a pending IGFA world and Australian GFAA 37kg all tackle record. The monster tuna reportedly took a trolled Dave Venn JB lure and was caught by Phil “Mugsy” Body.
Phil Body’s pending world and Australian record 167.5kg SBT. Pic: Michael Hampson
Hampson told Fishing World the trio’s tuna were caught 35 nautical miles wide of Merimbula – a two hour run in the trailer boat. He says the return leg only took around 1 ½ hours as with the added weight of fish on board the boat wouldn’t hold plane unless the boat exceeded 22 knots, requiring returning home at wide-open throttle.
Hampson says while his crew had been reluctant to travel such a distance offshore prior to the trip, the effort paid off with both anglers catching pending record fish.