Newsletter from Skip Fly


Here it is Spring, the time when all hell breaks loose on the Sunshine Coast of Australia. Longtail Tuna by the thousands, chasing bait no more than 50 yards offshore, it gives me the shivers just thinking about it. Everywhere you look you see schools of Slimy Mackerel the size of football fields erupting, churning the waters as Mac Tuna and Longtail Tuna push them to the surface. You think to yourself, this is going to be a piece of cake to catch one of these hogs, well think again. This was my second trip to Australia and I sure as hell wasn't going home this time without catching a Longtail. In my first trip over I had spent a decent amount of time throwing flies at Tuna without landing a single fish, I was starting to think my fishing skills were severely lacking until I watched other proven anglers get bitten by the same snake that was eating ne alive.

You just have to be at the right place at the right time, with the right fly, the right line, the right distance from the school of fish you are trying to cast to and maybe, just maybe, with the right speed on you strip after casting 80 to 90 feet into the school you get hooked up to the hardest fighting fish pound for pound it's ever been my pleasure to connect with. My fish decided he didn't want to leave the school he was traveling with but I am thinking no problem, I've got 600 yards of backing, I can go wherever he wants, wrong, at the speed this thing is traveling I'm rapidly getting spooled, we had better chase this thing. To make a long story short, we did chase the fish and just when I thought I had I whipped it went down, set it's pectoral fins and there it sat.

After much pumping we brought it to the surface and put him in the boat for a few pictures. People kept asking why I'm not smiling with this fish, well, I was so tired I couldn't spit let alone smile' but I did break the skunk on the Longtail.

When and if you decide to go after a Longtail with a fly rod I would suggest a 12 wt. rod as Longtail come in all sizes, no sense coming to the party under gunned, a fore grip would be nice if you end up having to pump one up from the depths. Buy the largest reel you can afford that carries a minimum of 600 yards of 30 pound backing and has a drag system that would stop a freight train. I've seen a number of different setups on lines, 15 ft shooting heads with 80 ft. of running line helps reduce the drag in the water or my favorite being an intermediate slime line with lots of backing, makes it a little easier to hang onto the line while stripping.

Flies! The best bet is using whatever baitfish pattern the fish are feeding on. Check with the local fly shop, they will always give you a place to start. Gavin Plantz at TieNfly on the Sunshine coast ties some of the best Tuna flies I've seen in that part of the world, in the US look at Paul van Reenen's kinky fiber flies.

Blue water fishing represents one of the great thrills of fly fishing and is a major challenge, treat yourself to a day on the salt.                                     Skip Fly

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