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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I can only judge on Tuna sadly, as the Travelly I've caught are not the GT's only Golden and some I can't remember.
But I am yet to experience the true power and fight of GT's on Poppers, Stickbaits and Jigs using lighter tackle than the trolling gear we were used to in Kenya.

Yellowfin Tuna, Big Eyed Tuna, Skipjack Tuna and Bonito are the species I've caught.
Yellowfin Tuna to 35lb on my UK Pike rod with 40lb braid was great fun but bloody hard work, made worse by being hooked near dorsal fin.
The next cast was a YFT to 30lb approx, hooked correctly, and boy do these fish fight on light spinning gear.
No Butt Pad

The other Tuna were caught on trolling rods and strong lines, so there was never any real challenge in bringing them in.
Although 1 Skipjack was huge and around 20lb and that put a good fight up, the skipper was surprised about its size too, and it was caught among a school of YFT.

We did hook many YFT trolling too, and 1 day, we hooked a moster among the 5 rods that were hit together. 4 YFT around 25 - 35lb came in easily, and were my 1st stand up and fight fish in Kenya, and it was easier to stand and fight than I had expected, and more fun than the chair.
Tim however was struggling with his Monster YFT (1 was caught previous day around 275lb) 45 minutes later with Tim starting to struggle, the skipper reversed the boat to help recover line, but sadly it snapped off to never be seen, but it was exciting all the same.

So as far as I'm concerned at this point, YFT are the best fight, but many may disagree.
 

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I have done the whole pike set up for tuna: here I am in Mauritius at my best mate's wedding getting into some bonito and YFT on a 12ft 3.5lb tc rod, Daiwa Infinity reel and 30lb Power Pro:






I couldn't believe how small the bonito was when the gaff went in! They certainly pull a bit!
 

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Light (20-70g) pike spinning rods (in this case a Fox MB Spin Stick) coupled with 30lb Power Pro can also do the business with tuna (in this case a Musandam Long Tail). :D

 

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I have done the whole pike set up for tuna: here I am in Mauritius at my best mate's wedding getting into some bonito and YFT on a 12ft 3.5lb tc rod, Daiwa Infinity reel and 30lb Power Pro:






I couldn't believe how small the bonito was when the gaff went in! They certainly pull a bit!

That fish with the gaff in is a striped tuna (which fight harder than bonito) . I dont think you can compare tunas until they reach maturity as they haven't reached their potential hunting speed and power. When they get up over 70 kg they become a completely different beast.
JonD
 

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Having caught both a Yellow fin Tuna and a GT on the same day, and both about the same size I will summarize with this.

Rod: 9 foot 6-8Kg Graghcast 2
Reel: Van Staal VS150 with 30lb Power Pro
Location: Shark Bay, Western Australia.
Spinning from rocks about 6 metres up.
Lure: Repala Large 23cm Hard Body Bibbed Green and Gold 2 metre diver.

First up was the Tuna. This fish ran 200 metres without slowing down then turned and came back towards us. A quick swim past the rocks and it was off again in a totally unstoppable second run.
Then back towards the rocks and another swim past at breakneck speed. 15-20 minutes of this before the fish looked like it was starting to run out of puff.
Being 6 metres up we have to us a flying gaff to get our fish. As we were about to attach the gaff, off it went again, this time leaving me with about 20 turns left on my reel.
Now deciding that I had to stop this Tuna, i place my hand on the spool to stop all drag and waited for the "ping". Luckily the Tuna turned and finally made it back towards to the rocks.
After another 25-30 minutes of blistering swim pasts and further runs we got the gaff down the cliff and onto the Tuna. A perfectly placed gaff got the fish on the lip and up the cliff it came.
After a quick unhook the Tuna was returned to the water. Estimated weight was 45-50lb. I was knacker and took a break.
Within about 1 hour I hooked into a GT. I had not adjusted my drag from the previous fight. My initial thought was a "bigger" Tuna, which to be honest was not what I wanted.
However the head shake and short sharp runs alerted us to it not being a Tuna. It was about 10 minutes into this fight that we first saw the GT.
This beast gave no head at all, I could not make ground on it and it was only pulling small amounts of line from me. About 15 minutes into the fight things became a bit easier.
Only a bit, as I was able to keep the GT close to the rocks for the next 15 or so minutes. Again a lucky gaff and up can the GT. Unhooked and returned to the water. Estimate 40-50lb.

So which was tougher. A tricky question.
The Tuna had a lot more stamina and was able to rip line from my reel, make 4 or 5 long 200 yard runs.
The GT was just plain hard to move and its head shakes made me feel like my equipment could fly apart at any moment.
The Tuna took the best part of an hour to land and was still quite lively as we gaffed it.
The GT took only (only?) 40 minutes and the GT was totally spent by the time the gaff got close.

So I go with the Tuna on sheer stamina and the ability to rip 200 metres of line from my almost fully locked reel. And not just once.

It was a fun day, and if we cant eat it, it goes back.

Stax
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hiya Stax,
Great catch report and comparison of species, combined with a colourful description of the fights.
The Tuna sounded by far the much harder fish to catch, especially with the long scary runs and slight risk of being spooled.
I had thought Tuna to be the better fighter myself, but only having caught GT on heavy trolling gear it was not really a good comparison with the Tuna I've caught on spinning gear.
GT command a huge following though and this must be for a reason!!!

The guys I talk to and reports I read imply large GT's over 40kg are painfully hard to fight and brutes on your tackle, something I hopefully experience in the near future.
 

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I have done the whole pike set up for tuna: here I am in Mauritius at my best mate's wedding getting into some bonito and YFT on a 12ft 3.5lb tc rod, Daiwa Infinity reel and 30lb Power Pro:
I couldn't believe how small the bonito was when the gaff went in! They certainly pull a bit!
I don't know what it is about Mauritius but the bonito (local name for skipjack tuna aka striped tuna in Australia) fight harder there than anywhere else I've seen, though having only caught them in six or seven locations that's not a long list. My personal favourite outfit to catch them with is a single handed US style baitcasting rod with an Ambassadeur reel any size between 6500 and 8000, spooled with 12 lb line. It's just like big tuna fishing, except without the pain!
 

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I don't know what it is about Mauritius but the bonito (local name for skipjack tuna aka striped tuna in Australia) fight harder there than anywhere else I've seen, though having only caught them in six or seven locations that's not a long list. My personal favourite outfit to catch them with is a single handed US style baitcasting rod with an Ambassadeur reel any size between 6500 and 8000, spooled with 12 lb line. It's just like big tuna fishing, except without the pain!
Although appearance's similar but in the pic is skipjack tuna. The bonito has a black spot plus two smaller one running in line with the bigger spot i think. In my opinion i find bonito fight harder at times than a skipjack. Bonito is not a very nice eating fish (dont tell the spaniards this)unless you curry it in hot masala.
 

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The skipjack (striped tuna) are a fantastic fighting tuna in my opinion and go much harder than bonito. I had 5 game rods trolling the shelf one day when all got hist at the same time, all rods were set-up with tiagra 50's (back in those day's) with drags set at around 10 lb on strike. One rod was screaming off line as I bullied the other 4 fish quickly to the boat which was still moving slowly to keep the fish from tangling. When I grabbed the last rod with what seemed like a decent fish it turned out to be an skipjack around 8kg while the others were about 5kg, a few extra kilo's made a huge amount of difference and I was truly amazed by how hard such a small fish had fought, Ive had many small bluefin up to 50 kg that were very poor fighters in comparison.

In regards to eating bonito if they don't get bled immediately and stored on ice the meat becomes very soft, here they have a reasonable commercial value but need to be looked after as soon as they are captured. Skipjacks are just used for bait here as the meat is very red and strong.
JonD

Bonito


skipjack (striped tuna)
 

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I definitely see a few 'misunderstandings' coming out so far as 'bonito' species are concerned - I think what Masterbait is referring to is Euthynnus affinis - also called kawakawa. In Pacific/Indian Ocean contexts these are often referred to as bonito - the black stomach spots is one ID for this species. You then get two bonito 'groups' - the Atlantic (Sarda sarda) and the pacific bonito - Sarda sp - e.g. S. orientalis, S. chiliensis, S. australis etc - Jon's first photo above an example of this. Also evident are the 'teeth' - you don't see this in kawakawa.

Some skipper say that if skipjack grew to the same proportions as Bluefin tuna, they would be impossible to land on rod and line - that says something about their fighting prowess..
 

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And to add to the confusion the skipjack is called "bonito" in Mauritius and the kawa kawa/little tunny is (or at least was when I was there) called "mackerel bonito" - no doubt a reference to the squiggly marks on its back, just like the same fish is called "mackerel tuna" in Aussie. In Panama the black skipjack (an Euthynnus family member more similar to the kawa kawa/little tunny than the true skipjack) is often called "bonito" by the local crews. And so on...

I have experienced/seen some really good fights from big little tunny as well but the skipjack for me is the hardest fighter. When they get past a certain size they carry more weight further back (like that fish in Ripplefisher's photo) and go from being super sport to really superb fighters. I've noticed that just as they (skipjack) seem to fight harder in some locations than others - although no matter where in the world you catch them they are great fun - their eating qualities can likewise differ from place to place. The ones feeding on oily baitfish like anchovy in hot tropical water (Phuket and Panama) are not as tasty as those feeding on shrimp and other tiny pelagic life in cool water (Algarve, Madeira). I'd happily eat them everywhere I've caught them though. Very nice sashimi fish if you treat them like a big tuna ie. bleed and ice them as soon as caught.

Trevally don't have the same kind of turbocharged speed that a tuna has but get a lot of traction in the water with those slab sides. Plus quite a few of the ones I've hooked have been on plugs with the front treble grabbing them in the gill plate, forcing you to bring them in sideways - a somewhat unfair advantage. The ones I've caught on light gear (bluefin trevallies) have been great fun - I need to go catch a bunch more, then a bunch of skipjack to compare before reporting back...
 

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At least they all go under the same scientific name. Ive noticed a big difference in tuna we catch depending on the water temp, small skipjack tunas seem to fight harder in the winter in waters around 18c, they are great fun on light gear with around 5kg of drag. The ones we get now in 24c still go hard but seem quite as much fun as the winter fish.
JonD
[video=youtube;24bCeAyZHuE]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24bCeAyZHuE[/video]
 

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After spending a week in Oman with the No Boundries crew I have to say GT, they really are brutes especially if your getting fish around the ton. P1010578.jpg
 
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