On a typical May morning, 5 of us set out at 1st light from Moffat Beach in search of well, whatever we could catch really. The wind was forecast to be light but was strong enough to start whipping up a little chop. After the sun had been up for a while and warmed the air, and those of us that got wet, the wind dropped off to the predicted light breeze.
It ended up being quite a stunning day. Two of our party (the most experienced) beat their own path and disappeared into the distance and were not seen again until we were all approaching the launch point. The other three of us, one 1st time offshore and one with a few offshore trips under his belt and myself decided to head into the wind and go south toward brays rock.
The plan being that since only one of us had a sounder, we would go where we were certain of a rough and rocky bottom and possible snapper and sweetlip.
My sounder was replaced under warranty and I wasn't able to pick it up until later in the day. When we eventually trolled to Brays Rock with no hits on the lures, we started flicking soft plastics and baits with Graham and Doug getting the odd hit here and there but no hookups. Unfortunately they both went home with donuts. We saw the odd bit of surface action here and there but it was always gone by the time you got to where it was. Occasionally the bait school was big enough to keep them interested long enough to stay on the surface for a while. I left Graham and Doug and decided to do a charge toward some action that seemed a little more intense. They apeared to be mactuna of assorted sizes and I hooked up twice and dropped them. Note to self; "make sure the hook is sharp before casting". After a quite a few frenzied casts, I lost my favourite metal slug. It was one that had proven very productive and was no longer available.
I was rejoined by Graham and Doug at this point. What little remained of my leader was gone with the slug so, time to re rig with a longer leader and search the tackle box for a suitable replacement. I had one which looked almost identical but was a little bigger than the one I had just lost. By the time I had rerigged we had drifted northeast of Brays and there were now two signifigant schools boiling. One was back into the wind and one was more in the direction of home. We chose to head for the later. The action was off and on, here and there, and I saw a couple of mactuna jump so, out went the new slug (shown in photo below) and I was on again. This time I had given the hook a touch up with the diamond hone. "This one doesn't feel very big" I said to Graham. Ha ha, silly me, it hadn't realised it was hooked yet. A few minutes after hookup I gave my watch a quick look and it was bang on 8.30am. I had only seen mactuna this morning but, if this was a mactuna it was on steroids. Another look at the watch, 10 minutes passed, 20 minutes, then 30. No way was this a mactuna. I think it was about 40 minutes into the battle I spotted a flash of colour on the surface.
At one point I even called it for a kingfish but I would have done my dough on that one. Graham and Doug stayed close by from start to finish and Doug very kindly took the photos you see in this report, and then some. Thanks Doug. Finally I had the beast close enough for a positive I.D and it was a longtail tuna. Woo Hoo, I thought, This will be my 1st longtail if I boat it. It was another 10 minutes before the fish felt the sting of my gaff, now very nicely christened after being fitted with a new hook. From 1st glance at my watch to finally gaffing the beast was one hour, and probably a kilometre or so further northeast of the hook up point. We decided to call it a day and head back to the launch point which turned out to be a 4km pedal/paddle after Doug checked his GPS. Doug was kind enough to send me the gps track, since mine is stuffed and the total trip in round figures was 14kms. See track below.
So, for those who are interested, the rod was a 5 to 9kg ATC Hardstick and the reel was an Abu Garcia Cardinal 176i, loaded with 20lb braid and a 40lb Flurocarbon Leader. Below is the lure that did the damage and was removed from the fish when I got home with a very long pair of longnose pliers. (longer than what I had with me on the yak).