Welcome to the Tuna Fishing Guide Victoria. Tuna is a remarkable fish species with a worldwide reputation for speed, size and power. True blue water missiles of our local oceans and real bucket list fish species for many anglers. Tuna have remarkable fighting qualities and unparalleled eating qualities. Locally Tuna fishing goes into a frenzy throughout the winter months in Victoria in areas such as Portland and Port Fairy.  Tuna has the scientific name of Thunnus maccoyi, there are several different types of Tuna the Bluefin, Yellowfin, & Albacore all of which grow to massive sizes.  There is no minimum legal size limit for Tuna but a daily bag limit of 2. Tuna have unparallel speed and power and high-quality spin outfits or game outfits are required to tangle with these mini millies. Catching them using unique methods such as trolling big skirts and hard body lures. All of this has been detailed below for you.



How to catch tuna

Successful techniques to catch tuna involves trolling skirts and large hard body lures. Generally, these are trolled behind the boat at a steady pace between 5-10 knots. Skirts between 6 and 12 inches and hardbody lures such as Rapala X-Rap in sizes ranging from 6 inches to 12 inches have become popular options. Trolling allows you to cover great distances and tools such as outriggers or extended angled rod holders which can help avoid tangles and improve hook up rates. It does take some time to master this technique and there are experts which can come on your boat to help you grow your confidence in handling these waters, navigating and improving your skills to land Tuna regularly.

If land-based fishing for schoolies then large metal lures that can cast a long distance are a great option. Large soft plastics that imitate the baitfish that tuna are feeding are also good options.

General tips for catching Tuna

When trolling keep a keen eye on your sounder for marks as tuna will be easily identifiable. Also, watch your sounder for big bait balls of school fish. Tuna will often be chasing the schools of baitfish which is a great sign that a hook-up isn’t too far away. Also, keep an eye out for a congregation of active birdlife or birds diving into the water which is a sure sign of baitfish in the area. Use your eyes as a tool as Tuna will often break the surface and this can be your best indicator of Tuna in the immediate area.

Plan your trip carefully and in particular watch the weather forecast. Targeting tuna in Victoria will see you in areas such as Portland, Port Fairy and Bass straight which can have dangerous conditions. Avoid windy and rainy days which will bring large swells with them.

Tuna will feed at different depths. Some days there down low and some days there actively taking lures off the surface. Just mix up your options and adjust accordingly on the day that you fishing.


Rod and rig setup for Tuna

Before buying your terminal tackle to target tuna you must really understand whether your targeting small tuna which we know as schoolies or big tuna we which we know as barrels. To give you an idea Tuna locally can range from 20-pound al the way through to 200 pounds so it’s important to ensure you have the right gear. With Tuna fishing you often get what you pay for so do ensure you reels can handle enough line when trolling has adequate drag capacity and stopping power and is quality that can handle the power of a tuna whilst being durable to last.

For Tuna on the smaller size, you can use a high-quality offshore spin reel such as

We have even had days out on the water catching smaller size Tuna with lighter terminal tackle such as a Shimano Saragosa 8000 spooled with 50lb braid attached to a 10-15 kilo rod casting hard body lures at Tuna busting up the surface. It’s truly a fun way of targeting smaller versions of these powerful sports fish.

Then there is Targeting barrels which is amazing and this style of fishing is growing from strength to strength. Battling a big barrel can last for hours and hours. For bigger tuna, we would recommend using a heavy-duty offshore reel such as the below options.


Locations to target tuna

  • Portland
  • Apollo Bay
  • Port Fairy
  • Bass straight

Best times to catch Tuna

Tuna fishing comes into its own during winter specifically May through to July. This is when the water temperature is below 15 degrees and the Tuna are active and feeding. Surrounding areas such as Portland as packed with local anglers trying to land a big one. This usually aligns with local whale watching times.

Additions or Corrections for this fish species

If you feel this Tuna Fishing Guide Victoria is missing key information or needs any corrections. Then please let us know by emailing our team at enquiries@fishingmad.com.au with specific details in the email. You can obtain a free Victorian recreational fishing guide from the Victorian Fisheries Authorities weblink