Topwater Yellowfin Caught in Bay of Plenty

After catching giant yellowfin tuna on topwater in Oman a few years ago, Jake Pyne from Locab International had always dreamed of doing the same in NZ waters. This season, upon hearing reports of meatball action akin to days of old in the Bay of Plenty, he hatched a plan to give topwater tuna a crack on home soil. 

“My biggest focus was trying to figure out how I was going to navigate the family dynamics after eight days away from home the week before Christmas. Our wives had a few wines on Christmas day, so my brother-in-law Paul Austin and I decided to strike. We mustered up the courage to ask if we could go fishing sometime in the next day or two. After a bit of negotiation, we pulled it off, and found ourselves on the way to Whakatāne with another friend Dan Hahanhaussen,” says Jake. 

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Their strategy was basic; drive around fast instead of trolling, and simply look for dolphins and birds. Like clockwork, as soon as they hit the depth they had heard about, dolphins appeared.

They began the process of casting and following the dolphins until they found themselves in the middle of a full-blown pilchard bust-up. They couldn’t see any yellowfin, and by the time the workup dissipated they were beginning to think about trolling when a small striped marlin followed Paul’s lure to within a few metres of the boat.

With new-found confidence, they kept casting and sure enough, Paul hooked and landed a 27kg NZ topwater yellowfin!

- Nick Jones 

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