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Zuker

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Items 1 to 12 of 15 total

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Set Descending Direction

Items 1 to 12 of 15 total

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he halcyon days for catching yellowfin tuna were the 1980s and early 90s. The Whakatane tuna run was outstanding, with about 400-900 tuna caught a season, ranging from 8kg to the 50-60kg barrels. Earlier seasons, the fishing method was mostly trolling skirted lures. Zuker 3.5 was the hottest lure over the years. The1989 season saw the popular arrival of meatball fishing. A meatball was tens of thousands of anchovies rounded up into a ball by predators and skipjack tuna. The fishing method went like this: first find a meatball by following the birds and dolphins. Then the anchovies would come and hide around the back of the boat. We'd scoop up a net full of anchovies and pin one or two fish on a small live-bait hook. We'd watch the skipjack tuna make strafing runs at the remaining anchovies. When the skipjack took off it meant that the 20-40kg yellowfin were coming. You could watch them glide up from the deep to pick off the anchovies - this is all going on only 2-3 meters away. Then we'd drop the bait in, watch the yellowfin inhale it and let him run for a few seconds. Push up the drag lever. Done. Easy. Today that all seems unbelievable. It was an amazing sight: hundreds of diving gannets and pods of dolphins as far as you could see. It was crazy sometimes. Picture 10-15 or more boats backed into a circle, like being round a campfire. Fights and yelling at sea between skippers was not uncommon - there was even the odd sinker thrown, often handfuls of anchovies flew through the air if boats got too close Sadly, in the early 1990s, the yellowfin tuna all but disappeared. Was it because the anchovies or skipjack were depleted locally, or did we catch them all? The general consensus is that commercial fishing in the Pacific hoovered them up before they got to New Zealand and now handful of yellowfin caught nationwide is a good year.