Strategically Hunting Big Tuskfish

Every fish has a weakness and it’s those weaknesses we capitalise upon to outsmart them, but each species have strengths that challenge anglers. Tuskfish are a classic example, their major strength is their strength.


Brute strength– any of the parrot/tusk/wrasse species that swim around quietly all day on their pectoral fins seem to have power to burn when they engage the tail. Tuskfish love coral, rock, rubble and rugged environments. Putting the brakes on a 10 kilo tuskfish among heavy cover is no easy feat, but it’s one of the requirements to gain results.

Locating fish holding structure isn’t a challenge, the skill sits in using the sonar to ID trouble areas and to position the vessel to eliminate structure from the equation as best possible, while at the same time fishing close enough to their feeding grounds to get the bite. Fishing the baits in snag-free areas gives the angler the advantage and can only be done through high level sonar knowledge.  (Click for more info)

Ignoring boat positioning and ‘chucking the anchor anywhere’  leads to snagged lines, line damage through chafe increasing the likelihood of being busted off when a big strong fish is hooked and the line touches structure. There’s a few things at play, the main one is consideration for fish health- being busted off when it can be avoided is irresponsible fishing, leaving any hook and line connected to a fish is poor ethics.


Think about this, in a competition scenario such as the Boyne Tannum Hookup a 10-12 kilo tuskfish is needed to win the event. Eliminating risk to increase the advantage for the angler takes serious thought.

Placing serious effort into strategy, planning and execution before the event holds significant value. The bottom line meaning you spend less time fishing for greater results because most of it hinges off information processing, tactics and ability rather than fishing for 10 hours a day.

The wife (Katie) and I waited two years between events and were well prepared come competition day and in the first 20 mins of fishing had boated an 11 kg tuskfish to win the species category. (Three masterclass trained anglers won species categories at the 2018 Boyne Tannum Hookup)

We also took advantage of one behavioural weakness of tuskies, something learnt from years watching them feed and observing their mannerisms underwater. A bit like a street fighter taking a wild punch when the unsuspecting recipient isn’t ready- we strike tuskies in a similar way punching the hook home when they least expect it and gaining the upper hand immediately.

Fishing is about advantage, using or learning what it takes to be equal or above the level of the fish, then using that knowledge to formulate strong plans that eliminate weakness or chinks in the chain.

How many times have we heard the pub stories of “the one that got away!” all because a knot came undone or a hook straightened, leader too light, busted off, or anglers not being prepared for the strength or power of a fish. This all comes back to basic understanding of the animal, environment, equipment and ourselves.

Knowledge and strategic planning is the most essential part of the equation- if you eliminate the flaws, you’re in control.

Johnny Mitchell

Wild Adventures JM

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