Tussling with Tuskfish!
This article is written by Ben Svenson from Northern Australia – with some great insight on catching Tuskies
Tuskfish! One of the most revered opponents of many an angler. They are the brutes of the shallow water. They can make short work of heavy gear or even the most experienced anglers. They’re a very sought-after species and the big ones can be highly elusive. The Black Spot Tuskfish, the more common breed of Tuskfish, have this beautiful green colour to them. With an iridescent blue to the tip of each scale, they’re just amazing to look at!
Gearing up for Tuskies!
So, what gear do you need to catch them? I personally run a 10 to 15kg rod. About 7ft in length. It needs to be a fairly rigid rod as you need to stop these tussling Tuskies in their tracks. The reel should be around a 6500 size or above. Line capacity is not a huge factor when fishing for Tuskfish as the fight is not a long one. It is short and tough, a minimum of 50lb braid is a must.
The monofilament leader I use is Black Magic 80lb tough fluorocarbon. At least 3m of this should be tied on to your braid as leader. I tend to use a ‘FG’ knot for this. The hook size I tend to go for is a 5/0 KLT® circle, it provides super strength and they’re razor sharp. Excellent for penetrating the Tuskfish hard mouth and staying in without bending.
Rigging for Tuskfish
When rigging up for Tuskfish its simple. All you need to do is have a running sinker to a circle hook. If you wanted to run two hooks you can have a paternoster rig, which has a swivel after the second hook. From there you should run a lighter leader. That way if you hook a fish and get snagged. The sinker should break off leaving you with the fish. Now you know how to rig up.
Baiting for Tuskfish
Well what’s for bait? For me you can’t go past sand crabs. They’re easily collected from the beach at night. So the key is to catch your crabs the night before. When I bait the crabs up, I like to pile three legs onto the hook and put the claw on as a stopper as it’s much hardier. It’s of vital importance to make sure the barb is exposed.
If you don’t have time to catch crabs you can opt for prawns. Tuskfish love these too. They’re just a much softer bait. So you will have to contend with other smaller species.
Land based fishing tips
So, what kind of ground do Tuskfish like? Well, they love limestone ledges, oyster encrusted rocks, coral reefs and bombies. So yes, it’s very hard going and expect to lose as many fish as you catch and the tackle to go with it. When fishing these structures:
- First thing I do is either burley up with crabs or prawns up current of the structure.
- Then I like to cast my bait about a meter off the structure. That way you get half a chance at stopping these fish.
- I also have the drag right up. It’s in the first few seconds of battle to whether you win or lose. You have to stop that fish in its tracks. If you don’t stop it, it will run you in to every bit of structure imaginable. If the fish does get into the structure the fights not completely over.
- I’ve won over many a Tuskfish by simply backing off the line and giving them a bit of slack. That way they can swim out of the reef.
- If you notice the fish on the move it’s really important to put some hurt on them, you only get small opportunities to move them out of structure.
All this aside get out there! Target these amazing fish. You’ll be addicted from the first time you get a Tuskfish hit. They hit so hard that they are easily distinguishable from other species. Go and put yourself out there. These fish will leave you with a lot of heartache. If you manage to land a decent one, you’ll have a smile from ear to ear.
Be sure to check out Ben’s Instagram for more amazing photos and great insights @ben_svenson_fishing