If you’re looking for a story about ‘the fish of a lifetime’, then look away now. This is not one of those stories. This is a story of heartache and pain. Something many fishos can relate to, but most have been trying to forget.


Not so long ago, a run of giant southern bluefin tuna popped up on the west coast of Victoria. It was unheard of. The average fish were between 80kg and 150kg. Fish as big as wine barrels. It was time to pack the Landy, the biggest reels I could carry, and several tubs of soy sauce and wasabi.


The plan was simple. Pick up a bright red Stabicraft 2050 Supercab, head to Apollo Bay (where the bite was hot), troll some lures, hook and land a fish of a lifetime, then head home to Sydney the next day. Mmm, if only it was that easy…




This was no doubt the hardest fishing trip of my life. We worked so hard and came so close, only to have glory snatched away from us at the last second. A lot of people see fishing as a physical sport; you do battle with giants and brawn wins the battle. Not this time. This was a mental and emotional challenge like I’d never experienced. Disappointment and regret filled my mind for weeks after this trip. Upon reflection, all that remains is a greater respect for a creature that beat me, fair and square.


The experience reminded me a of a great quote by Robert Traver

“Giant tuna do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed, or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility, and endless patience ... and not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important, but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant and not nearly so much fun.”


I’ve changed the species Robert was referring to, from trout to tuna, but the essence of his words remains the same. The next time I head south, with tuna on my mind, I’ll go quietly and humbly, studying everything and savoring all. Especially the sushi, should I be so lucky….


The stunning Great Ocean Road.


Word spreads fast when the barrels are on.



Apollo Bay at first light.


The local commercial fleet were more interested in chasing squid and scallops than tuna.


Finding the fish was the easy part.


Watching lures became our only form of entertainment.
The fish taunted us for days.

Searching for a pot of gold.


Still fishing after sunset - these blokes must've thought we were mad.


I'll be back next year...



Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email or leave a comment below.


Until next time,


Jack Murphy


© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography



Blog Stats

  • Total posts(139)
  • Total comments(87)

Forgot your password?