The Hardy Guide to tunny fishing - 1954

Text and images copyright Hardy & Greys Ltd., and reproduced by their kind permission, as is the picture of the Hardy Zane Grey rod tip section shown here. The rod can be seen in the Hardy museum.

This was published in the Hardy Anglers's Guide 1954 - as usual, it was full of good advice about how to spend money on Hardy kit!

By Harold J. Hardy

Harold Hardy and tunnySo far Scarborough and Whitby by are the only places from which tunny have been caught, but there is every reason to believe they could be fished for from other ports on the East Coast Northwards.

So far as is at present known the fishing season begins early in July and ends about the middle of October. At the beginning of the season tunny are usually found some distance from the shore perhaps twenty-five to eighty miles out, where herring drifters, trawlers and other types of fishing boats are operating, Later these boats fish much closer to the shore, and tunny can be found at about seven to twelve miles out.

There are several ways of locating tunny, by anglers having their headquarters ashore, and fishing from the smaller types of craft. The best is to start out in sufficient time to find the herring fleet by dawn, when they draw their nets. The tunny come round the nets and take any herring falling out. If no fish are found there, then one looks out for trawlers. When they are hauling is the best time. Another method is to find a foreign drifter. These boats lie out at sea and gut and salt down their herring. Tunny are usually alongside. To those fishing from the larger types of ships or yachts the' above directions will be found equally useful, except that it must be remembered they can go further out and stay at sea longer.

There are no boats at Scarborough specially fitted out as yet for this sport, but with the boats available two different methods of fishing are practised. One is out of a power boat; the other out of a row boat. The writer has done both. The power boat can be anything from 40 to 50 feet long and decked in, to an open 35 foot cable such as the local fishermen use. In either case, if the actual fishing is to be done from a small boat this will have to be carried or towed behind. The decked-in power boat can be hired for £7 a day or £35 a week, including a row boat and a man. Fuel, usually paraffin, is extra. The coble can be hired for £4 a day, including two men, and £1 for the row boat and a man. A week's hire costs £21 for the coble, and £5 for the row boat, £2.6 in all. There is no charge for fuel when hiring the cable. Herring or mackerel for bait will run from a few shillings to say £1.

Very large tunny have been seen off Scarborough, and the best tackle is essential. It may be stated here that the world's record certificated tunny of 7981bs. was killed there in 1932 on Hardy Bros. tackle. The writer would recommend either an Ex.-Heavy “Zane Grey” (page 375) or a No. 6 “Salt Water” Rod (page 374) an "Alma" (page 378), a 6 in. Hardy “Zane Grey” (page 377) or a 9 in. “Fortuna” Reel (page 382) which is preferably fished over the rod. Add to these the “Harness” (page 386) and “Van Brunt” adjustable Brace (page 385) for use only when fishing the reel over the rod. These are excellent and essential. It is quite impossible to hold the rod with the hands alone when playing a tunny, as one is often using both to manipulate the reel. For the line 200 yards of 54 thread spliced to 300 yards of 36 thread, 400 yards of 54 thread, 100 yards 72 spliced to 200 yards 54 thread, or 300 yards of 72 thread should be sufficient (page 392). Spare lines should also be carried in case of a break. 200 yards should be enough if returning to port each day. There is a varied choice of hooks, (page 390). The trace should be longer than the fish so that there is no chance of him lashing the line with his tail and breaking it. The writer recommends a trace of 15 to 20 feet (page 391). At least half a dozen traces and hooks are advised so as to have plenty of spares. A suitable seat with a swivel rod rest (page 398) is recommended. The rod rest is essential. These can easily be fixed in the boat from which the angler is to fish. The gaffs described on page 388 are all excellent. The one in use by the writer is a "Zane Grey" and is his preference.

Herrings or mackerel are generally used for bait, and can be fished stationary or trolled. An alternative method is to spin with a natural or artificial bait. In a short trial the writer hooked two fish on a home made spinner, and on page 396 will be found improved types in which he has every confidence. A tunny was killed in 1932 on one of these.

A few hints for the novice might be useful.

(a) Always have a rope tied loosely round the waist and fixed to the boat before commencing to fish.

(b) See that your boatman has an open knife to cut your line if necessary.

(c) Have the capstan brake sufficiently screwed to prevent an overrun. When a tunny is hooked this brake should be employed at the discretion of the angler.

(d) Before lowering the baited line into the water see that everything is clear.

(e) If using a reel with a leather brake. never use it when a fish is running. This should only be used for pumping or holding a fish.