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Striped Tuna katsuwonus pelamis
aka: Stripey, skipjack

 Photo: © Jono Shales

These fat little tunas don't have sports stripes for nothing. Size for size there is no other tuna to match it's speed and stamina. If only they grew bigger. It's a solid barrel of muscle richly supplied with blood designed to drive the small upright tail at incredible speed. It's a very good looking fish too. With steel blue to purple on the back, silvery blue down the sides and silvery white on the belly. The belly also sports six prominent dark longitudinal sports stripes - hence the name.


Generally under 6kg, and occasionally up to 9kg. Very rare record specimens attain 15kg. Stripies like clear blue water with a temperature of 18°-26°C. The visibility in such water assists their high speed feeding strategy. They will occasionally venture out of this temperature range for an abundance of baitfish.


Although they are more frequently an inshore species the range of Striped tuna does extend to the Continental shelf and beyond. They will enter large estuaries when there is not much fresh in the system and visibility is good.

Tackle and methods for Striped Tuna

What tackle to use
7 to 9wt outfits. Tippet of about 6 - 10kg is good. Reels will need plenty of backing and should be of LA design to cope with line retrieval when they turn back you with speed. They will make an outgoing clicker sound like a demented cicada.

What flies to use
Surf candies; polar fiber minnows; small clousers; small crease flies; gummy minnows.

Fishing strategy
Find a bustup or baitball. Match the bait size and behaviour with your fly.

A surface commotion with bait spraying and lots slashing and crashing is your best bet - get your fly in there quickly. Otherwise when you see them lit up and travelling at speed it is sometimes possible to race ahead of them, stop the boat and then wait for them to come onto you with your fly already in the water waiting - a couple of quick strips as the close may trigger the result you want.

Target Striped Tuna in the following locations:

Target Striped Tuna with the following guides:

Exmouth Fly Fishing

Nomad Sportfishing
Links to more information

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