Thunnus tonggol

Northern WA, Southern WA, NSW/ACT, Southern QLD, Northern QLD, NT
Bay, Ocean, Offshore, Beach

Longtail Tuna is also known as the Northern Bluefin Tuna and Northern blue. The name, Northern Bluefin Tuna is mainly used in Australia differentiating the fish from the Southern Bluefin Tuna of the Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific. The Longtail Tuna is a thinner fish with shorter pectoral fins.

Longtail Tuna around Australia can grow to a whopping 130cm and a maximum of 35kg. The Longtail Tuna is slower growing and lives longer than other species of Tuna.

The record for the largest Longtail Tuna caught was taken at Montague Island (NSW) in 1982 at a monstrous 136cm and weighing just under 36kg.

Longtail Tuna swim like a bullet. They are agile and very powerful. This also means they need a lot of fuel to power such a body. They are considered one of the best sportfish in the world.


The Longtail Tuna is a small species of Tuna distinguished by being deepest near the middle of the first dorsal fin. The name comes from the lighter build in the rear half of the body, which gives this fish a longer looking tail.

The lower sides and belly have a silvery white colour with colourless oval spots which form rows. The dorsal, pectoral and pelvic fins are a blackish colour. This species can be differentiated from Yellowfin Tuna and Bigeye Tuna because the pectoral fin is very short leaving a gap before the start of the second dorsal fin. The second dorsal and anal fins have a yellow tinge.


Longtail Tuna are plentiful from Geographe Bay in southern Western Australia right around the tropical waters of the northern coast of Australia to Eden in southern New South Wales.

The fish in the northern regions tend to be smaller than those caught in the southern areas, however, the northern fish have much higher numbers. This species is also more common in warmer waters but sometimes southwards during in the hotter months.

In tropical waters, small Longtail Tuna can organise themselves into schools similar in the way Mackeral Tuna do.


Longtail Tuna are found close to the coastline making for exciting fishing for land-based anglers and those who fish from smaller boats. As for rock fishing, specialised gear using live baits under large floats or high speed spinning can bring in these rockets.

Longtail Tuna will feed on a wide variety of baitfish including Slimy Mackerel and Yellowtail. The northern fish feed on small Whitebait. Longtail can’t resist live baits fished from boats. Berleying with tuna flesh and feeding unweighted cubes into the trail is another method to target once a school is located.

The best time to fish for Longtail Tuna is after the monsoonal rains have finished in the north. You will have a much better time of catching Longtail Tuna after April as the fish move closer inshore and you will also enjoy the perfect weather.

Surface feeding Longtail Tuna should be your main target because the Longtail Tuna below the surface are moving at great speed. Look for Longtail Tuna in shallow reefs, current breaks and large back-eddies because Longtail Tuna will be taking advantage of baitfish struggling to move. Another signal Longtail Tuna are in the area is the presence of Terns wheeling and diving. Longtail love to fly into the air as they catch their prey.

When fishing In tropical waters smaller Longtail Tuna feeding in schools can be taken by casting lures or trolling lures or baits near the edge of the feeding school.

Longtail Tuna are typically fished for with shiny metal lures retrieved at speed through a feeding school. A spin outfit that allows you enough power to cast over the school and retrieve at speed through the school is the perfect setup.

Minnow lures, lead slugs or Christmas tree lures, feather jigs, spoons and flies all work well with larger Longtail Tuna keen on larger lures and a faster retrieve.

You will know you have a hook-up because these line burners take off at great speed. Get ready to sit back and enjoy the ride while keeping your rod bent as the Longtail Tuna darts and races off with your spool until it tires and starts to head deeper and begin circling your boat. Patience and the fitness to keep on your rod and reel is essential if you are going to land a Longtail Tuna.