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Oil Rig Tuna


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Hello guys,

I recently spent some time working on board an oil rig in Angola. Some of the guys mentioned that the south African chaps spent their lunch breaks fishing so I went down for a look expecting to see them pulling in a few tiddlers. I was shocked when i arrived to see them pulling in tuna after tuna around the 30 KG mark and soon became hooked on spending my lunch breaks fishing.

The method used was to cut a 40mm stainless steel tube to around 250 mm long and attach a hook and some strimmer wire that the storeman sourced for us. We would throw the pipe lure out as far as we could then drag it across the water back to the edge of the rig as fast as we could. As we were 10m off the water line you could see the tuna chasing the lure like a pack of dogs. once the lure reached the rig you would dip it in and out of the water which is where most hook ups happened. After the hook up the tuna would go bonkers and shoot off in multiple direction which usually ended up in smoking riggers gloves.

Once we had the fish tired out we would attach a 3 pronged gaff on a knotted rope to the line and slide it down to the water line to hook up the fish, then drag it up 10m to the deck.

All of the fish we caught were cooked up and helped feed the crew. Mostly Tuna but sometimes we managed to land some Dorado...

Every so often we would hook something unstoppable which would take all of the line and break it off when it reached the end, when this happened we would stand well back because if you were caught in the line you could easy lose a finger / hand or worse.

The image shows the largest tuna we caught while i was on board...

I'm waiting on the delivery of a new boat so hopefully i will have the same luck when i start fishing off Sydney!


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It took 2 of us to pull the big ones up on a knotted rope, the gaff was more like a grappling hook, we used a caribena clip to attach it to the line, slid it down to the fish and gave it a yank, usually took a few attempts to stab the fish....

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Great story and pics, thanks for sharing.

I once fished near rigs in the Gulf of Mexico (out of Fort Lauderdale) It's amazing how they let you fish right up to the rigs. Imagine trying that off the Bass Strait or North West shelf rigs. Or fishing from them in your lunch break. No way Jose!

BTW we never caught any Tuna but my mate did get a nice Cobia.



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I did some work out on them a few years ago doing some bits and pieces. Didn't manage any tuna when was out there but millions or morwong, sharks and snapper. There were also some huge crays in between all the structure when we were diving. They are top blokes out there we ran out of hooks so the manager of the rig got a chopper to make a special trip from one of the sister rigs just for hooks haha

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