Category: How to Catch Tuna

What is the Best Bait for Skipjack Tuna

What is the Best Bait for Skipjack Tuna

Skipjack tuna, also known as Katsuwonus pelamis, is a small tuna species mainly found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. Their feeding time occurs in the late afternoon. During this time, they will swarm in large schools to feed on baitfish on the ocean surface. Skipjack tunas eat various types of fishes in their diets including anchovies, mackerels, and herrings.

For skipjack tuna, most fishermen would use artificial lures to catch them. Examples of artificial baits that have produced good results are plastic skirts, shiny metal spoon, plastic squid, lead-head jigs, bibless minnows, pilchards, and other soft plastics. You have to experiment yourself to find out the best size and color of artificial lures to catch them.

You can also catch tuna with a real bait. If you want to use real bait, you should use live baits like anchovies, mackerel, sand eels and sardines. Dead baits can be used too but a bait that is alive will be better as it will be able to move and generate some actions in the water.

The most popular method of catching skipjack tuna is trolling with 2 – 4 lures. The speed at which you are trolling is very important.  When using small lures, you should troll at 4 – 6 knots. While trolling, you are to look out for Skipjack feeding on the surface. One easy way to spot them is to look out for diving birds like Gannets. When you spot them, cast your fishing line just in front of school taking care that there is a distance away.

There should be at least four rods set up in your boat, with the lures on 2 rods reaching as far as 30 m and the lures on the other 2 rods reaching as close as 15 m. If you only have 2 rods, you can set up one to 30 m and the other one to cover up to 15m. In this way, you will have covered the nearer and further areas when the skipjack swim towards your boat.

Hiring a fishing charter with modern technology is a must. But, you must also be educated with basics like knowing what different behavior of birds mean and knowing how to read the SST chart. Reading the SST chart allows you to find out about the sea current movement to find out where the tuna is traveling.

Before setting out, make sure you are equipped with with a large spinning reel that can be spooled up to a long distance. The reason is that skipjack tuna is a good swimmer and it will swim at a high speed when caught. Equipping yourself with a long spinning reel ensures a smooth drag.

Most of the Skipjack tuna that are caught weigh in the range of 5 – 15 pounds. They fight hard when being caught so you must know how to handle it. As soon as it is killed, you must place it on the ice otherwise you may suffer from scombrois poisoning when eating the meat.

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How to Catch Big Bluefin Tuna

How to Catch Big Bluefin Tuna

Bluefin tuna, also called true tunas, is a big tuna species with a metallic blue on top and silver white at the bottom. It can grow up to a size that is longer than 15 feet. The biggest bluefin tuna ever caught weighed more than 1500 pounds.

Bluefin tuna is a migratory fish that has the habit of traveling to and fro from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico or Mediterranean Sea. The Gulf of Mexico and Mediterranean seas are common places for bluefin tuna to spawn. They can also be found in other ocean such as Eastern Atlantic, Black Sea, North American coast and sometimes in the cold waters of the Iceland ocean.

Large schools of bluefin tunas will be present in the Australia Atlantic ocean around March and continue to stay there until June or July. Therefore, the best time to set out with your fishing charter is in these months. You can catch them offshore most of the time although it is also possible to catch them close to shore sometimes. You can put out your boat offshore as far as 50 NM to catch bluefin tuna.

Bluefin tuna likes to ride on the sea current. So, before going out on fishing trip, check the sea currents of that day and you will know where to track down the tuna. The ideal setting for the Bluefin tuna to come schooling on the surface is a water temperature between 16 – 18 degrees celcius and a clear ocean water. However, sometimes, they may also appear when the temperature is slightly lower or higher.

Beginners who want to learn how to catch tuna should learn to look out for signs like schools of baitfish on the surface. Sometimes, movement of the surface water means there is a school of baitfish swimming just below the surface. Often, you can also see flocks of diving sea birds like terns that fly close to the surface. If there is, chances are they are schools of bait fish nearby and the big bluefin could be there to catch them for meals.

You are to throw your bait as close to where the birds are. Once you have thrown the bait, don’t expect the fist will bite instantly. It will take a few minutes for the fish to find the bait. When the fish is biting, get ready to throw the baits so that it will keep following. The key is to keep on throwing the bait until it swims near to the boat. For your bait, you should use something that the bluefish likes to eat like squid, and pilchards.

Before you can fish for bluefin tuna in north america, you need to get a permit. This is because bluefin tuna is a strictly regulated fish. If you follow a charter excursion, the captain will have already obtained the necessary permit. You also need to have a license if you want to sell the catch. You can call the NFMS at 1-888-USA-TUNA to ask questions about the fishing regulations and find out your daily catch quota.

How to Catch Yellowfin Tuna Trolling

How to Catch Yellowfin Tuna Trolling

Yellowfin Tuna, also known as Thunnus albacares, is a species of tuna that is deep blue on top, has a shallow yellow line all the way to the tail in the middle and their fins are yellowish color. Yellowfin is one of the larger tuna species with the potential of reaching up to a weight of 180 kg. They are mainly found in the offshore waters such as Gulf of Meixco, Hawaii, Caribbean, Eastern and Western Pacific.

Yellowfin usually travel in large schools to the surface during feeding time. They are boat shy and will quickly dive deep into the water when they see a boat approaching. Therefore, upon spotting the school of tuna from afar, you must not steer your boat fast toward them otherwise they will swim away. The strategy to catching tuna is to stop your boat a distance away from the fish for example, 3 knots away.  Then, you can put out your fishing line and let the bait float itself to where the school of tuna is.

When you stop your boat, the engine stops producing noises and the fish will be more bold to swim near your boat. Parking your boat a distance away prevents the tuna from associating the bait comes from your boat. Hiring a big fishing charter will give you a better fishing experience. When you reel in the fish, the fish will jump and flip and you will have fight the fish until it is dead. If your fishing charter is small and there is not enough room, you may accidentally step on your expensive fishing rig or even fall out of the boat.

Ideally, your fishing charter should be large enough to set up 6 – 7 flush mount or vertical fishing rods. The more fishing rods you set up, the higher the chance of catching the tuna. After you stop the boat afar, you just wait patiently. You may have to wait up to 7- 8 hours for the first bite but it is worth the wait. While waiting, you must stay alert and quickly pull in the rod when you sense something bites. It is important to always wear thick buckskin glove when pulling in the rod. It will protect the skin on your palm and finger from callouses as you need a lot of strength to pull in the rod.

Cedar Plugs Tuna Lures

It is best to go fishing for yellowfin tuna with 1 or 2 partners as they can give you additional hands in catching the fish. For example, your partner can help with storing the rod in a cabin space or help you in getting the fish into the boat. Lures like tuna feathers, cedar plugs, chain, joeschutes and sterling bars can be used. For catching yellowfin tuna, the boat should be trolling at the speed of 5 – 8 knots. You can adjust your boat speed according to the behavior of the lure. Rougher seas mean you have to troll at a slower speed to enable the lure to work the most efficiently.



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Tuna Fishing – Chumming

Tuna Fishing – Chumming

One of the most popular tuna fishing methods is chumming.

All game fish respond in varying degrees to chum. For some anglers chumming has become an art form, even a science. One thing is absolutely sure, effective chumming techniques produce more fish. Let’s discuss some of the most productive methods that will make you a more successful angler.

Tuna Fishing Chum Recipe
Supplies & Ingredients:

  • 1 box of heavy duty zip lock plastic freezer bags
  • 1 five gallon bucket
  • a garden hand rake or stirring implement
  • Garden Hose
  • 1 gallon pure pogy (menhaden) oil
  • 1 – 3 pound can whole kernel corn
  • Rice, oats, macaroni (optional)
  • 12 cans Kozy Kitty cat food (sold at most stores 3/$1)
  • 6 loaves of wheat or stone ground bread. Some bakery outlet stores sell old bread for 10 cents per loaf, you must ask for “critter food”.
  • Food processor (Warning: You may burn it up and don’t even think about telling the wife what you need it for)
  • Electric can opener


  • Chop bread in processor
  • Dump 12 cans of cat food into bucket, mixing in bread with small amounts of water. Consistency desired like thick soup
  • Stir in 2 cups of Pogy oil, evenly distributed
  • Take off gas mask and drink one cold beer a safe distance from bucket
  • Fill freezer bags and double bag
  • Lay bags flat in kitchen freezer (Warning: see Food Processor above)
  • Transport chum in designated chum cooler with ice over and under
  • Use ½ bag at a time ( fits perfectly into a standard nylon chum bag)

Depending upon your target species, chum deployment is the next issue. When fishing for tuna find your potential fishing spot, hang your chum bag on a stern cleat and allow the current to create a “chum slick” behind your boat. Remember, your goal is to not to over feed the fish, just get them interested in your baits. Many species like blue fin and mac tuna respond extremely well to this technique by coming up in the water column to eat your free-lined baits. Or, send your chum to the bottom on a hand line or use your downrigger ball. They can’t resist the pogy smell. Neither can nuisance sharks, especially in summer.

Try chumming next time you got fishing for tuna. You will catch more fish. And everyone knows that a day spent on the water fishing is better then a day at work.

chummingtunaTuna Bait Storage

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Catching Tuna – Trolling

Catching Tuna – Trolling

Trolling is a method of fishing where one or more fishing lines, baited with lures or bait fish, are drawn through the water behind a moving boat.

tuna trollingSearching for tuna can be an exciting adventure. It can also be extremely frustrating unless you know what you are looking for. In the summer months you will have an easier time finding schools of tuna. Typically, they will stay near the surface of the water while hunting for schools of bait fish. In the winter months, tuna tend to hunt deeper and rarely venture up to the surface. Additionally, tuna fishing is usually better in low light conditions, such as those in the late afternoon.

When fishing for tuna always be on the lookout for diving birds. Tuna tend to travel near pods of dolphins or sharks. If you see either birds, dolphins or sharks try and determine if any bait fish are in the area.

Typically, anglers prefer to troll using a “W Pattern”. This simple pattern consists of 2 long lines attached to each outrigger, 2 lines held relatively flat and out to the side and one line that goes straight down the middle just below the surface. The goal is to present a bold presentation of varying lures. Try and create the illusion of panic stricken schools of bait fish. Green lures are particularly alluring to yellow fin tuna for some reason.

Click to purchase catching tuna products

Click to purchase catching tuna products

Pick a lure. Most tuna lures have a Kona head, but they come in many shapes, sizes and colors and under many names. The Kona head creates an ideal bubble trail and surface action for attracting tuna. Generally the larger the lure, the larger the fish you will catch, but of course there are always exceptions to the rules. You never know what size and type of fish will hit your next lure.
For smaller tuna, Albacore and Striped, 6inch lures of any type in green/yellow, blue/silver and red/white I have found to be most successful.
The next step up would include 8-10inch lures aimed at catching Bluefin, Yellowfin and Albacore Tuna. One popular Yellowfin lure that catches well is the Pakula Lumo Small Spocket. White Bluefin are readily caught on pink, brown and purple colour combination’s. If you are after large Yellowfin Tuna or Striped Marlin in particular I have caught well on darker lures in combination’s of blue, black and purple, but they tend to go for pink as well.
As with all fish there are no hard and fast rules. If you are not succeeding, change your lure position, colour or alter your speed until you find the right mix. Undoubtedly you will discover the joys of game fishing.

Try trolling at slow speeds (5-9 mph) using either live bait or artificial lures, such as strip baits, large spoons, skirted lures, and plugs. Don’t worry – the tuna are more than fast enough to keep up with the boat. When you troll, you should let out a quarter of your line behind the boat; a hundred yards or more is excellent.

When tuna hit, they hit hard, usually hooking themselves with no help from you, and yanking the line off the reel at a rapid rate. If the line becomes slack, the fish is probably swimming toward the boat; reel in the slack rapidly, and make sure the hook is set. Always keep the line tight. A truly large fish might give you the fight of your life, battling for as long as several hours before it wins – by snapping the line or leader – or you do, by getting it up to the boat.


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