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Guide for Catching Spanish Mackerel from the Shore

Guide for Catching Spanish Mackerel from the Shore

Spanish Mackerel is a type of fish that stays near to the coast in the Atlantic Ocean. They are frequently found between New York and Gulf of Mexico but will migrate to the southern coast of Florida in winter. Spanish Mackerel are fast swimmers and often travel together in large schools near the water surface. When feeding time, they will drive the baitfish to the surface which attracts the diving birds. So, you can’t get wrong with following the diving birds when you want to catch Spanish Mackerel.

When to Find Spanish Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel is a migrating fish that will move from places to places depending on the weather. They usually appear in water with temperature around 70 degree. You can reference the temperature table at the NOAA website to learn about the water temperature of different US coastal waters at different dates. The changes of the water temperature is usually determined by the weather pattern so you will also want to check out the local fishing reports. You can get news on the local fishing reports in the forums and other websites.

The best time to catch Spanish Mackerel in North/South Carolina, and Georgia is from May to October. The Spanish Mackerel fishing season for Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, and St. Augustine in Florida starts from April to October. The fishing season for Naples and Stuart Beach in Florida extends from March to November. Beginning your fishing day at sunrise can give you more success because they are more likely to be in the shallow water around this time.

Where to Find Spanish Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel is usually found swimming near the shore around 5 – 20 feet deep. If you don’t have a boat, you will have to go to a spot where you can target them in the deeper water. You can target on Spanish Mackerels from the beach, jetties and piers. Live baits work particularly well when you are fishing from a pier. You should get familiar with the rules of the pier before fishing there.

The pier may have rules on the number of rods you can bring, alcohol, and whether you need to get any license to fish at the beach. Jetties are built deeper into the water which means you don’t need to cast far. For this reason, you can use lighter baits like little glass minnow, feather jigs, and hair jig. Spanish Mackerels can also often be found along the actual coastlines, for example, the Pensacola Bay in Florida.

Targeting Spanish Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel is a big fish but its favorite food is the small baitfish so you need to prepare small baits. Besides, you will also want to choose a bait that has similar color with the baitfish. You can use live baits such as mullets, cut squid, and live/dead shrimp for catching Spanish. To attract Spanish, you will have to retrieve the lure fast as they like to chase after the target at a high speed. Getting a high gear ratio tackle is a must for faster retrieval. If you can retrieve the lure fast, you will be able to make another cast back to the school before it moves to another spot. Conventional tackle works best if you are fishing from the piers.

To improve your chances of catching a mackerel, you can use a longer fly fishing rod. Longer rod like 9 feet rod allows you to make a longer cast. Heavy metal lure is useful for catching mackerels as it allows you to cast your line far and faster. Spanish mackerels can swim quite fast and that is why you should use a metal lure. The lure will be able to cast far allowing you to reach schools easily from your spot. Metal lure is more resistant to the teeth of Spanish Mackerel and can last for a long time. Casting spoons, and Gotcha plugs are some of the artificial baits that can help you get passed the sandbar.

Choosing the Leaders for Spanish Mackerel

Choosing the right leader line can make a lot of difference. You can use 30 – 50 pound monofilament for the leader. The leader should preferably be long up to 5 foot so that you can cut and retie several times. The line will become more and more frayed as you catch more fish so it is important to check the line for damage from time to time.

Braided line is not recommended as it can easily get noticed and bitten by the sharp teeth of Spanish. You also want to make sure that the leader is not too noticeable as it will make the Spanish avoid your bait. You will want to avoid using a flashy swivel for the leader as the fish is likely to strike it. It is recommended to use a small swivel with muted color such as matte black.

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How to Catch Tuna

How to Catch Tuna

Before you ever step into the boat, read how to catch tuna. The secrets found within its pages can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. If you are sick of buying your fish from the supermarket (YUCK), you owe it to yourself to check it out!

Searching 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. 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.

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. I am a keen fisherman, who loves to watch, read, and do just about everything fishing. Hoping to learn lots of tricks from my how to catch tuna website

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Tips on Catching Bigeye Tuna

Tips on Catching Bigeye Tuna

bigeyetunaBigeye tuna, also known as Thunnus obesus, looks similar to the bluefin tuna but this species is slightly smaller. Its pectoral fin is about the same length as that of a yellowfin tuna. The first giveaway of a bigeye tuna that is its large pupil, which is twice times larger that the two species. This type of tuna tends to have a higher concentration of cholesterol compared to other tuna. They are often used to make sushi and sashimi in Japanese restaurant. If you want to go on a bigeye tuna fishing trip, you’ll need to prepare a big fish box that is filled with ice to store it.

 

Bigeye has a habit of hunting for baitfish at high flyers or canyons so you should take your boat to these places to have a better chance of catching them. The best time to catch them is around the twilight or shortly after the dark. You will also get good result when hunting them just before dawn. When hunting in the dim condition, dark color baits will work better.

When looking for bigeye, you must look out for signs like birds and porpoises as they can tell you where the bait fish are. If you spot feeding birds or porpoises, chances are the bigeye will also be nearby. Pilot whales and bigeye are often seen feeding together on the same school of squid below the ocean surface. Therefore, if you notice a pilot whale, it could be that the bigeye is within a proximity range.

 

Spreader bars technique can be used to attract the tuna to the top of the water during the day time. You can use spreader bar technique along with green and yellow shell squids lures. A combination of jigs that weigh 180 – 250 gm will also help to lure the fish to the top water. Bigeye has good eyesight and using thin fluorocarbon fishing line can prevent them from seeing the hook. There are some hooks that are painted red in color to camouflage the blood of bleeding bait fish.

Spreader Bar Tuna Items

Different types of baits can be used in bigeye tuna fishing including rigged mullet, sea star, rigged squid, ballyhoo with llander, and braid bigeye rocket. To hook the lure, you can use a 11/0 hook. Often, more than one bigeyes will end up at the hook of your fishing rods as they are used to travel in small schools.

 

When trolling for bigeye tuna, you should maintain at a speed of 6 – 8 knots along the 100 fathom line. On the day you go out fishing, the water temperature should be warm around 70 degrees (21 deg C) . The best time to go fishing for Bigeye tuna is May through October in the mid Atlantic sea. Bigeyes are tougher so they require professional fishing skills. A fishing charter that is longer than 25 feet will work the best.

 

 

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Tuna Fishing Tips for Albacore Tuna

Tuna Fishing Tips for Albacore Tuna

Albacore Tuna, also called thunnus alalunga or albies, is one of the smaller tuna species with  metallic dark blue top and silver white belly. Its flesh is pink in color and will turn white when you cook it. Most of the Albacore tuna caught are young and weigh in between 10 – 30 pounds. Because they are young, there is a lower accumulation of mercury in their flesh. Albacore tuna is rich in omega 3 and they are often made into canned tuna.

Catching Albacore Tuna

Albacore tuna is an active fish typically found in tropical/temperate ocean so the best way to catch Albacore Tuna is trolling. It will be difficult to catch tuna from a boat that stands still in the water since they travel in large schools at high speed. When trolling for albacore, it is best to maintain at a boat speed of 6 – 10 knots.

Before going tuna fishing, you must make sure you are equipped with the necessary fishing gears. First of all, you must get a suitable fishing line. A 15kg gear is sufficient for fishing albacore tuna. You will need a rod that is rated for 20 – 30 lb mono. The reel must be strong enough to hold 250+ yards of 25 lb mono. This will ensure that the mono won’t easily get bitten off by the tuna.

Glittery baits that are designed to troll at high speed can be used in the day time. In the late evening, you can use darker color lures. The ideal length of the lure for catching albacore tuna Is 3″ – 4″. Different types of baits are hooked differently, for example, when you use a anchovies bait, you must hook it with the mouth closed. The hook must be strong and sharp, for example, the 4/0 hooks.

The bait is to be installed  in the correct position behind the boat. To get an idea of what bait to use, you can check out the stomach of the first tuna you caught. When you cut open its belly, you’ll be able to see what size and type of bait inside. The size of the bait you use must match the size of the hook. Many anglers have successfully used baits like hex head, yo zuri squid lip rupper, tuna ‘P’nut and mackerel maulers to catch tuna.

To get the tuna to swim up to the surface, you must stir up some commottion, for example dragging an old tire behind the boat. When they are stirred in excitement, they will come up and bite on any bait they see. You can mix 5 – 6 baits to create your own school of fish in order to attract the tuna up to the surface. Typically, it will take about 1 hour to get the tuna into the boat once it bite on the bait.

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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.

 

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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

Recipe:

  • 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.

 

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks on How To Catch Tuna.



How to Catch Tuna – Introduction

How to Catch Tuna – Introduction

Click to purchase catching tuna products
Click to purchase catching tuna products

Tuna are large and tasty saltwater game fish. There is no doubt that most of the tuna species get pretty big and at the larger sizes make them a big game fishing target. There are several species of tuna including the albacore, blackfin, skipjack and bluefin. You can catch tuna in coastal estuary waters, but most anglers pursue tuna offshore.

One of the most popular methods of fishing for tuna is trolling. Trolling is done with feather jigs, small squid imitations, live or fresh dead bait and even hard bodied lures.

Click to purchase catching tuna products
Click to purchase catching tuna products

Another popular method for catching tuna is to drift (or anchor) and start a chum line (burley trail) and wait for the fish to show. Once the fish arrive the anglers send a baited hook into the trail to temp the fish into biting. Chum or bait fish styled flies also work well in this situation.

Sightcasting small lures or flies to tuna is also popular in some parts of the world and can be a very effective method for catching tuna.

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks on How To Catch Tuna.