Tag: Bigeye tuna

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.

Where 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.

How 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 When Fishing

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.

Tips on Catching Bigeye Tuna

Tips on Catching Bigeye Tuna


Bigeye 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 are reported to live up to 12 years and reach a maximum length of about 98 inches, and a maximum weight in excess of 400 pounds. The current all-tackle world record is 392 pounds.

Big Eye Tuna vs Yellowfin Tuna

Yellowfin tuna  and Big Eye Tuna are very similar and often get mixed up, especially if you catch one in the 100-pound range. Both have metallic blue/black back with a bright gold yellow side bands.  One of the easiest ways to separate them is via the tail fin. The characteristics yellowfin tails are yellow/golden, while bigeye tails are darker in color, being purplish-black. In addition bigeye’s second dorsal and anal fin never grows as long as those of the yellowfin do.

Bigeye spend a majority of their day at depths greater than 250 feet, often diving as deep as 1,500 to 1,600 feet in search of forage. This is in contrast to the yellowfin tuna, which spends over 75 percent of its time less than 250 feet from the surface.


Where to Catch Big Eye Tuna

Bigeye tuna can be found in warm temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Schools of bigeye tuna tend to be found deep during the day whereas schools of bluefin, yellowfin, and other tuna species are known to swim more toward at the surface.

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.

Bigeye Tuna Catching Techniques

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.

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.

The bite is unmistakable and unforgettable. The water erupts with bomb like explosion, you may need a new pair of trousers! Unlike other tuna species that come up underneath the bait and snatch it, big eye tuna leave a huge hole in the ocean when they explode on the bait. They often travel in small packs and multiples hook-ups are common, resulting in two or three rods doubling over, leaving anglers with their mouths open and their hands full.


Spreader Bar Bigeye Tuna Items


Big Eye Tuna Bait

The diet of the bigeye tuna includes squid, crustaceans, mullet, sardines, small mackerels. 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. Fishing methods include trolling deep with squid, mullet or other small baits, or artificial lures, and live bait fishing in deep waters with similar baits.

Always keep an eye out for whales, which are often found in close proximity to bigeye schools. Anglers believe that bigeye and the whales feed on the same squid down deep below and this is why they are  often seen together.

Big Eye Tuna Lures

As mentioned above, the Spreader bars technique will give you the ideal chance to drag several lures enticing big eye tuna. one standout lure for this fish is Braid Big Eye Rocket Lures.

Braid Big Eye Rocket

Braid Big Eye Rocket are a proven producer world-wide. The Braid Big Eye Rocket swims with a natural squid-like appearance, leaving a thin bubble trail that draws fish right to the lure. Great bait for flat line or center line trolling. A bigeye tuna killer for sure, this lure has become an absolute must for serious fishermen looking to capitalize on trophy yellowfin, bigeye and even the prized wahoo!

The 9″ is the most popular size for most situations and is the go-to size for most fishing folk. The demand for a slightly longer, heavier version for rougher waters and to mimic larger baits resulted in the senior braid big eye rocket 11″ version.

Buy yours today!

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