Tag: tuna trolling

Catching Tuna Tricks – Spreader Bars How to Make & Use

Catching Tuna Tricks – Spreader Bars How to Make & Use

What are Fishing Spreader Bars

Fishing Spreader Bars

Spreader Bars are a daisy chain of teasers (decoy lures) rigged in a formation to create attention grabbing attraction to your trolling lures and ultimately enticing fish to chasing them.

Having a array of lures skipping across the water will significantly increase the chances of attracting your prized catch.

Spreader Bars are a must have piece of kit for tuna fishing. The multiple lure teasers are super effective on Tuna, Mahi-Mahi, Spanish Mackerel and Marlin.

Below you will find details on where to buy spreader bars, how to make them, and how to use them.

Where to purchase Tuna Catching Spreader Bars

How to make your own Tuna Fishing Spreader Bars

Lure Teaser Spreader Bars are usually up to 4ft wide or 48inches (1.5 meters) . Often they can deploy aproximatly 5-15 decoy fish or squid looking baits. The aim is to catch attention of any predators cruising in the vicinity and coax them up for a closer look.

Going from left to right in the picture we will describe the components.

Tuna Fishing Spreader Bars

A main line attached to the bar should be a clear monofilament 60-80 pound line. It needs to support the bar and lures while they bounce around on the water. The Bar can be strong wire, titanium or even fiberglass wire. Swivels and a slightly smaller clear monofilament line are then attached to the main bar with teasers or lures. you car rig additional swivels and lines to a teaser as seen in the picture.

It is advisable that each teaser be attached via a snap swivel so that they can be changed as needed. we want the teaser lures to be of similar size, shape and colour as natural baits in the area.

Lures or teasers do not have hooks. they are there to create attention and we want the fish to bite our lure which does have hooks.

The following link is a in depth look at building your own spreader bars. https://fishtalkmag.com/blog/how-build-spreader-bar-tuna-fishing

How to Catch Tuna with Spreader Bars – Techniques and Tips for using Spreader Bars.

The whole point of spreader bars is to create the illusion of schooling bait fish in a feeding frenzy. This is what tuna, maha-mahi, mackerel and marlin are chasing. Onces they are enticed to investigate the teasers we want them to discover our lure rigged up with hooks and attached to the anglers rod.

Attaching your line and lure to the Spreader Bar (Optional)

Some people like to connect their line and lure to the spreader bar. this will ensure the best placement to the teasers, having the anglers lure dragging inline and a shirt distance behind the teasers. The anglers line or leader can be attached with a rubber band and snaplink. When a fish hits your lure, the elastic band breaks leaving you clear to fight it without the entire spreader bar contraption being dragged around with the fish.

If you prefer not to attach your line to the spreader bar, you can simply guide your lure to the left, right, or slightly in front of the spreader bar, keeping it in close vicinity to the action.

Spreader Bar Placement in the Water

You want to place the spreader bar 20-40 yards away from the boat with all the angler lines lines not too far away. You can have multiple spreader bars per boat and its not uncommon to have a left, right and center deployment all operating in unison. If the bar is diving up and down in the water, the bar may be too far back, and you need to position it closer to the boat.

Ensure your spreader bar is up on the surface, making splashes and noise in the water which attracts fish. This miniks baitfish in a frenzy. That is why we run all our lines fairly close by to the bar.

Spreader Bar Teasers

Baits and Teasers for Spreader Bars

Match the hatch when selecting a spreader bar teasers. The key to teasers or bait is to mimic size, colour and style of prey the fish are eating in the area. Sometimes this is fish or squid. For ease of adapting to different conditions, teaser can be attached via a snap swivel so that they can be changed as needed. Lures or teasers on the spreader bars do not have hooks.

Boat Speed for Trolling Spreader Bars

It is estimated that a good travel speed for spreader bars is 10knots. But trolling speed isn’t as important as to what your bar and teasers are actually doing in the water. The bars and teasers should not be submerged, they should be slapping on the surface of the water. Each day may be different based on conditions of the wind and water. It may take some experimentation with distance of the the spreader bars from the pull generated by speed of travel.

Where to purchase Tuna Catching Spreader Bars

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

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 trolling

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.

Birds And Tuna Fishing

When fishing for tuna always be on the lookout for birds. When fish are near the surface, they are visible, especially in a feeding frenzy. Spot the tuna schools by looking into the sky and seeing where birds are flocking, they are usually above the schools picking off baitfish also. When the water’s surface is breaking with activity, tuna are feeding. Get your boat as close to the school troll your lines through it.

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.

Trolling for Tuna Techniques

Click to purchase catching tuna products

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.

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.

Tuna Trolling Lures

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 species, 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.

Check out other species of tuna.

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