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Tuna Fishing Techniques

Updated on April 9, 2013

Tuna Fishing Techniques

It isn’t often you meet people who have a burning desire to fish for tuna, unless they happen to be either commercial or sport fishermen. But who knows? Maybe you have heard of the fun sport of tuna fishing and you have a desire to get in on the act. If so, then this article will tell you what you need to know to get into tuna fishing, including tuna fishing techniques. We will talk about yellowfin tuna, because that is probably the most popular type of tuna for sport fishing these days, and will tell you what you need to know to reel in a big one.

Tuna Fishing: What to Expect

First, you should know what you can look forward to when going after yellowfin tuna. Yellowfin tuna are not small at all; on the contrary, they can grow up to 9 feet long and up to a whopping 400 pounds. Most of the ones you will find, though, are around a more manageable 85-100 pounds.

You should also realize that yellowfin tuna are fighters. They will give you a spirited and engaging fight that will test your skill (and endurance), and have a feisty, combative personality. They are easy to find, too; yellowfin tuna travel in schools and churn up the surface water offshore, making them relatively easy to spot and identify.

Finally, you should time your fishing ventures for the late afternoon. That is when yellowfin are easiest to snag. The light is not as bright during this time, which means the tuna are more likely to bite on a hook.

Tuna Fishing Techniques: Drift Fishing

Okay, so now you know what to expect from your sea-dwelling prey. Now all you need to know is a good and useful tuna fishing technique that is effective and promises to maximize your chances for snagging your trophy. One technique that we will talk about in this article is called drift fishing.

Drift fishing at its most basic is dangling your line in the water in such a way that fish want to bite it. This technique is used extensively to fish for various types of fish on land, but it can also be used while in a boat on the high seas. It is recommended that you take your fishing trip with a charter service. They will generally have all the gear you will need, so you do not have to worry about finding the right type of reel, line, sinker, etc.

The line you will use will have a lead weight somewhere along its length. The end will have bait, a large hook (often called an ‘octopus’ hook), and a cork. You are then set for drift fishing, or trolling. You place your line either perpendicular to the boat or directly behind the boat as it moves and let the line drift (hence the name). Moving the reel so that the hook bounces up and down makes it more attractive for the tuna.

With this technique, you should be able to snag a yellowfin tuna with a little patience. Be forewarned, though, that yellowfin tuna bite hard and can knock you off balance if you aren’t paying attention (and if the fish is big enough). When you feel that bite – and you will – grab on with both hands and hold on tight!


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