A Beginner’s Guide to Tuna Fishing

Fishing for tuna for the first time is an exciting day for any fisherman. Most likely, you are going offshore fishing and maybe for the first time. Here are a few tips about the kinds of tuna you may find, methods for fishing tuna and basics on boat behavior when offshore fishing.

There are 15 species of tuna ranging from the bullet tuna at 1.5” to the bluefin, which can weigh up to 1500 lbs. Tunas are usually found in warm water but are pelagic fish and wander widely through the oceans. Some species of tuna are overfished, but there are still plenty of types of tuna to catch.

Most of the blue fin group of tuna is vulnerable. The yellow fin group is more populated. The most environmentally responsible tuna to fish is the Thunni tribe, which includes:

  • slender tuna
  • bullet tuna
  • frigate tuna
  • mackeral tuna
  • little tunny
  • black skipjack tuna
  • skipjack tuna

Remember that you can always catch and release a vulnerable species.

The most straightforward method for fishing tuna is a mixture of chum, trolling, and bait. Create a chum slick behind the boat, careful to attract the fish but not overfeed them. Bait on your rods should be bigger than the chunks of chum and offer a variety to the tuna. Try anchovies, sardines, squid, or mackerel.

A skilled offshore captain may employ other methods for fishing tuna from the use of radar to kite fishing. Radar helps your guide locate coral or other underwater structures that attract fish. Kite fishing is a method for flying bait far from the boat and floating it along the surface of the water. This method is often used in Florida and the Caribbean.

It is a good idea to fish with an expert the first time you fish offshore. The important rules for fishing on a charter boat are: pay attention to the captain and the mates and do everything they tell you to do.

Wear comfortable layered clothes that protect from the sun. A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are a must. Stow your gear off the deck as soon as you board.

The crew will call you to a rod when it gets a hit. You may be offered a belt or chair with a rod holder to help with a fighting fish. Ask questions if you don’t know what to do and hang on for the ride.

Finally, don’t be surprised if your first time out for tuna is just a great boat ride without a bite. That is the beauty of fishing; you never know what will happen.