There are several different types of tuna among them are the famous giant bluefin, yellowfin, and albacore tuna. Albacore tuna is the type of tuna that you get in the grocery store in cans, where is yellowfin is the more premium tuna that is served in restaurants.
Tuna roam the entire ocean. They have vast migratory patterns. It will help you to understand these when you go trolling for them
For sport fishermen interested in catching tuna there are four main techniques that you will use these are trolling, chunking, jigging, and in some cases, you will use live bait to troll for tuna.
What you need to understand about tuna fishing is that tuna are predatory fish always on the move hunting for their prey. The key to catching more tuna is to put the correct baits in front of them and you will eventually hook up.
Now, it’s important to understand that the different colors of the fishing lures and as well as the different sizes and shapes are all important to be successful in having a successful fishing trip.
Location, location, location! We’ve all heard it before you need to pick your spots where the fish are, and this will be one of the biggest determining factors and whether you hook up or you spend the day doing nothing.
So how can you improve your chances? Well it starts with great tuna trolling lures. You might think all the different variations in tuna lures are unnecessary, but the truth is the tuna doesn’t care what you think. They are going to go after what looks like an easy meal for them.
There will be small differences that certain species of tuna prefer that will make some lures more effective than others.
A good rule to follow is the bigger the lure, the bigger the fish. So if you’re trying to catch a giant bluefin you’re going to need massive resin tuna trolling lures, but if you are trying to catch just small albacore you will need a lure a fraction of the size.
Another reason for all the many different sizes and shapes and variations of the lures is that the tuna wisen up. If you’re fishing on a whole school they will quickly figure out what you were doing, and that is why you need an arsenal of different size shapes and building materials on your lures if you want to be effective.
Probably the most effective technique on tuna especially on the east coast is using single lures.
What do I mean by this? Well things like spreader bars and dredges don’t seem to work here on the East Coast. Although I have found that when you find a great single lewer oh, that’s all you need.
After that you need to consider your trolling speed. I have found that you need on average to troll a little bit faster. The Sweet spot that I have found is right around 7.5 miles per hour to 10 miles per hour. Also you need to consider wind. If the winds are above 25 to 30 knots, well you might as well go home, because you’re just not going to be able to land any fish.
One of the side benefits of trolling for tuna is that you will often catch other fish such as Mahi sailfish and even wahoo and Marlin. This is why tuna fishing is in the category of sportfishing.
Tuna specifically reside near the surface of the water in the top 100 ft, but in some areas such as deep in the gulf stream they can reside all the way down to a thousand feet of water. The most amount of success have caught tuna is in the first 100 feet below the water surface
So how do you find that you know?
Well, tuna move and large schools a fish known as bait balls. How do you find a bait ball? You let nature tell you. You can’t spot a bait ball on the water if you see a lot of commotion in the water such a splashing and also from above if you see a bunch of birds dive-bombing into the water.
These are the classic signals of a bait ball. This is where you want to drop your lines and troll back and forth for tuna in this area.
Tuna are one of the most popular fish in the world both for sportfishing and for eating. Because of this, it’s important to keep up the population numbers and you can help by reporting your catch. Here is a great place to do it: https://hmspermits.noaa.gov/catchReports
So which type of lures should you use? We’ll go over a couple of the best ones right here.
Steel Bait tuna trolling lures.
A steel bait trolling lures is about 5 in Long and weighs half an ounce. You can get these in multiple different colors including black orange, Pearl blue, and even pink and green. They have a bullet head design that is steel plated and has a large flash mylar skirt, that really catches the eye of predatory fish.
remember, tuna are smart so if you’re using large lures and they are not working remember to switch it up, and try some smaller lures. You’ll be surprised how much more fish you catch by mixing it up.
Hammer tuna trolling lure.
A hammer lower is about 6 in long and weighs 3/4 of an ounce. The blue and yellow version is the most successful for landing tuna but the pink and black blue and orange gray and tan versions have also been known to work pretty well.
These effective lures are usually fist without any bait because when fishing offshore of North Carolina this is the best technique.
Bullet daisy chain.
A daisy chain is a more advanced level of trolling for tuna. The daisy chain has 5 4 inch teasers, and then the main lower is about 8 in Long.
It’s always good to have a daisy chain when you’re trolling offshore. Most of the time a single lower is your best bet, but it’s great to have another tool in the toolbox like a daisy chain when the fish are wising up to your techniques.
Now, these are just some of the basics that you need to know. Remember, there are no hard an fast rules in fishing. There is no exact process you can follow that will guarantee you catch a bunch of fish.
There are only best practices and techniques. Always be on the lookout for what works best for you and on the unique water that you fish on.
Also, if you’d like to get better at trolling for these predatory fish, this is a great article to read: https://www.sportfishingmag.com/boats/boating-skills/six-patterns-successful-offshore-trolling/
And remember, fishing is about having fun!