How To Catch Tuna Like A Pro? (Thorough Guide)

| Published On:
Fishingery.com is supported by its audience. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More
How To Catch Tuna Fish

If you don’t know where to begin, learning how to catch tuna may seem impossible. From picking the best rod and reel to employing tools like fishing lines, nets, and harpoons when you catch your first tuna, this comprehensive book will bring you through every step.

Catching tuna has never been more straightforward or accessible at your neighborhood fishing hole. Learning how to catch tuna can seem challenging, but with the correct information and planning, anyone can catch tuna like the pros!

I’ll show you this handy how-to-get into tuna fishing guide with all the information you need to get going on your way to being a professional tuna fisherman! What will you need to make your vacation as successful as possible? Let’s look at the list.


How To Catch Tuna Fish?


Since the Roman Empire, tuna has been a popular fish to eat, and it is still regarded as one of the most incredible seafood options worldwide today.

Catching tuna requires expertise and perseverance when cooking dinner at home or out on the lake. So that you can eat fresh fish wherever you are, I’ll teach you how to catch tuna fish like a pro!

It can be lovely that tuna are open to different lures and bait, but it can also be challenging to know what to use. However, one thing is for sure it won’t be dull!

Anglers can catch several tuna species using a variety of techniques. They are jigging, popping, chumming (or chunking), and trolling. Trolling is the most widely used technique for catching tuna.

image of a tuna caught with fishing line

Depending on the species you’re attempting to capture, keep your speed between 5 and 8 knots. It would help if you trolled more slowly the deeper your bait is laid. Anglers use a variety of patterns to spread their equipment out from the back of the boat when trolling for tuna.

Some people use outrigger poles known as green sticks to simulate a loose school of fish. Various lures are used to entice tuna to strike. The species of tuna you hope to catch and the nearby bait fish will influence how you decide to troll for them.

You will achieve the best results if you pay strict attention to detail. Fishing for bigeye tuna can depend on the baitfish; sometimes, you can troll around a school of bigeye by traveling along undersea contours at a depth of 250 feet or below. By contrast, bluefin fishing can depend on the availability of baitfish.


Where And When To Catch Tuna Fish?


Make sure you’ve accomplished your tuna season study before going on your first tuna fishing expedition of the year.

One thing is certain: tuna fishing is not for the timid of heart, whether your concern is how to catch bluefin tuna off the coast of New England, how to catch blackfin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico, or how to catch yellowfin tuna while on vacation in Hawaii?

When pursuing tuna, fishing between dusk and dawn is ideal. It is simpler to raise the weight of your tackle while it is dark, as a tuna’s keen eyes are less likely to notice the situation. When it is dark out, this fish typically bites more readily, especially if it is surface fishing.

image of seven yellowfin tunas caught by angler

The best time to pursue this vast predatory fish is in the late afternoon. Additionally, you should fish while the sun is low in the sky if you want to catch schools of tuna.

While tunas can be caught throughout the year, there are particular months when they are more common. The summer months of June, July, and August are the finest for catching big tuna. Although not as abundant, tuna fishing can also be successful in September, October, and November.

The Atlantic and Pacific bluefin tuna are the two varieties of bluefin tuna hunted in the United States. While I often catch Pacific bluefin tuna off the coast of California between May and October.

Atlantic bluefin tuna season runs from June through November along the Eastern North American seaboard. I mainly fished yellowfin tuna off the shores of Texas, Louisiana, Southern California, and Hawaii during the summer or early fall.


What Types Of Live Baits Do You Need For Catching Tuna?


I can use only once one manila clam to make fish bait. For each tuna hunting excursion, I advise you to bring about 30 bags of fish bait. Although it won’t ensure you catch a tuna, doing so will feel a little less tedious.

Pick what’s around when choosing the most excellent bait, like when looking for tuna. The abundance of different bait fish varies seasonally, and tuna will probably eat whatever is most plentiful.

However, when in season, some species are more sought-after by anglers and their prey than others. Due partly to their abundance and toughness, blue runners, sometimes known as hardtails, are among the most widely used live baits.

image of blue runners and herring fish

Herring is the second most demanding live bait; these oily fish are among the most common prey and, thus, bait in any gulf, sea, or ocean. Additionally, the Gulf offers a variety of species, including threadfins and pogies (menhaden).

Like herring, mullets gather offshore during specific times of the year to spawn. You’ll be all business if you match that hatch, and you can have fun back at the pier.

These Flying Fish targets of opportunity are a tremendous live alternative to drift fishing when and where they are accessible.

Ballyhoo, nothing beats live bait, but you still have options if you run out or can’t find any. These beaked baitfish can be tuna candy when tied singly on a circular hook for drift fishing or in a daisy chain for trolling.


Best Topwater Tuna Tips


  • In the water column, factors like temperature, salinity, and tide, among others, produce distinct breaks or vertical lines that can occasionally be seen as apparent color variations or weed lines.
  • Fish frequently follow or stack up along these breaks, so you should do the same by trolling just off one side.
  • To ensure that nothing restricts the lure’s action, start with a split ring and barrel swivel at the lure head.
  • Connect that to an arm’s length, 100-pound fluorocarbon leader.
  • Then use an FG knot to secure that to your 80-pound braid.
  • Hook live bait through the nose before drifting.
  • They are more likely to stay awake, causing more noise on the surface to draw in “nosy” predators.
  • When casting large top-water lures, toss with your underarm.
  • Although it takes far less work, it is just as efficient as an overhand cast and prevents you from exhausting yourself as soon.

What Are The Best Tuna Fish Chunking Tips?


  • Make many little cuts and maintain a constant flow.
  • The most common error anglers make is forgetting to toss pieces when a fish is on the line. The school of tuna usually swims off as soon as the chunks stop flowing.
  • You can frequently hold the school next to your boat during a fight if you keep up the flow.
  • Light leaders receive more hits in this instance. The heaviest fluorocarbon the fish would bite was a 30-pound test.
  • Always use circular hooks when using light leads like this.
  • The leader won’t rub against the fish’s teeth because they often tuck themselves into the corner of the mouth.
  • Never use circle hooks to place the hook. Instead, steadily tighten the line as the fish draws it tight.
  • When chunking, clickers should always be on. Otherwise, when a tuna strikes, the reel frequently backlashes.
  • Jigs are frequently struck in addition to baits when you try to provoke a feeding frenzy in tuna fish like yellowfin. This is a fantastic strategy to increase your catch.
  • There’s no need to keep re-baiting the hooks and wasting time. Since the fish are chasing a moving target and don’t have as much time to eyeball it, you can also increase the leader’s size.

Best Trolling Tips for Tuna


  • To draw attention, fill a bit with a lot of things. More tuna will be drawn to umbrella rigs, spreader bars, etc., with or without stingers.
  • Tuna can be picky. Therefore, it might be challenging to match tuna trolling with squidsatch. Use single baits, daisy chains, spreader bars, and squid bars. Use more of a particular bait if you see it drawing the most attention.
  • When tuna fishing, don’t be afraid to catch misses. After releasing the drag for two or three seconds, slide the rod to “strike.” A second strike may occur if the bait is released and pulsed.
  • Instead of settling for one, make plans for more hookups. Don’t immediately slow down to combat the initial hook-up. Tuna are schooling fish, so if you keep trolling at the same speed, you can catch more.
  • To draw fish, throw six small live baits behind the boat using a dip net or a homemade contraption.
  • This tactic is effective when trolling around rigs or marking deeper fish but not catching up.

Best Fishing Equipment For Catching Tuna Fish


Some of the strongest, hardiest, and fastest fish in the ocean are tuna. Because of this, tuna is a top choice for deep-sea anglers and people looking to go on a fishing trip of a lifetime. But you first need to have the right tuna fishing equipment to capture and pull in these enormous fish.

On Prince Edward Island, tuna typically weighs 700 lbs but can weigh up to 1200 lbs. Rods need to be sturdy when trying to capture a tuna.

A robust rod can support the weight of a powerful fish like a bluefin tuna, but a strong reel is also required. A safe wager is a 130-pound reel.

Outriggers with roller trollers let you have more lines in the water at once and prevent them from tangling, giving you more chances to catch something.

image of some fishing equipment like hooks

Most crews utilize high visibility lines to ensure they can see behind the boat while trolling. You can make a robust and resilient line that won’t fail you in a battle with a tuna by splicing it to the dacron.

The hook is still another piece of gear that is required. Depending on the type of fishing you are doing, this is where things start to become a little trickier. The lure is fastened to the rest of the line by a leader.

This component of tuna fishing gear is frequently overlooked. Leaders ought to be robust and rated for at least the weight of the line to which they are connected. Last but not least, using lures that are alluring is crucial since lures are what cause tuna to bite.

I typically find tuna 60 to 100 feet below the boat; therefore, lures that dive lower will be more effective at attracting their attention. Lures can also be attached to a spreader to get the tuna to bite.

More articles:


Final Verdict:

Whatever the location, tuna fishing offers fishers a thrilling chase, heart-pounding pulls, and an even better feast. In this article, I outline the procedures for how to catch tuna and where and how to go tuna fishing.

Fishing for tuna can be challenging. Some of the most resilient battling species in the ocean are tuna. Ensuring their tuna fishing equipment can catch these fish is a significant concern for serious tuna anglers.

The methods, seasons, states, and species used in tuna fishing vary. Though they are frequently found in the same areas, bluefin and yellowfin tuna are rarely found in the same waters. Bluefin tuna is commonly seen in waters close to the shore and hardly ever near beaches.

However, giant bluefin tuna can be discovered near the shore, particularly on Canadian seas. Bluefin thrives in calmer seas, while yellowfin often favor warm water.


Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – How to catch bluefin tuna?

One of the three subspecies of bluefin tuna, the southern bluefin, is in danger of going extinct due to overfishing. The best for cooking and least endangered is Pacific Bluefin.

You will want large bait to catch these enormous fish. The best fish are little tuna, herring, and mackerel.

#2 – How to catch yellowfin tuna?

Trolling with small fish, squid, or other trolled baits such as strip baits and artificial lures are examples of fishing techniques.

It could be worthwhile to attempt chumming with live bait as well. Remember that Yellowfin Tuna is not the type of fish to give up easily.

#3 – Is it hard to catch tuna?

When they are adults, most tuna species live in intense seas. But certain species, like the bullet tuna, prefer to reside along the coast. It’s most likely a juvenile tuna if you capture one of the marine species when shore fishing.

#4 – How far offshore do you need to catch tuna?

They swim in schools about 50 miles offshore, where your fishing charter will take you to catch them. However, if you want a bigger catch, you may travel up to 75 miles offshore since this is where the true winners are to be found.

#5 – What attracts tuna fish?

Making a chum slick and gradually slipping pieces of cut bait over the side of the boat will attract tuna. It must carefully strike a balance between chumming the water just enough to draw the fish and too much that the fish get overfed.

#6 – What lure is best for tuna?

The most fruitful approach for catching yellowfin tuna is typically live baiting. Threadfin herring, menhaden/pogies, blue runners/hardtails, and mullet are some of the most popular live baits used when tuna fishing in the gulf.

#7 – Is it easy to catch a tuna?

No. You may catch tuna anyplace because it is one of the world’s hardest-fighting fish and is prized for its meat. Tuna can be found in the same fishing grounds as other sought-after fish species.

#8 – How do you rig tuna?

In regions with large fish concentrations, inserting a hook into the bait is the most popular rigging technique. Under the dorsal fin, through the nose, through the mouth, and the shoulders are often used hooking locations.

Directly hooking the bait is quick and straightforward, requiring no additional equipment, floss, or rigging needle.

The disadvantage is that bridled bait typically outlives bait that has been hooked directly. Additionally, hooked bait typically trolls less straightly than bridled bait.

#9 – What pound test line is used for tuna fishing?

For chasing that size of fish, a minimum reel size would be 500 yards of 100 lb spectra backing to whatever leader length you desire, with the drag set to 20 for strike and 30 at full.

#10 – What’s a good trolling speed for tuna?

The average trolling speed for many crews using skirts and hard-bodied divers is 8 knots. Your time on the water will be more pleasurable and fruitful if you can master the positioning of lures in your spread.