How to fish for tuna

Tuna are some of the most popular fish to catch for both hardcore and casual anglers. While they aren’t the toughest fish to spot, catching them is a different story. The next time you’re planning on taking your Blackfin Boat out for an offshore fishing adventure, keep these top five tuna fishing tips in mind for a serious haul.

  1. Go at Night

Researchers and anglers have studied tuna behavior for a better idea of when these fish are easiest to catch. The coveted Yellowfin Tuna typically follow a diel pattern for depth distribution. That means these fish will spend their time in mixed and surface layers at night while heading down to the depths during the daylight hours. So while you won’t see much action, you will get a better fishing experience if you go at night. Once the daylight begins to fade, bait heads to the surface and the predators, like tuna, follow.

  1. Look for Structure

Structure is critical for ensuring that an offshore fishing trip will be worth the angler’s while. Around reefs, shoals, humps, and seamounts, bait congregates. Where bait is, so are the predators. No matter how deep it is, you’ll find a fish around the structure.

  1. Heat Waves

Large fish will typically prefer cool waters, but not necessarily the tuna. Researchers have found that these fish prefer water around 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Before you head out to sea in search of the tuna, study the sea surface temperature charts so you can narrow down the prime fishing spots.

  1. Shrimp Boats

Shrimp boats will produce a lot of chum when they process their catch. And chum attracts larger, predatory fish. If there are shrimping boats in the area, watch for them to haul back. Once they do, you’ll want to move in if possible. There you’ll find a lot of tuna action either during the day or preferably at night.

  1. Cloudy Water

Where freshwater meets saltwater, the water becomes cloudy. If skies are overcast and there’s a bit of chop, you’ll be able to pull in a tuna catch faster.

Using the right bait is also critical for catching tuna. Depending on the season, tuna will most likely be munching on the bait that’s most abundant. Some of the most effective bait for tuna fishing include:

If you’re trolling for tuna, mix it up. Tuna can be picky eaters, and if you have a variety of bait on the line, they’ll be more likely to bite. Consider using other items to attract their attention, including umbrella rigs or spreader bars.

Once hooked, the tuna fights fiercely and novice anglers may want assistance from more experienced crew or fisherman. Keep these top five tuna fishing tips in mind for your next offshore adventure.

At Blackfin Boats, we offer a range of innovative and durable boats made from the finest materials and craftsmanship. Find a local Blackfin Boats dealer near you today.

/>Greater Amberjack and Shark Seasons: Take Your Pick! March 24, 2022
/>Take Your Spring Break Offshore This Year February 17, 2022
/>Celebrate, Don’t Hibernate! The Fishing’s Great! January 14, 2022
/>Wrapping Up 2021 November 30, 2021
/>Texas Gulf – Fall Fishing at its Best August 9, 2021

Contact Us

How to fish for tuna

11 Pro-Tips To Catch Terrific Tuna

How to fish for tuna

One of the most common types of tuna you’ll find in the waters off of Galveston, TX are yellowfin tuna. This is great news for tuna-lovers because yellowfin tuna can grow up to 7 feet in length and weigh up to 450 pounds.

According to culinary experts, yellowfin tuna is a desirable catch because it is low in oil and has a higher flavor profile than albacore tuna.

To catch such a large fish, you’ll need to know a lot about tuna fishing.

Read on for our best 11 tips on tuna fishing so that you can fish like a professional!

1. Go Tuna Fishing After the Sun Goes Down

Yellowfin tuna have a habit of swimming down to the depths when the sun is high in the sky. That doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to lure them upwards but that you’ll probably have to work harder to catch less fish during the day.

2. Pay Attention to Temperature

Fortunately, in Galveston, we don’t have to wait for summer to reach the high temperatures tuna love. The water temperature of the Gulf rarely dips lower than 50 degrees in the coldest months of the year.

You’ll see the most activity on days when the water is between 70 and 90 degrees, but note that bigger yellowfin tuna prefer temperatures a bit cooler.

3. Use the Right Bait

Live bait is your best bet for catching tuna and you’re going to want to use what’s most abundant at that time. What you’ll want to look for are blue runners, herring, or mullet. Lures and dead bait will work if you find a school that is deep in the midst of a feeding frenzy.

Bring a variety of bait and lures. It can be difficult to predict exactly what tuna will be feeding on when you head out and you want your bait to match whatever it is that they’re already eating.

4. Balance Your Chumming

Chumming live bait is a great way to attract the attention of a school and bring them closer to the surface. While trolling, cast a dip net to pick up live baitfish. Throw them, bit by bit, off the back of the boat.

Be careful not to over-chum. You don’t want to feed your school so much that they have no interest in whatever’s on your hook. You may also want to consider hooking something bigger than what you’re throwing out so that it’s more tantalizing to the tuna.

5. Seek Out Underwater Structures

Yellowfin tuna love underwater structures like reefs, shoals, and ledges because that’s where their food tends to hang out. If you’re not having any luck in open waters, head to areas that offer plenty of places for baitfish to hide out.

6. Watch for Seabirds

If you’re struggling to locate a school, it’s probably because you can’t find the bait. Keep an eye on seabirds and head towards them when they feed. They’ve found the bait which means they may have found the tuna.

7. Troll with the Current

Yellowfin tuna tend to swim with the breaks created by temperature, salinity, tide, and current. These breaks are often visible from the surface and you should troll alongside them.

8. Hope for a Surface Catch but Prepare for the Depths

As with most tuna fish, yellowfins tend to send their smaller, more agile fish up towards the surface to feed. The biggest of the pack will stay down below, feeding off of the weaker baitfish that don’t move as quickly.

Because they’re so large, it’s ideal to bring them as close to the surface before muscling them in. However, you shouldn’t bank on this outcome.

It’s best to use a reel spooled with a 130-pound braid when you’re trying to bring in those deep swimmers. Make sure at least one of your poles is equipped for the depths.

9. Go with a Group of Anglers

When you get that first bite, you’re going to want to hold off a moment. Give more members of the school a chance to notice some of your other lines before you begin the fight.

The best way to handle this is to go with a group of anglers. Since things can turn from slow sailing to rapid reeling in a matter of minutes, your best bet is to have one angler per pole.

10. Keep Your Energy Up

Yellowfin tuna don’t go down without a fight, especially when you’re lucky enough to hook a big one. This isn’t the kind of fishing trip to make with a beer in one hand and a cigar in the other!

Get a good night’s rest. Eat a high-protein, high-carb meal. Drink a ton of water.

In other words, do whatever it takes to have a high-energy day. Once they start biting, you’re going to get a real workout!

11. Set Sail with Professionals

If you’re heading out in search of some of the most formidable beasts of the Gulf, do so with the help of professionals. Experienced, licensed captains will know where to go and when. They’ll also have the best boat for the job and know what to do in an emergency situation.

The Gulf is no joke and if your experience is on the lower side, it is both safer and more enjoyable to spend your tuna fishing trip with the professionals.

Find Your Captain and Book Your Tuna Fishing Trip

Are you ready to have the tuna fishing experience of a lifetime? Whether you’ve never fished for tuna before or you’re a total pro, you’ll have a great time with a captain from Wave Dancer Charters in Galveston, TX.

Fishing tuna it’s not a 100% guaranteed catch, but in Blanes we almost guarantee catches in our charters, Blanes is one of the best hot spots in Spain.

There is nothing more exciting than stay in open sea searching for birds, bait fish or any other sign that help us to find the locations of tunas.

The strike and the battle against a tuna will make you lose your mind, tremble your knees and fill up yourself with adrenaline. You’ll be fighting against maybe the most powerful fish in the ocean. We practice catch and release with all the tunas.

We use stand up gear to can live a face to face fight with this titans of the sea, making the dreams come true for any fisherman.

At the beginning of march this titans come from the Atlantic ocean to the Mediterranean sea for his reproduction, and when they return hungry is the perfect time to catch them.

There’s not a better place in the Mediterranean sea than Blanes for tuna fishing. Only 5 miles to the best hot spots. If you contract a charter with Costa Brava Sport Fishing, you will obtain more fishing time, because we need less time to arrived to the best spots.

Offshore trolling

Usually we troll at 7 knots with 5 to 8 30 lb fishing rods. Strike on! Stop the boat and the fight starts (stand up gear). More than one strike at the same time is normal, excitement aboard at the maximum level!

Lures: Halco or Rapala minnows and soft-bodies lures and teasers.

Fishing gear: 30 to 50 lb rods and reels.

Species: Bluefin tuna from 15 to 30 kilos, swordfish, albacore, white tuna and Mahi-mahi (Dorado)

Fishing area: Blanes and Palamos canyons, from 20 to 40 milles offshore.

Season: all summer (june to september)

Chumming for giant tuna

With this technique, we fish anchored or drifting, chumming with sardine and mackerel. We use 50 to 80 lb gear in a 80 to 200 mts. deep zone. At the same time, you’ll catch some live bait and practice bottom fishing, making the day more fun while waiting for the giant tuna strike.

Bait: live and dead bait (sardine and mackerel)

Fishing gear: 3 x 50 to 80 lb Shimano Tiagra rods and Black Magic fishing harness.

Species: Bluefin tuna from 50 to 200 kilos, albacores, blue shark, swordfish and rays.

Fishing areas: Fonera (5 milles), Sot (7 milles), Miquela (12 milles)

Fishing season: Two fishing periods: when they come from the atlantic to their reproduction areas (May and June) and after his reproduction (August and October).


This is the most exciting and thrilling technique, due to the fact that we fish when we see the tunas, throwing our lures to the big banks of tuna feeding frenzy on surface.

Home › Blog › The Ultimate Guide to Yellowfin Tuna Fishing

The Ultimate Guide to Yellowfin Tuna Fishing

Published July 30th, 2018 by Admin

How to fish for tuna

Yellowtail tuna fishing isn't just some of the most exhilarating sports fishing in the world. When you catch tuna it can include a great day on the water and a huge payday.

Some tournaments cash in at $750,000 in prizes for a yellowfin! But before you get your record payday you need to know how to find these creatures.

Amateur and experienced anglers alike can have better luck if they follow our guide. Use these tips and let us know how many big fish you're reeling in.

Start with locals:

1. Talk To Locals

Your first stop on the hunt for yellowfin should always be a local shop. You want to talk to locals and find out when and where and how the yellowfin are biting.

Amateurs may need to hire a guide. Those great spots are well-kept secrets in fishing towns.

2. Find a Food Source

If you want to find out where the yellowfin are, you need to find their food source. Doing some research on the internet before you head out can make your day go faster.

You'll have better luck if you head for the temperature breaks in the water where which are more likely to hold higher phytoplankton percentages.

And when you do catch your first yellowfin of the day, open them up. Find out what they have been eating lately to use this as bait.

3. Plan Around Tides and Weather

The weather in Venice can change fast. No one wants to be out there looking for tuna when the weather isn't cooperating.

Plus, it will be difficult to watch for bird life and other telltale signs the tuna are close. Watch the weather closely and plan accordingly.

Yellowfin are like other fish. They are more active when the tides are shifting too. If you look for the right weather and plan around the shifting tides, you will increase your chances.

4. Watch For Bird Life

When you are out looking for yellowtail keep an eye peeled for bird activity on the surface. It isn't just the temperature breaks that signal feeding activity.

The birds on the surface are often a signal that the yellowfins are near. You'll have a better idea of where to troll or drop a line if you are constantly on the watch for bird life activity.

5. Think About Sunrise and Sunset

A few of the best times to go out yellowtail fishing are near sunrise and sunset. Fish are affected by the change in times and the lunar calendar.

6. Lures

Tuna respond to a wide range of lures. And combining a baiting strategy with lures can bring more fish close by.

Cedar plugs, plastic skirted lures, and tuna feathers all work well. Trolling plugs have the benefit of working with faster speeds to attract the fish as well.

Using a pop-pop-pause technique when dragging the lure is a rhythm yellowfin respond to.

7. Use a Light Leader

Remember, yellowfin don't have the same mouth types as some of the other large game fish. Unlike marlins, yellowfin have less jaw and scales to content with.

Using a lighter leader will make landing them more enjoyable.

8. Temperature Breaks

Just like looking for food sources before you leave the dock with the help of research, watching for temperature breaks out on the water will help you find yellowfin.

9. Using Tuna Bait

Bait balls, cubing, chumming, and live bait are all ways to get those tuna into your boat.

Witch cubing or chunking you can constantly drop a trail of bait from the back of your boat. A good idea is to drop the next chunk as soon as the last one is out of site.

You will start a line of fish headed for your boat.

10. Going Deep

Using leaders and rigs to get your line deeper down into the water is a good strategy. You will have your bait or lures away from the boat and in the deeper, cooler water where yellowfin prefer to feed.

11. Go Back

More than other fish, tuna seem to have an uncanny knack for avoiding bait when they sense boats are around. A simple way to avoid scaring off the fish is to go long from the back of your boat.

Whether you are using yellowfin tuna lures or tuna bait you can increase your chances of landing a fish with a long distance between the end of your line and your boat.

But while you can increase your strikes from tuna it is important to beware. You may lose a lot of your fish as you try to land them.

Sharks and barracuda may see the yellowfin you have on your line as a great lunch. You need to bring them in quickly with this method.

12. Live Baiting From Kites

Live bait works to well to lure in yellowfin. The natural movement and energy of live bait is unmistakable to the yellowfin and they prefer it over all else.

But live baiting can be a challenge when you are trying to remain distant from the boat. Avoiding the action of the boat is difficult with live bait.

One solution is to try kiting. Dropping live bait in from a line attached to a kite behind your boat can increase the odds with live bait.

Get The Edge in Yellowfin Tuna Fishing

For anyone looking for the true thrill and exhilaration of yellowfin tuna fishing, we can help. Intensity Offshore Outfitters has the experience and knowledge to help you find and land those beautiful yellowfins.

Even though the fishing in and around Venice, Louisianna, is the best anywhere, you can still get the benefit of expert help. And no one is better than Captain Josh Bodenheimer at helping clients catch the fish they are looking for.

Intensity Offshore Outfitters is located in Venice, LA, just 60 miles south of New Orleans. Our top of the line vessel will take you to where the fish are and we will help you catch tuna like no other charter can.

At over 3 feet in length, big game tuna are one of my favorite fish to target. They give a big fight, are active to look for, and are great eating. These tuna fishing tips will give you the best information to have a successful adventure and to get more big fish into your boat.

Schools of tuna can be hundreds of individual fish, so you won’t be looking for individuals in the wide blue sea.

I don’t know if it is the power they exhibit as they take your bait or the sight they make when they jump out of the water, but big tuna would have to be one of the funnest fish to go catch. While some people prefer the calm of bass fishing or the wilderness of salmon fishing, it is hard to beat the feeling when you hook a 200 lb tuna.

Big yellow fin tuna can exceed 300 pounds, so make sure your gear is big enough for that monster you may be lucky enough to hook.

Table of Contents

Species of Tuna

  1. Albacore
  2. Southern Bluefin
  3. Bigeye
  4. Pacific Bluefin
  5. Atlantic Bluefin
  6. Blackfin
  7. Longtail
  8. Yellowfin

17 Tuna Fishing Tips

  • Look for birds – this often highlights a bait ball that tuna feeding under the water have created. This is a great place to try your luck to hook some big tuna. Find the birds and the fish won’t be far away.
  • Tuna have large schools and you can often get multiple people hooking up at the same time. Make sure you have a plan for what to do when this happens so you don’t end up losing both fish.
  • Tuna schools are very mobile and can often disappear at a moments notice, so be ready to move as soon as they vanish – they won’t be far away, so keep your eyes open.
  • Retrieve your lure as fast as possible – you won’t be able to retrieve faster than a tuna can swim!
  • Keep one eye on your fish finder – the bait ball might not be visible on the surface.
  • Tuna can grow over 300 pounds in size (a lot over!), so make sure you have heavy gear ready to go.
  • Match the bait – try a lure that mimics the size and color of the bait the tuna are chasing or the fish might ignore you.
  • Trolling over and around bait balls can be very successful, particularly for big tuna. The idea speed is 6 to 8 knots, but it’s best to slow down to 5½ to 6½ knots for deeper water
  • Tuna are a migratory species, so make sure you are going fishing at the right time of year for your particular location.
  • Artificial squid like lures with colorful skirts are a tuna favorite, but mix it up until you find something they are looking for – so keep a variety of colors and sizes in your tackle box.
  • Fresh bait is also a good option such as squid, mackerel, herring, butterfish, sardines or skipjack. The key is to hide the hook.
  • High wind and rough seas can scare off the fish as much as they scare off the angler.
  • Tuna have great eyesight and can be scared off by thick metal leader, so adjust accordingly.
  • Tuna do not survive for long outside of the water, so if you aren’t intending to keep your catch, then get it back into the water as quickly as possible.
  • For best eating, your tuna should be bled immediately.
  • You will need a serious offshore rod with 35-60 pounds of drag. We recommend 60-80 pound braid fishing line with 6 feet of 80 pound flourocarbon leader. Fluoro blends in with the water and gives the fish less chance of being scared from the line.
  • If the area looks like tuna territory but you can’t see any bait balls then chum and chunk.

Tuna Fishing Tips Video

The video below gives some good tuna fishing advice for Northern Bluefin:

Recommended Tuna Big Game Lures

These lures have a variety of colorful skirts that will catch the tuna’s attention. Change the colors frequently until you find something that the fish are hunting for – a big idea is to try and match the bait the tuna are chasing.

These lures are particularly effective for big game fish. If you are chasing smaller tuna then you might want to scale down your bait.


In conclusion, Tuna are one of the world’s favorite fish to eat but also to catch. They can grow to massive sizes and put up a huge fight, giving them a reputation as a big game fish.

I have personally caught a lot of tuna in my time and love the excitement of spotting a bait ball and the birds diving and knowing that in a few minutes I will have a fight on my hands and fish in the boat.

There are plenty of other tips out in the world, so read as much as you can to give yourself enough knowledge to make the best decisions when you are out in the boat.

If you have any tips of your own to share with the fishing community then please leave a comment below. I hope we can make all tuna fisherman more successful.

How to fish for tuna

At the Triple Wrecks, 60 miles off the Jersey coast, the bow of Defiance, Capt. Brian Keating’s 36 Valhalla, was pointed toward total mayhem, an area where hundreds of bluefin tuna frantically trashed and splashed while pounding a baitball on the surface. Engines in neutral, the boat drifted toward the madness. I picked a spot on the outskirts of the feeding frenzy to cast a Savage Gear 3D Mack Stick. One, two, three twitches, then bam! The drag on my reel whined as line started ripping off the spool, and the rod arched downward, coming painfully close to its breaking limit. The fight was on.

Three bluefin tuna of 75 to 150 pounds hit the deck in 45 minutes, all hooked on poppers and slide baits, before we swung around for another pass at the school, then another and another, all yielding similar success. The question is, would the results have been even better if we dropped jigs instead of chucking poppers? What determines the right times to throw plugs or drop jigs is a study in tuna feeding habits.

Up Top

Visuals of tuna crashing mackerel schools on the surface gave up the obvious clue to choose a popper. But should poppers always be the first weapon out of your quiver?

Legendary tuna hound Sami Ghandour of Saltywater Tackle offered insights on feeding tuna from North Carolina to Cape Cod.

“Poppers have their place and time. In Cape Cod, they don’t really work, as they push fish down,” Ghandour says. “In New Jersey, however, those fish seem more aggressive and active, and you can get them frustrated easily with a surface popper.”

How to fish for tuna

In Jersey waters, the trend is that tuna usually come up and feed during the afternoon. You might not see the fish coming up, but there are other telltale signs that pinpoint the proper time to toss a popper. “Breaching whales gulping down bait, porpoises corralling a baitball, and the evident V-shaped wakes of tuna schools are all indicators that the fish are ready and willing to feed on top,” Ghandour says. “Conversely, there are times when poppers can be cast randomly to explore and incite tuna down in the water column to come up and investigate.”

A popper with a large, concave face, like the Madd Mantis or Nomad Chug Norris, should be worked with a long draw to spout out substantial spray, then a pause for a second or two before repeating the process. It’s during that brief pause that tuna usually pounce on the popper because it appears that the bait is tired and resting..


“When marking tuna 10 to 30 feet below the surface, or when tuna are pushing water, they are on the move. That’s when I pull out subsurface slide baits and stickbaits,” Ghandour says.

Because bluefin and yellowfin schools move rapidly, you might only have a split second of opportunity to make the perfect cast. “Tuna cruise around subsurface with their eyes facing upward, and that’s when I throw floating stickbaits. The only time I use sinking stickbaits is when birds are picking up the lure and I need to get it down before one snatches it.” Ghandour will cast out a stickbait about 50 yards in front of a moving tuna school and count to 30 or 40 to let the lure sink enough. “For stickbaits, cast, put the rod tip down, keeping a belly in the line. Then twitch it to create a bubble trail behind the lure to trigger a bite. Always twitch to the right, making sure the lure darts under the surface to create a trail of bubbles.”

All Ghandour’s stickbaits are fitted with single inline hooks for a better hookup ratio than treble hooks provide. For Jersey tuna in the 30- to 100-pound range, Ghandour opts for a 4½-inch (120 to 125 mm) lure in a squid color pattern or solid white. When going for larger fish—100- to 200-pounders—in Cape Cod, he steps up to a Tackle House Britt 170 mm pencil in sardine color. And for tuna over 100 inches, Ghandour pulls out the big guns, like the CB One Zorro, Hammerhead Cherry Pai 240, and Rave 220 to 260.

Quick reactions are in order when using stickbaits for tuna. The fish tend to hit when the lure pauses before the next twitch, so be prepared to immediately reel up any slack to set the hook.

How to fish for tuna

Down Low

“Tons of boat traffic lately on the tuna grounds means fish are feeding deeper, and that trend may continue with the growing popularity,” Ghandour says. “Many times, Jersey tuna key on sand eels, so they feed down in the water column. When you mark them deep on the screen, it’s time to drop jigs.” Deep-trolling ballyhoo on planer boards yields strikes from fish you mark in midwater, or even near the bottom, but jigging metals sparks takes from hungry bluefins and yellowfins down deep that bite with conviction.

“That is not speed jigging. I drop down, reel up four to five cranks, then pause. The rod tip should be whipping up and down. Tuck the rod under your arm, lift, and crank once going up. If one guy on the boat hooks up, chances are everyone will get hit on the jig.”

Ghandour believes in CB One F1, G2 and C1 jigs, and fishes them in 80 to 250 grams for 30- to 80-pound-class fish. In Jersey, he prefers 100- to 150-gram versions in red-and-gold or green-and-gold. His jigging rod is an El Maestro 82m 710MH spinning model matched with an 8000-size reel loaded with white, hollow-core Power Pro in 40- to 60-pound-test. That outfit, he claims, serves him well for New Jersey tuna up to 100 pounds.

For Cape Cod or North Carolina bluefins in the 100- to 250-pound range, Ghandour goes heavier, using a Race Point or Monster Ledge 150 or 220ST with a Shimano 14000 Stella spinning reel, or a 300 or 350 model of the same rods matched with a conventional Talica 12 or O’Shea Jigger 4000. His jigging line then is Shimano’s O’Shea EX8 braid in 60- to 80-pound-test.

How to fish for tuna

Factor It In

Many contributing factors go into deciding whether to jig, pop or throw stickbaits for tuna. Learn to read the movements of the schools, and take notice of where the fish hold in the water column and how they interact with the available forage. Adding up all that will point to the right choice of weapon when the tuna come calling.

SWS Tackle Box

Rods: Spinning and conventional 50- to 200-pound models, including Shimano Grappler GRPCS82H, El Maestro 82m 710MH, and Race Point or Monster Ledge 150 to 350, depending on tuna size and location

Reels: Shimano 14000 Stella, Twin Power, Saragosa SG or equivalent for spinning, Shimano Talica 12 or similar option for conventional

Lures: CB One F1, G2 or C1 jigs in 80 to 250 grams, CB One Zorro and Ryan 200 stickbait, Savage Gear 3D Mack Stick, Hammerhead Cherry Pai 200, Nomad Chug Norris 150, and Madd Mantis Popper

We have just located the first tuna for the season from Marion Bay. Whilst on holidays over the Christmas break, We decided to have a look at the current sea surface temperature chart due to the amazing amount of baitfish that were present in and around Marion Bay. The Tuna were early last year turning up around mid February, so we were sceptical if they would be here so early but it was worth a try.

The temperatures looked promising and we picked a likely location with a good current line. With the weather on our side we invited a couple of friends from Marion Bay, who as soon as we told them we were looking for Tuna were in like a flash. Rods and tackle were loaded, lures came out of their wintery grave and we were off looking for Tuna in the middle of January, who would have thought.

The seas were calm and it didn’t take us long to reach our destination. We were teased many times by birds working over large splashes only to be dolphins working on the vast amount of baitfish present. We had been trolling for a few hours with only a few stinky barracouta for our efforts so we decided to do a bit of bottom bouncing for a while hoping things may turn around during the afternoon as it often does with Tuna.

We were pulling in a few snapper and nannygai when I saw just two birds in the distance hovering and swooping only meters above the surface. Then I saw a large splash directly below the birds, this time there was no raise from a dolphin after. Bottom bouncing gear was quickly stowed away and the skirts were deployed as we headed over to these two birds. As we trolled over to where the birds were we saw a large tuna leap clear from the water, there was no mistaking this for a dolphin. Bang! two rods went of together with line screaming from the reels, we’re on, Tuna in the middle of January we were all blown away. After a few minutes we had a pair of tuna on the deck, the largest weighing in at 26 kilos. The skirts were quickly deployed again, the fish were still breaking the surface attacking the bait fish so it didn’t take long and we had another two hook ups. The fish were all of a good size ranging from 26 – 20 kilos.

After an hour we had our six fish. Greg and Hooksy, who we had invited out had never seen a tuna before let alone catch one, so needless to say the were absolutely pumped. We caught and released another four fish, all well over 20 kilos, then decided to make our way home celebrating over a couple of beers.

It goes to show that our tuna stocks are getting better and better each year. This year is shaping up to be a real cracker with good size fish in the middle of January and lots of bait fish around to.

Marion Bay is the only place where you can go for a short drive from Adelaide, jump on the boat and be hooked on to a 25 kilo tuna within the hour. If you are interested in coming out with us at Reelaction Charters and maybe catching your first tuna, please have a look at our packages available and make a booking, we would love to see you out there hooked up to one of these speedsters.

See you on the water

How to fish for tuna

Gary with the first tuna for the season

How to fish for tuna

Greg and “Hooksy” catch their first ever tuna

How to fish for tuna

Double hook ups were the norm

How to fish for tuna

Mark took time out from driving to join in on the action

How to fish for tuna

“Reelaction Charters” will put you on the fish

How to fish for tuna

A yellowfin competes with seabirds for fishing bait off the coast of Panama.


When a small fiberglass boat roars to shore in Lourdes late in the afternoon, it feels like a celebration. The boats, the community knows, only race back when they have a good catch in hand.

Barangay Lourdes, a village in the municipality of Tiwi in the Philippines, is a quiet cluster of homes sprawling along the beach and up a green hillside. Every morning during tuna season, the men leave in one- and two-person boats before dawn, returning only when they’ve landed their catch. A big yellowfin tuna is always the top prize.

High demand for yellowfin makes it an important economic lifeline for communities like this one. Unfortunately, yellowfin populations can’t handle much more pressure from fishing.

Hand-line fishing—one line, one hook, one tuna at a time— is now the accepted practice in Lourdes. Just a few years ago, fishers here caught all they could, regardless of size, quality, or quantity. Now they catch fewer, bigger, higher-quality tuna instead; a single export-quality yellowfin sold at market can meet a family’s needs for a month.

Hand-line fishing is one in a suite of sustainable practices WWF-Philippines has helped foster here. Their work has been bolstered by ongoing efforts to strengthen government regulations and make seafood supply chains more transparent. WWF and local fishing federations have also educated fishers on the proper handling of tuna, and on budgeting to make seasonal earnings last all year, making sustainable tuna fishing a win for both wallets and wildlife.

How to fish for tuna

Welcome to the Tuna Fishing Guide Victoria. Tuna is a remarkable fish species with a worldwide reputation for speed, size and power. True blue water m issiles of our local oceans and real bucket list fish species for many anglers. Tuna have remarkable fighting qualities and unparalleled eating qualities. Locally Tuna fishing goes into a frenzy throughout the winter months in Victoria in areas such as Portland and Port Fairy. Tuna has the scientific name of Thunnus maccoyi, there are several different types of Tuna the Bluefin, Yellowfin, & Albacore all of which grow to massive sizes. There is no minimum legal size limit for Tuna but a daily bag limit of 2. Tuna have unparallel speed and power and high-quality spin outfits or game outfits are required to tangle with these mini millies. Catching them using unique methods such as trolling big skirts and hard body lures. All of this has been detailed below for you.



How to catch tuna

Successful techniques to catch tuna involves trolling skirts and large hard body lures. Generally, these are trolled behind the boat at a steady pace between 5-10 knots. Skirts between 6 and 12 inches and hardbody lures such as Rapala X-Rap in sizes ranging from 6 inches to 12 inches have become popular options. Trolling allows you to cover great distances and tools such as outriggers or extended angled rod holders which can help avoid tangles and improve hook up rates. It does take some time to master this technique and there are experts which can come on your boat to help you grow your confidence in handling these waters, navigating and improving your skills to land Tuna regularly.

If land-based fishing for schoolies then large metal lures that can cast a long distance are a great option. Large soft plastics that imitate the baitfish that tuna are feeding are also good options.

General tips for catching Tuna

When trolling keep a keen eye on your sounder for marks as tuna will be easily identifiable. Also, watch your sounder for big bait balls of school fish. Tuna will often be chasing the schools of baitfish which is a great sign that a hook-up isn’t too far away. Also, keep an eye out for a congregation of active birdlife or birds diving into the water which is a sure sign of baitfish in the area. Use your eyes as a tool as Tuna will often break the surface and this can be your best indicator of Tuna in the immediate area.

Plan your trip carefully and in particular watch the weather forecast. Targeting tuna in Victoria will see you in areas such as Portland, Port Fairy and Bass straight which can have dangerous conditions. Avoid windy and rainy days which will bring large swells with them.

Tuna will feed at different depths. Some days there down low and some days there actively taking lures off the surface. Just mix up your options and adjust accordingly on the day that you fishing.

Rod and rig setup for Tuna

Before buying your terminal tackle to target tuna you must really understand whether your targeting small tuna which we know as schoolies or big tuna we which we know as barrels. To give you an idea Tuna locally can range from 20-pound al the way through to 200 pounds so it’s important to ensure you have the right gear. With Tuna fishing you often get what you pay for so do ensure you reels can handle enough line when trolling has adequate drag capacity and stopping power and is quality that can handle the power of a tuna whilst being durable to last.

For Tuna on the smaller size, you can use a high-quality offshore spin reel such as

We have even had days out on the water catching smaller size Tuna with lighter terminal tackle such as a Shimano Saragosa 8000 spooled with 50lb braid attached to a 10-15 kilo rod casting hard body lures at Tuna busting up the surface. It’s truly a fun way of targeting smaller versions of these powerful sports fish.

Then there is Targeting barrels which is amazing and this style of fishing is growing from strength to strength. Battling a big barrel can last for hours and hours. For bigger tuna, we would recommend using a heavy-duty offshore reel such as the below options.

Locations to target tuna

  • Portland
  • Apollo Bay
  • Port Fairy
  • Bass straight

Best times to catch Tuna

Tuna fishing comes into its own during winter specifically May through to July. This is when the water temperature is below 15 degrees and the Tuna are active and feeding. Surrounding areas such as Portland as packed with local anglers trying to land a big one. This usually aligns with local whale watching times.