Author: The Tree Guy
How To Catch Bluefin Tuna As A Recreational Angler
Below we cover a few questions anglers who are looking to get into fishing for Bluefins may ask. We start by listing the questions and then give you an in depth answer to each one.
FAQs For Targeting Bluefin Tuna:
* Scroll Down To Get In Depth Answers
1) What is your "go to" spinning jig outfit (rod/reel/line) and what do you think makes a good"budget conscious" outfit for someone looking to break into the game?
2) What is your "go to" popping outfit (rod/reel/line) and what do you think makes a good "budget conscious" outfit for someone looking to break into the game?
3) What is your favorite mainline to leader connection for jigging and why?
4) What is your favorite mainline to leader connection for popping and why?
5) What are the top three topwater baits in your bag?
6) What are the top three jigs in your bag?
Alright Lets Get Started With The Bluefin Tuna FAQ:
- 1) What is your "go to" spinning jig outfit (rod/reel/line) and what do you think makes a good"budget conscious" outfit for someone looking to break into the game?
- 2) What is your "go to" popping outfit (rod/reel/line) and what do you think makes a good "budget conscious" outfit for someone looking to break into the game?
When chasing bluefin tuna on topwater you need to be very responsive and you must be able to reach the fish. Bluefin tuna are some of the fastest moving fish in the ocean and when the fish are on top feeding they display their speed quite often. Once a captain decides that is how he is going to target the tuna that day you will be casting all day so this is something you must remember when buying a set up. I personally love the Crafty One Customs gold edition popping rod. This rod is the perfect length to throw heavy lures all day long but it is also very light and mangable to work with throughout the day. The rod can also handle every sized fish that you are put up against and it can withstand the daily abuse.
The reel of choice if I was new to the game would be a Shimano saragosa 18000. I went with the 18k because it is lighter and smaller than the 20000. This makes it easier to cast all day long and it makes it more manageable to hold throughout the day. When fish are on top the boat is usually already on so if you do hook a big fish it is not hard to react and keep line on the reel. On my top water set up I prefer 80lb Bullbuster hollow-core. With the hollow-core you might not hold as much line but the strength of your line is much better because it is “double” plus it also does not need to be taken off after one fish.
- 3) What is your favorite mainline to leader connection for jigging and why?
Jig fishing puts a lot of strain on your knots when you are jigging because it is a constant “jerk” on the lure which can test the longevity of your knot prior to even hooking up. I have one knot I trust my life with when connecting braid to leader material and that is the FG knot. This knot can be tied at highspeeds and on the go and once you dial the knot in you will never tie a different knot again. The knot is also low profile so it will cut through the water nicely so that the jig is not affected by unnecessary weight. When jigging I tend to tie a 10-15’ leader simply because it does not effect the cast or jig. This is another reason I prefer the FG because in the end game it goes through the guides very smooth ensuring no extra strain on the fish in crucial moments.
Learn More About The FG KNOT HERE:
Click Here To Learn More About The FG KNOT
4) What is your favorite mainline to leader connection for popping and why?
Casting a knot in and out of the guides all day can ruin a lot of things. First it can ruin your guides if you have a big ol knot coming in and out of the guides all day long, second it can cut or fray your mainline resulting in the loss of a fish. The last and the worse one is it could ruin your cast by the knot becoming stuck in the guides. The knot I prefer to use for this is also the FG knot. If I am tieing it at home I will sometimes add some glue to ensure the knot flys through the guides without any hesitation. The reason I use this knot is because it is a short and low profile knot which does not reduce your casting distance at all. It took me many years to dial in a system where my knot was strong yet compact and this is the way I have discovered and more importantly trust.
- 5) What are the top three topwater baits in your bag?
Every angler stresses about what they are throwing in front of the fish, is it the correct size or color. When Bluefin tuna feed, they do not care if your lure is pink, yellow, or blue they're going to eat it if it is presented correctly. This being said every captain has his selection of go to lures. My top three casting lures have been proven over years of catching. My number one go to lure is a 10” ronz (silver,white, or green). My next two lures are both custom made lures that have proven their worth in my tackle bag trip after trip. The Strategic Angler Espada floating is my go to when the fish are feeding on halfbeaks. This lure is the perfect profile and swims just like the tunas favorite topwater baitfish. The other lure is also made by Merv and it is the Nautilus. This lure is perfect for when the tuna turn onto smaller baits and are really dialed into the smaller profiled lures. I will put my money on all three of these in different sinearios during different times of the year simply because I have seen them work. Once you see a lure work you gain confidence and continue to throw it.
# 1 10" RONZ
Once you hook one bluefin on the jig your life will be changed forever. If you're entering the tuna game and do not see yourself spending $1200 on a single reel there is a perfect market of reels still available for you. Normally when jigging you encounter bigger tuna because most of the time that is where the much larger fish cruse and takes “easy pickin” of food and just mow the bottom eating Cod, Haddock, Herring, Mackerel, and whatever else they can get ahold of. With bigger fish comes heavier gear as you would imagine. If I was joining the game I would tend to spend less money on my reel and focus on the rod because you can carry that rod over if you do decide to buy the more expensive reel.
Start Off With This Spinning Reel
I would start off with a Saragosa 20000 made by Shimano. This reel has the drag and components to land a big fish and you will also be able to enjoy smaller ones. You just need to maintain the reel after every trip and monitor the reels performance.
Graduate To This Spinning Reel
Once you catch your first tuna I'm sorry to say this but you're going to be addicted. So to scratch your itch next I would buy the Shimano Stella 20000. I prefer the 20000 for jigging simply because it is a bigger reel and holds more line than the 18000. The rod I would match either of these reels with is a Crafty One Customs AMF 550. This rod has plenty of lifting power and it is around 5-6’ which is perfect for working a jig with all day. The 20000 hold plenty of line so I like to use 100lb Bullbuster Hollow Core Braid. This not only ensures the line will withstand the fight but as you move on you will learn ways of splicing long leaders on that some prefer for jigging.
(Check Out Our Article Reviews Of The Best Offshore Spinning Reels)
- # 2 Strategic Angler Espada (Floating)
- # 3 Nautilus Series
- 6) What are the top three jigs in your bag?
When jig fishing for Tuna I am usually more concerned with the weight of the jig rather then the color. When the tuna are feeding spread out I usually drop the 10” ronz down to my desired depth and just forget about it until it goes off. When the fish are in shallow water (100-200’) all over the water column I like the point jude 7oz jig. This is a lighter jig so you can work it all day long but it has enough weight to hold a depth for a period of time. Point Jude also makes a 9oz jig which is the last jig I wanna fish but when the fish are deep you have no choice. It is a heavy jig but it can fish waters up to 450’ deep with ease. I have caught many fish on all three of the jigs but my most performing overall is by far the 10” Ronz.
#1 Jig For Bluefin Tuna = 10 inch Ronz Lure
#2 Jig For Bluefin Tuna = 7 oz Point Jude
# 3 Jig For Bluefin Tuna = 9 oz Point Jude
If anyone wants to see the entire article with responses from a few other Captains please feel free to email me Kyleoneppo@aol.com. Thank you I hope it helps those who are looking for a new set up!
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