How To:

DIY Tuna Tubes

Author: Bullbuster Team

Make Your Own Tuna Tubes For Big Game Fishing

Make Your Own Tuna Tube


Ever wanted to fish big baits like bonitas or spanish mackerel for big tuna, wahoo, swordfish or marlin?  You may have already realized its nearly impossible to keep baits like this alive in just about any baitwell. Its hard for big baits, and its even harder for bonita, because their body is designed to constantly be swimming and gobbling up air. 

 Tuna tubes, originally developed in Hawaii, have become popular all over the Pacific, whether its Panama or Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, many big game boats are outfitted with tuna tubes.  They are available for sale, but they aren't cheap considering what they are. 

 We put together a few resources on how to make tuna tubes yourself at a fraction of what they are selling for. This is part of our goal to help you spend more time fishing

The Idea Behind Tuna Tubes:


Tuna tubes keep pelagics like tuna alive for bait, by pumping water straight through their gills.  Tunas are very athletic fish that need to keep moving to get oxygen flowing through their blood (You've probably felt that vibrating anytime you have held a tuna).  That vibrating is their muscles continuously propelling them forward to push water through their gills to get oxygen in their blood.  

A tuna tube simulates a tuna constantly swimming forward and is the only way to keep them fresh other than installing an absolutely enormous circular live well with an insanely strong pump system. 

Tuna Tubes

This photo via shows a pair of Kodiak Tuna Tubes that retail for about $650.00

How To Make A Tuna Tube Yourself

Basic materials:

  • PVC
  • Vinyl Tubing
  • Tubing Clamps
  • PVC Cutters
  • Bildge Pump
  • PVC Tape
  • PVC Cement

Below is a great video posted by "PeteInBodalla" on putting together  a tuna tube.  This tuna tube is being made in Australia probably for big black marlin using Yellowfin tuna as bait.  For most of the United States, you really don't need something that big. The video is a great guide to show you how to put it together, but you can do the same thing, just at a different scale.  For most places in the United States, using a PVC with a 4 inch diameter will get the job done. 

**Warning** This video is 45 minutes long so you may want to skip through it to get your material list together and then come back to it when you have everything in place. 

Below we included a video posted by "Hi-Tech" plastics on how to mount a ready made system.   This should give you an idea of the set up you will need to get your DIY Tuna Tubes up and running. 

How To Rig Big Baits:

Great video below put together by the IGFA on how to bridle a bonita.  If you want more information on bridling baits.  Check out our article ( Best Videos To Learn How To Bridle A Live Bait)

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