How to- Yellowfin Tuna Fishing the Bahamas
South Florida is not only home to some of the best local offshore fishing around the country, but its also close enough to the Bahamas chain of islands for anglers to venture on over. I recently took my first Bahamas trip to target Yellowfin Tuna in Port Lucaya of Grand Bahama island this past spring. There is a large channel that separates the islands and it becomes an area full of life, from Giant dolphin to the highly praised yellowfin tuna.
"We would pull line off of the reel at the speed of the current"
I will be talking about the approach My buddies and I took to target these large sickle fin beasts. There is no wrong or right way to target the, but chunking in the islands is the preferred way to catch these tuna. We used a radar to mark birds, more notably the smaller seagull looking ones that frigates as these generally held more tuna under them. Once we found a flock of birds we approached slowly and waited to mark tuna on our fish finder and looked for topwater visual cues of their presence as well. If we found a flock that looked lifeless we would move on.
Once we found a flock that looked promising we began to toss out sardine chunks from whole sardines cut into thirds. These chunks would flow back into the current and create a chum slick that in theory should raise the tuna form the depth and have them feeding at your boat! sounds simple right? Well wind, current and other factors are taken into play when considering where to setup your drift and begin chunking! Keep this in mind to ensure success. Once we started chunking we would send out an array of baits, from live pilchards, blue runners and whole dead sardines as well.
Our terminal tackle consisted of 3/0-5/0 2x strong hooks, 60-80lb Bullbuster fluorocarbon leader and stout 30 and 50 stand up style and bent butt rods. We would pull line off the reel at the speed of the current and chunks that were moving with it to make it look natural and trick the tuna into thinking it was another free chunk! When you feel like your line is getting tight, let the tuna slowly run with it and out the reel in gear and crank down on them! Its nice with the circle hooks, as you can place a lot of heat on the fish without risk of pulling hook and to avoid getting sharked as well.
This method produced for us and it landed me my first and biggest yellowfin tuna to date at 60lbs! A lot of people troll surface baits for the yellowfin tuna there as well, but the bigger fish are generally caught chunking style. We have caught the tunas at all times of the day and sometimes even better in the heat fo the day! The optimal times to fish for them are in the late afternoon when they are most active though. The mornings tend to be a little bit slower as birds advent had time to locate the tuna yet.
Goodluck out there!
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