Home Fishing Tips & Advice How Long Does Tuna Fishing Season Last?

How Long Does Tuna Fishing Season Last?

Offshore Anglers thrive on the adrenaline rush that the sport of tuna fishing season provides. The power that this type of saltwater species gives supersedes any in the water. You should expect this not to be just your usual, ordinary fishing trip. It takes massive skill whether you go for the Bluefin option or choose to take a yellowfin tuna trip. 

Tricks Of The Trade From Those In The Know

Before you launch a boat, it’s important to get a handle on some facts, particularly the often asked question pertaining to how long does tuna fishing season last. You’ll also want to learn a few tricks of the trade from those who know. This type of fishing is not merely something that you just go out on a boat with a pole and dive into. It’s much more complicated and has more stringent rules and regulations. Follow these facts:

• You must learn the federal standards as they apply to tuna fishing because The National Marine Fisheries Service regulates these migratory species on that level regardless of where you are traveling. 

• The United States fishermen look for two Bluefin tuna species, including the Pacific and the Atlantic, with the Atlantic running along Eastern North America’s seaboard from approximately June until November the Pacific from May through October off of California’s coast.

• Southern California, Louisiana, Texas, and Hawaii are the prime spots for yellowfin tuna in the summer and early fall.

• Most seasoned fishers are aware of the best time to venture out is dusk to dawn, particularly with this type of fish. For this species, which are intelligent and sharp in vision, the darkness is ideal for increasing the tackle weight without the fish catching on. The tuna are fighters, and the tackle weight allows a higher chance of reeling one in. The suggestion is to use a conventional reel up to 80 lb. (ca. 36 kg) class for Bluefin with a weighty rod of up to 7′ when trolling.

This sport is not for the light-hearted. You will be putting in a hard day when you engage in this type of fishing. The claims are, using rod and reel off the coast in Nova Scotia, the most massive Bluefin was captured in 1979, weighing in at 1,496 lbs. 

These creatures have the capacity to take as much fishing line as 200 yards (0.18 km) in attempts at getting away with swim speeds as high as 40 mph (ca. 64 km/h) and minimally at three mph with the fisher’s goal to slow their escape.

The ABC’s Of Tuna Fishing

The tuna is among the hardest fighters in the world and most prized for its meat. You can locate tuna virtually anywhere. These are among the only warm-blooded species allowing for tropical or temperate waters ranging in latitudes from approximately 40 degrees north or south to the equator. 

They have the ability to retain body temperature in a range of ocean atmospheres, including cooler environments, whether it be near Iceland or closer to the Gulf of Mexico. The absolute best time to catch a tune despite their widespread availability is when they’re hunting. These are carnivores searching for other sea life to eat, and when they’re on the prowl, they’re not really thinking about you.

The demand for the sumptuous meat is so high that some species have come to be endangered, including the Atlantic Bluefin based on overfishing. A range of tuna from the larger species reaches in the hundreds of pounds, including the Pacific, Atlantic, Southern Bluefin down to the smallest Bullet, and Little Tunny, which can get up to 40 lbs. 

The Bigeye: The rare tuna is also the most sought after and exceptionally powerful, generally moving in groups. These can weigh up to 400 lbs. and live nearly 12 years. Often they remain in the deepest water for the majority of the time at approximately 250′ below or more.

The fish are predictable. Fishers tend to capture these in the same spots each time they go with the best opportunities at night right before dark as well as before the first light. Trolling deems the best technique in the Atlantic, Indian, or Pacific waters.

The Bluefin: The claim is that this guy is the most desired of the tuna family. When Bluefin indulges in a feeding frenzy on their choice of sea herring, they tend not to pay attention to what’s happening around them, allowing boats to come in close to them without their swimming off. It’s possible to get a line in with none being the wiser.

These can be an unpredictable fish making it necessary to have a variety of techniques for catching them. They are especially partial to fat, large bait. When they are full from feeding, they will generally rise to the surface for running. Some believe this is a method for assisting in their digestive process. They feed heartily in the morning and do their running in the afternoon offshore. 

When they are feeding close to the top and trolling conditions are right, the recommendations for these tuna are to employ gear including squid spreaders, Joe Shute black/purple, blue/white landers with ballyhoo rigged on them, cedar plus, tuna birds, daisy chains. It would be best if you used a speed of up to 8.5 knots to attract them.

The Yellowfin: The ‘torpedo-shaped’ fish has a streak of yellow beginning at its eye and following to its tail weighing as much as 100 lbs. at its highest except for the Pacific species, which can grow up to 400 lbs. These are not as unpredictable as their Bluefin cousin, but they do claim to put up a vicious fight in many cases taking full advantage of their size. This is why anglers employ a method of baiting at various depths as they troll with a shallow one to start.

The suggestion is to use hooks ‘No. 10 or No.9,’ but these would need to be more significant for the Bluefin species. For this fish, the artificial lure can also be useful. Squid lures, plugs, and large spoons will also attract this species. Fish in this type generally travel in packs above the thermocline with no migration predictability and no specifics as far as food preferences. 

Ballyhoo and squid using skirts or not are a good standby. The recommendation is to seek out birds because that is where the baitfish are, making for an excellent chance to find the tuna as well.

Trolling deems to be the most common technique for fishing for tuna. The method you use will depend on the species you’re hoping to catch and the baitfish you see in the area where you’re located. You have to be detail-oriented in this sport if you want to be successful, paying close attention to the smallest of details. It’s important to also educate yourself on what these are so you’re able to watch for them.

Tuna are genuinely open to a variety of different bait and lures, which can be exceptionally beneficial for a fisher. Still, it can make for an overwhelming selection, plus you need to have a wide variety available to you being quick on your feet when things need to be changed up. The one real takeaway in learning about tuna fishing – you’ll never be bored.

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Growing up on the south shore of Long Island, Chum Charlie has always had a passion for fishing. His favorite fish to catch is a striped bass and his favorite bait to use is bunker. Off the water, he enjoys blogging and sharing his favorite fishing tips & tricks that he has learned over the years.