Home Fishing Tips & Advice Why Do Tuna Fishermen Use Balloons?

Why Do Tuna Fishermen Use Balloons?

For many experienced tuna anglers, hooking a balloon to your fishing rig promises benefits such as suspended a heavy rig and providing better visibility of the bait in the waters. Better known as balloon fishing, this method of fishing isn’t new in the fishing community but has since gained popularity in recent years. 

But how did balloon fishing first start and is it really that great for fishing? In this article, we’ll walk you through what exactly is balloon fishing and how it could be beneficial for your next tuna fishing trip out in the waters.

What is Balloon Fishing and Why is it So Popular?

Simply put, balloon fishing is the technique of hooking a balloon to your fishing bait. This makes it easier for anglers to suspend heavier rigs and can be used in a variety of water conditions. Thanks to its popularity in recent days, you may even find innovative rigs such as the Balloon Fisher King that are dedicated to balloon fishing. These rigs make it easier for the balloon to be removed as they reel in the fish, so the angler doesn’t have to hand line their catch.

Another reason why balloon fishing is popular is that it helps increase the visibility of the angler’s bait. This is especially useful whenever you’re fishing in conditions with strong waves and high tide as the bobbing balloon helps the angler keep a keen eye on their baits. In both offshore and inshore conditions, the use of balloon fishing also works in carrying the bait further toward areas that may be hard to reach in the water. 

What are the Downsides to Balloon Fishing?

The biggest concern for anglers who adopt the technique of balloon fishing is the impact of the balloons on the environment. When left unattended, regular balloons may be harmful to the ocean and marine life. Thankfully, most anglers today are opting for more environmentally friendly latex balloons that you can find in regular bait and tackle stores. Unlike regular balloons sold in party supply stores, these specially made balloons for balloon fishing are usually made of all-natural latex.

Balloon fishing may also not be an ideal technique when it isn’t windy out. This is as you’ll need the wind to help carry the balloons further into the water. If the wind isn’t going against the current, you may face some difficulties executing this technique well. Finally, balloon fishing may not be for every angler as some fishermen may find it disruptive to their fishing trip so be sure to speak to the anglers who are around you before throwing your balloon-rigged line out.

How to Use Balloon Fishing for Tuna Fishing

Now that you know why balloon fishing has caught on in popularity, would you like to try to adopt this fishing technique? Here are some simple steps on how to use balloon fishing for your next fishing trip: 

Step 1: Attach a balloon clip or a rubber band to your fishing line. You may choose your desired bait depth when attaching this piece accessory to your fishing line. 

Step 2: Inflate your balloon to an appropriate size. You’ll want to keep in mind several concerns when preparing your balloons such as the weight of your bait and the water conditions of your fishing area. If you’re using heavier baits, you will have to inflate your balloon to a larger size so it can withstand the weight of your rig.  

Step 3: Tie the balloon to the rubber band or attach it to the balloon clip. Be sure to secure the balloon tightly so it does not unravel when it comes in contact with water, but not too tight that it cannot be removed later. 

Step 4: Attach your bait to the line and release the balloon. Allow the balloon to float out as far as possible before it falls into the water. You’ll want to keep the balloon far from your boat if you’re fishing outshore.

Step 5: Once you feel your bait being snagged, reel in as usual. You can reuse the same balloon for your next throw, or if it pops or tears from the fish strikes, swap in a new balloon following the steps above. Using a balloon clip makes this process easier than using a rubber band as you’ll simply need to unhook the balloon after every use. 

While balloon fishing may be useful on many occasions, this technique of fishing may take some time to get used to. If you’re finding it difficult to execute, why not get a tip or two from your angling friends so they can help you out? Before engaging in balloon fishing, it may also be a good idea to speak to the other anglers around the area to avoid snagging on their fishing lines during the process.

What are the Alternatives to Balloon Fishing?

On some occasions, tuna anglers may do away with the balloon fishing technique and replace it with kite fishing instead. Similar to the construct of balloon fishing, kite fishing is prepared by being attached to a bait-rigged drop line. Anglers will then allow the wind to take the kite and the line along the body of the water, making the bait look livelier beneath the surface. As a fish is hooked, the kite visibly drops, making a cue for the anglers to reel the fish in.

Unlike balloon fishing, kite fishing is a friendlier alternative to the environment. It creates the same natural bait representation underwater, reeling in a variety of fishes including tunas and other species in the waters.

Should I Use Balloons when Fishing for Tuna?

So, should you be experimenting with the use of balloons when fishing for tuna? Our verdict is definitely to try the technique out. Although the technique of balloon fishing may take a while to learn, the benefits that this method brings are aplenty especially when you’re fishing in rough waters. To help with the visibility of the balloons in water, you’ll also want to pick out some brightly colored balloons, so you don’t lose sight of it through the waves and tides.