Here's the fish that dreams are made of. Bluefin tuna grow quickly. Very quickly. And they get big. They'll push 1,000 pounds!!! We've seen 1,200 pound fish landed. We call them "giants" for a reason. Technically, when they get to be 73" long they're considered giants. That's about a 220+ pound fish. Not too bad! The smaller ones are called "footballs" for their shape. They really are shaped like a football. They're an amazing fish. There are times when you see them breaking, jumping clear out of the water, landing just like someone had thrown a spiral with a football! (well, without the spinning part--just the zipping back into the water part.) They are that hydro-dynamic.
Trolling is by far the most popular way to go tuna fishing. It's a type of big game fishing that a complete novice can do. The captain and mate set up the whole spread and we let the customers handle the rest. When the footballs are in, it's one of the best ways to spend a day. Slowly trolling, watching the waters and sky for signs of birds, splashes, whales, tuna...It's very relaxing and very exciting at the same time. Once a fish hits, line is peeled off of the reel at an amazing speed. We 'pre-choose' who will fight the first, so that there is no confusion when chaos ensues. That person is given the rod and a harness is strapped onto the reel. You never know how big the fish is going to be! Most of the football tuna that we saw in 2006 were around 40-43 inches long and about 40-50 pounds. In 2007, most of the fish we caught were between 46-50 inches and 70-90 pounds. In 2008, those fish were well over 100 pounds! A quick jump from 43 inches to 53 inches and you've doubled the weight of the fish!! And you now have a very strong, fast fish. Another 10 inches to 63 inches and you have a 160 pound fish. Another 10 inches and you're up over 220 pounds! Get the drift?
For experienced anglers, one of the most amazing fishing experiences that you could have would be fishing for bluefin tuna with spinning gear. I mean, these fish are big, fast, and strong. Imagine catching a 100 pound bluefish! That's what a 50 pound tuna feels like. It only gets crazier from there. The way that we like to do it is by Run+Gun Tuna Fishing This really makes you feel alive. We scan the horizon for breaking fish and motor the boat in front of the school, where we lead the school with large poppers, swimbaits, or metal jigs. Our most successful lure has been what I call Tuna Candy , which I make myself and sell. The hit is something that you'll never forget. Many times, the tuna will jump right out of the water with the lure in its mouth!! And the battle! Get ready to chase the fish. With 300-400 yards of line evaporating at 25 mph, we have to chase the fish in many instances. This fishing starts in early July and runs until late November! Talk about a season!
Live-baiting for school bluefin tuna is also an option. In fact, it's so relaxing that it's quickly raising to a higher level of enjoyment. While drifting with live bait for the tuna, you can still cast spinning rods or jig for the tuna! In 2009, this may be the ticket to great action on the smaller giant tuna that should be on Stellwagen Bank, Peaked Hill Bar, and Cape Cod Bay.
Before the school-bluefin tuna arrive, it is time to start fishing for the giants--that is, fish that are usually 500-700 pounds. They'll start making appearences in late June and into July. When the big schools of bluefish start massing on Stellwagen Bank and beyond, you can be sure that the tuna are right behind them. We can fish for them by trolling lures, trolling bluefish/mackerel spreads, by live-lining bluefish, or by chunking. It's a way to shoot for a fish of a lifetime. We can target these fish and we love doing so--just remember that this type of fishing is a lot of 'hurry-up-and-wait'. Of course, there is a great payout if a fish is landed, both spiritually and possibly even financially. You've just conquered one of the greatest gamefish on the planet! Because of federal rules concerning giant tuna, the boat must possess and sell the fish. If a giant tuna is caught, 1/3 of the proceeds are remitted to the customer.