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How to fish for Bluefin Tuna

When fishing for Bluefin Tuna the earlier the better. Bluefin Tuna can feed very early and is not always dependent on the change of tide. There may not be another bite all day until that last hour of light and into dark. Many times slack tide is the best time with the bait rising in the water column. But to cover your bases be their early.
Make sure you are well-equipped with spreader bars in all sizes and colors, Tuna Trains in all colors, teaser birds, multi-size ballyhoo with teaser rigs as well as lures. If you are trolling for giant tuna, start with 13" squid spreader bars and go to smaller squid rigs if there is no action.
Start the day putting out a generous five rod spread including 9" and 11" squid rigs. The 9" inside and 50 feet back with the 11" a 100 feet back in the spread. Many boats run seven rods or more to create greater interest. Include Tuna Train green machine rigs with a bird teaser as the last offering in the spread down the center. Put ballyhoo bait rigged on a Bluefin Tuna Rig in the wash. Whatever size, color or type of rig catches first, immediately switch three of the five rods to match. If you see halfbeaks, then emphasize ballyhoo. If sand eels are prevalent, green machines always work. And keep a keen eye on the size of squid when cleaning fish. That determines the squid size in the spreader bars.
Regardless of how you set up your spread you should have at least 20' of separation between any lure, unless you are running a swimming bait under or near a spreader bar. Run the green machine rig at least 50 yards back. If seas are rough, shorten it to 40 yards. On calm days lengthen to 60 yards or more.
Troll in the trough on rough days. Your rigs and baits won't jerk, fly out of the water, and look unnatural to the tuna. The motion is not as comfortable but you're there to catch fish.
5 to 5-1/2 knots can bring the most bites on small to medium Bluefin Tuna. 3 to 4 knots is best for giant Bluefin. Change speeds up and down based on conditions but these are good averages.
Tuna swim with whales, dolphin and basking sharks. If they are not right in with the whales they probably aren't too far away. So if you see these then take it as a sign.
If you know there are tuna in the area and you can't get a bite, keep changing until it happens. Change rigs, size, color, spacing, speed, direction, but above all, don't quit. It could be your offering, wrong time of day, wrong conditions or all of the above.


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