by on July 9, 2017
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There is very good tuna fishing to be had with long range boat fishing in San Diego and you can expect to travel anywhere from 40 miles up to 1600 miles to reach the best fishing locations. A three day to seven day tuna fishing jaunt is common. On some of these trips it is possible to land tuna of between 150 and 200 pounds in weight.
This report on long range tuna fishing in San Diego CA will provide you with useful tips and advice on the best methods to catch tuna of all different sizes, the best times of year for specific fish, the tackle required and the best types of bait and lures.
Best Times Of The Year For Long Range Tuna Fishing
Fishing for Tuna in San Diego usually starts in June where you will be able to fish for albacore tuna as well as bluefin tuna. When the water is warmer you will be able to fish for the famous yellowfin tuna. The methods, bait and tackle required to fish for all of these tuna species is usually the same.
In early summer there will be schools of albacore appearing as they follow bait fish and the moderately warm waters. You can usually have good success with albacore fishing around 40 to 70 miles from the coast. The methods used to locate albacore tuna range from finding solar marks to trolling feathers or jigs and by observing birds and other sea life. If you want to find yellowfin tuna then following porpoise is a good tip.
October and November are good months if you are looking for a good variety of tuna. The larger tuna will start appearing from around December time through to May. There are no guarantees of course and year on year there can be differences. If you are after the large “cow” tuna then the middle of November through till March should be best.
Best Techniques For Long Range Tuna Fishing
You need to be prepared when fishing for tuna. There can be long periods of time when everything is relaxed and nothing much happening, and then suddenly everything changes and the tuna start to bite. When you are on the boat you will find that trolling for fish starts off the day. If a fish hits one of the troll rods then the crew will alert you to this. The boat will slow down, and chum bait will be thrown into the water to entice more fish to approach.
The aim here will be to get the bait as far away from the boat as possible. The live bait will swim off and will be susceptible to the extremely fast tuna. Keep your chum bait out there as the tuna will move back and forth while they are feeding on it. Once you get a bite let your line peel off to the count of three, keeping your thumb on the spool so that backlash is avoided. Then put the reel into action and once your tuna has been hooked you will need to keep the tension constant.
Tuna will fight you all of the way and the yellowfin and bluefin species are the toughest of all. If you feel your line slack then don’t think that the tuna has got away, as they will often turn and head in your direction so you need to reel as fast as possible to prevent losing the fish. Tuna can often end up underneath your boat and in this case be prepared for a slow and hard battle. First slowly lift and then wide down and you may experience drag which will release more line but don’t give up. You will gain line eventually and the continuous pressure should wear the fish down.
When you first sight the tuna it is vital that you maintain constant pressure. When the fish gets closer to the boat you will need the assistance of a crew member to help you land the tuna. Make sure that you are always in front of the tuna and guide it by pulling it away from any areas of concern such as the underside of the boat or the prop.
The next step is the gaffing where the crew member will land the tuna. Be sure to look for a good connection between the gaff and the fish. At this stage you will need to be in “free spool” and keep your finger on it to stop your rod from loading up. If there is a problem with the gaff and the fish lands back in the water you will have another chance of landing. Once landed, remove the hook from the mouth of the tuna (or if it has been swallowed just cut off the line).
Best Tackle For Yellowfin Tuna Fishing
When long range tuna fishing in San Diego the most sought after fish is normally the yellowfin. Yellowfin tuna come in several different sizes and it is best to obtain the right tackle for the size of fish that you will be targeting. Light tuna in the 10 to 15 pound range can be caught using light tackle in the 15 pound range.
If you are going after the larger fish you will need heavier gear and braided line in the 100 pound range. Always take a lot of braided line with you on the trip. For big tuna fishing you will need a quality reel and the Accurate Platinum ATD 50 is a good choice here. The Shimano Trinadad 16 reel is also an option and it is available in different sizes. For rods the Calstar range are good for tuna fishing.
The use of circle hooks is recommended for tuna fishing. All tuna will grab the bait and then run, so using circle hooks will enable you to easily point your rod toward the fish as the hook will slide into the corner of the mouth. This will avoid the tuna’s teeth chafing against your leader which could lead you to lose the fight with the fish because it will break off eventually. Circle hooks are very hard for tuna to throw once they are latched on.
Bait And Lures
You can catch yellowfin tuna (and other tuna species) with either bait or lures. Tuna will often feed near to the surface so you can use topwater techniques to good effect. Using a fluorocarbon leader to reduce visibility often works well as tuna have very good eyesight. Abrasion resistance will also be reduced with fluorocarbon.
All sorts of tuna will respond to chum as bait. Live bait will often produce the best results but chunks of cut chum can work well also. It will assist in keeping the tuna around your boat. If you are fishing for the smaller tuna then you can use sardines or anchovies as bait. For bigger fish try Pacific Mackerel. For the top end 2 to 5 pound live Skipjack Tuna is a good choice.
When you are trolling for tuna try using tuna feathers, plastic skirting trolling lures, rapala type plugs and cedar plugs. Blue, white or green colors will perform well. If you spot a school of tuna feeding then you can cast lures into the school. Using poppers can be a fun way to catch tuna. A highly recommended popper is the Yo-Zuri Sashimi Bull. You can skitter it fast or pop more slowly. If the fish are in deeper water then you can get good results by using metal jigs colored blue or metallic.
Bait and tackle are available at sportfishing stores in the San Diego area and some of the best stores are:
Dana Landing Market
Point Lorma Sportfishing
Angler’s Arsenal
Charkbait
Angler’s Choice
Crystal Pier Bait And Tackle
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