5 Tactics for tuna fishing NJ

Tuna is a species that’s been commercially fished for years but now it’s becoming a popular sport fish for many anglers who set out to try their hand at reeling in the Yellowfin, Albacore and Bluefin. Each one of these species has their own unique qualities that appeal to different types of anglers. Fishing for tuna is a sport that’s

for the angler with a lot of patience seeking an exciting adventure.

Tuna can grow to some astonishing sizes and they will make you work for your catch. The smaller sizes will be a challenge because they’ll put up a strong fight so you can imagine how difficult a large tuna would be to catch. Before you begin your fishing trip you must be prepared. Make sure all of your equipment is in good working order and that you have everything you need onboard.

Your boat must be large enough to handle all the weight of the equipment, thecrew and the expected tuna plus it needs to be durable enough to withstand the harsh environment of the ocean. You’ll need to go about ten miles offshore to find tuna. The best time to go out is during the summer because they’ll be closer to the surface feeding at this time. They will be the most active during the early morning and late evening.

Tuna Fishing Tactics
When fishing for tuna, there are many tactics that can be used to help make your fishing trip a success. You’ll need a few good methods to start off with until you learn which ones work the best for your individual situation.
When choosing a tactic consider when you’re going fishing, where you’re fishing and the season in which you’re fishing.

5 tactics for tuna fishing in NJ:
1. Trolling- It can take a little time getting things ready for trolling but the effort is greatly rewarded when you start getting bites. You’ll need to set the outriggers, bait the hooks and set them at different depths. Then, you’re ready to start trolling through the water at five to nine mph until you get a bite.
2. Chumming- Chumming will help you draw the tuna to you instead of having to go out and look for them. You do need to have patience because sometimes it can take awhile or several tries before the tuna show up but eventually, they’ll be there. Place the bait in different areas of the desired strike zone and then cast your line out right in the middle of the chum.
3. Look for the Signs- Tuna will often cause a lot of disturbance on the top of the water when feeding so they’re easy to spot. Many times, there will be seabirds hovering over top of the water and tuna will be swimming in the water underneath. The tuna will often swim near or underneath dolphins as well so this is another sign to look for.
4. Fish in the Afternoon- Plan your fishing trip so you’ll be in the location where you want to fish as lateafternoon approaches. This is a great time to start fishing for tuna when they’re not surface feeding.
5. Drift Fishing- When you know there are tuna in the area, drift fishing is an excellent choice. Throw a little chum around the area to draw them close and then use cut bait to catch them. If you decide to use live bait then place the hook sideways under the dorsal fin or through the breastbone for the best results.

If you decide to use lures your best options are plugs, skirted lures and large spoons. You’ll need to have a gaff onboard to help pull your catch onto the boat. You may be able to handle a small turn alone but not a large one.

When You Get a Hit

When you get a hit, you won’t have to worry too much about setting the hook. The tuna usually hits it so hard that they normally hook themselves. You’ll know you have one hooked when the line starts flying off the reel so fast it startles you.

When the tuna starts swimming towards the boat the line will go slack. It’s important that you reel in the line and get it tight again as soon as possible. It makes it easy for the fish to get away when the line is slack.

When you do have a tuna hooked, be ready for a battle. It could take several hours to reel him in depending on how large it is. Sometimes the angler gives out before the tuna does and he ends up swimming off. Other times the line snaps or the hook comes loose and he gets away. However, the times you do get your catch to the boat will be very rewarding and satisfying.

The tactics above can help make your fishing trip more productive when tuna fishing in NJ. This is the type of fishing trip that makes for great story telling because it’s exciting, challenging and relaxing all at the same time.

Daniel Eggertsen
Dan Eggertsen is a fellow saltwater fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on saltwater fishing since 2004.

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