Tuna on light tackle -tips

A

Amberjack

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2010
Messages
153
Location
Depoe Bay/ Mesa AZ
I know this is late in the season, but here are some tips for catching tuna on light tackle. This is geared for a charter boat and will work on a sport boat.

Most charters will have spinning reels set up with swim baits for casting for tuna. If you decide to bring your own that is fine. Either a good baitcaster (Avet, Penn, or Shimano) will work, or a good spinning reel. Set the reel up with 30lb test (I prefer Izorline). Do not bring braid on a charter boat for tuna, you will not be able to fish it. A good 7' rod for casting that is rated 20-40lb. Do not bring a butter knife to a shootout IE a trout or bass setup. This past year I did catch several on a bass rod, it is work but can be done. The drawback is that you will still be fighting the fish while the rest of the passengers are starting to get irritated while you take 45 minutes to land the fish.

I bring at least two to three setups for light tackle. Two are set up with iron jigs, and one is a bait setup.

P-Line jigs in white or blue/chrome have worked the best for me. I usually change out the hooks for Gamakstu or Owner. (It amazes me that a treble hook will get caught on all kinds of crap, yet a tuna will come unbuttoned from one)

For the bait setup I use a 1/0 Owner circle hook with a splitshot or rubber core sinker, 1/4 oz works fine.

For Iron:
When a troll jig strike occurs "Hook-Up" is yelled and the boat slows, I grab my rod and move to the starboard side and start casting to the front of the boat at the "1 o clock" position
as the boat is still moving, leaving the rod in freespool. Sometimes the jig will get hit on the "fall", be ready. When my line is at the 4-5 o clock position I put the rod in gear and start working the jig back. Using long pulls and reeling the slack I will get hit and the fight is on. Remember on a charter no overhand casts and only from the side or bow. The same will work with swimbaits. Also if the Captain announces "jumpers" be prepared to throw into the boils.

For Bait:

If the crew brings onboard a box of dead anchovies, the bait rod will come into play. After a troll strike a crew member should throw out a handful of chovies. The boat will come to a stop. Pin a chovie through the lower lip and through the nose. Drop your line overboard leaving it in freespool. Remember to have the wind in your face. Sometimes you can acutally see the tuna hit your bait. If the spool starts singing (Spinning rapidly) count to 3 and slam her into gear. Hold on as the tuna will run, let it. Make sure your drag is set tight but not too tight to bust it off. You may have to move around the boat, going over or under other anglers, keep your line in front of you.


Do not horse the fish in as you are fishing only 30lb test. Remember to pull up and wind down, do not high stick it or you will bust the rod. About eye level works good, short pumps work well.

After catching several on the light tackle, you might just want to take yourself out of the troll rotation.;). I am sure I have left out a few things.
 
Last edited:
B

BobbiDollPDX

1
Joined
Feb 2, 2010
Messages
644
Location
Milwaukie, Oregon
You may have to move around the boat, going over or under other anglers, keep your line in front of you.

Move around the boat? Hahahah! I seem to remember you actually doing a full lap around the Enterprise when we fished together.

Great tips, I can't wait for next year!
 
A

Amberjack

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2010
Messages
153
Location
Depoe Bay/ Mesa AZ
I am surprised you caught that. That happened twice this past year. First time I did a full 3/4 trip around. Had passengers, complain because I was "pushy". Imagine that me? pushy? never !!!!!
 
F

firewalker

New member
Joined
Dec 19, 2010
Messages
9
do you use a spin outfit or baitcasting when pitching iron?
 
S

stanster

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
51
Location
Florence OR
I'm new to this forum and actually new to Oregon as well - I'm a Southern Californian [hold the boos please :)] who is retiring to Oregon come April. Albacore is by far my favorite species to catch and eat as well although I am looking forward to learning some Oregon style fishing for trout, steelhead and salmon. I'm no hot stick or expert, but I have caught a fair amount of long fins and amberjack is giving good advice. Naturally, there is a slight difference between SOCal and Oregon methodology - same fish but different conditions. I generally take along a quiver of various sticks, all with Penn or Shimano bait casting reels. The big one I use for trolling only and the rest range from a 15 lb test rig up to 40 [which is seldom used for albacore]. The work horse is a Shimano star drag reel on a 6' Shimano rod rigged with 20 lb test. If the fish run a bit larger, I will use a 25lb or 30lb rig. If they seem to be finicky, I will drop down to a 15. His advice on the bait fishing is spot on.

For trolling in SoCal, I prefer Zuker lures, with the "Zuchini" pattern to be a certified albacore killer in waters near San Diego. It will be interesting to see if the tried and true Zukers work as well in Oregon.

If you haven't tried albacore fishing, you're just missing out. These fish are amazingly strong and FAST, they will hit a bait like a rocket and ZOOM they are running. You will have a great and exciting fight landing the albacore and if its a good day, your arms will be worn out from the "tuna pump." Coming home with a bag full of these gastronomical delights puts a nice cap on a good days fishing. My wife makes home made sushi and ther eis NOTHING better for tyhat than fresh caught tuna, of almost any species.

The original post was excellent advice from someone who knows what he is doing. I've never had much luck throwing iron at the albacore, but that is probably jus tme and my reluctance to try something too different when the bait tanks are full.

Stanster
 
A

Amberjack

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2010
Messages
153
Location
Depoe Bay/ Mesa AZ
Stanster

Thank you.. I love fishing San Diego. Zukers work well. Unfortunatly we do not have access to live bait, but we do have an alternative. We have had excellant luck with iron, and swim baits. You are more than welcome to bring and use your own tackle on board. Also we do not have galleys on our boats, so you are more than welcome to being an ice chest and food on board. It took me awhile to adjust to fishing here, but it works well.
 
S

stanster

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
51
Location
Florence OR
Stanster

Thank you.. I love fishing San Diego. Zukers work well. Unfortunatly we do not have access to live bait, but we do have an alternative. We have had excellant luck with iron, and swim baits. You are more than welcome to bring and use your own tackle on board. Also we do not have galleys on our boats, so you are more than welcome to being an ice chest and food on board. It took me awhile to adjust to fishing here, but it works well.

Good God Almighty!!! No Breakfast Burritos????????????????? No live bait??????????????? Tuna fishing will be an adjustment to this old f**t, but I will do it. Obviously, I'll just pack an ice chest with some supplies and bring a thermos of coffee. No live bait WILL be an adjustment because the live bait is quite literally the KEY to SO CAL tuna fishing. I've not invested much on tuna lures aside from the de rigoure Zukers. I'll probably need some advice on what works. Do you sell lures at your facility or is there a GOOD tackle shop nearby? I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I have developed the habit of actually LISTENING to people who know something.

Specifically, have you tried any Zukers on the troll in Oregon and, if so, how did they perform? On the San Diego boats, they are by far the most popular and most succesful trolling lures from what I have seen, for both albacore and yellow fin.

I'll give you a call later this year, if you don't mind, to hopefully pick your brain about a tuna trip this summer. I won't make a pest of myself. Since you just bought this business, you are going to be mighty busy getting ready for the season. I will be occupied winding down my career here and getting moved to Florence. My boss talked me into staying on until late March or early April and I will just say "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" to any requests to extend. I've worked hard all my life and I am ready to stop and enjoy life a little. I'm old enough to retire and young enough to enjoy it, so I'm going to.

I'm really enjoying all of the posts about tuna fishing along the Oregon coast and am learning much through literary osmosis.

Oh, one final point. Amberjack touched on this in his original post, but I STRONGLY reccomend using circle hooks, preferably Owners for your tuna fishing. They can really make a difference.

Stanster
 
A

Amberjack

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2010
Messages
153
Location
Depoe Bay/ Mesa AZ
Yes Breakfast burritos arrh. But we do have a microwave. No need to bring coffee we supply it on board. NO need to buy tackle yet. Let me know when you will be on board and I will insure I will be onboard to help you out. I wish we had access to live bait, but no one in Newport offers it ..yet. We have had several stellar days without it.
 
S

stanster

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
51
Location
Florence OR
This will work. I GOTTA have coffee in the a.m., be it fresh on board or in my thermos, so we're good to go. Funny, I am just so darned old and set in my ways, it never even occured to me that live bait would be unavailable. After thinking about it a while, it makes sense that there is just probably not the same demand for live bait in Oregon that there is in the SO Cal marinas.

I appreciate the offer of help more than you know. You have to be as busy as a one legged man in a butt kicking contest right now. I can sure use some wise counsel as to what specific types of iron or swim baits are working before I buy than and any other advice on local techniques and methods. While I certainly plan on taking up fly fishing when I retire in Oregon, salt water is my first love and I am really looking forward to fishing for tuna, halibut, rock fish and just about any other species your business targets.

If you see an old gray haired guy with glasses and a confused look carrying a bunch of Seeker All American series rods with Penn and Shimano reels, that is likely me, especially if he is eating a breakfast burrito.
 
A

Amberjack

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2010
Messages
153
Location
Depoe Bay/ Mesa AZ
Stanster

You will fit in well.. LOL.. We have fresh coffee in our office when you check in.. and it's free
 
Top Bottom