Blue Fin Tuna Season — Your Complete Fishing Guide

Ever seen a bluefin tuna and want to catch it? This is a fish that’s popular all around the world! Because of their size and taste they can be quite expensive too!

Tuna season is coming, and it’s time to get ready before you can feel the thrill of a catch again.

Whether you are new or a veteran angler, catching bluefin tuna can be the most exciting thing you can do out in the ocean.

Understanding the said tuna species and their behaviors can help you enhance your fishing skills. You might get more catches during the blue fin tuna season.

Here are things you need to know when looking to catch a bluefin tuna.

blue fin tuna season
Source: Canva Pro

Where to Catch Bluefin Tuna 

You can catch bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean, the Black Sea in Europe, and the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. Like any other tuna, this species is a highly migratory fish.

In November, the bluefin tuna fishing season begins and can last as late as May. Bluefin reaches the ocean in the first season (May or July), and from November to December, you can see tuna at depths of more than 100 feet. 

 As for Southern California, the typical tuna fishing season is from July to September. It is the most requested seafood, especially in Japan and Europe, where you can buy it for a high price.

Knowing the location where these tuna spawns protects the future generation of this species. It will help recovery and ensure the catch for the coming years.

Knowing their migration patterns will help you understand when and where you will go for bluefin tuna fishing.

How to Identify Tuna

When identifying tuna, you should know that the first dorsal fin has 12-14 spines, and the second dorsal fin has 13-15 rays? The anal fin has 11-15 beams, and it has the highest gill raker count of any species of Thunn.

Also, its anal fin and the finlets are dusky yellows edged with black. The lateral keel is black in adults.

By understanding what this specific kind of tuna eats, you can know the best lure and jigging techniques that you can use to lure them. Bluefin tuna feeds on sardines, flying fish, and mackerel.

Although they are opportunistic feeders, they can adapt to a comprehensive food range that is available.

bluefin tuna fishing
Bluefin tuna at the Japanese tuna auction. Source: Nate Gray

6 Types of Tuna

1. Northern Bluefin Tuna

There are two main populations of this tuna spawns on the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. The peak season of spawning in the Gulf is from April and May. 

While in the Mediterranean, the spawning season is from June to July.

2. Southern Bluefin Tuna

This type of tuna spawns in the Southeast Indian Ocean between Indonesia and Malaysia. They travel to feed on the Great Australian Bight.

3. Pacific Bluefin Tuna

It spawns in the Northwest Pacific Ocean islands, between Japan and the Philippines. They travel across the Pacific and feed and grow in Southern California.

 4. North Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

The biggest in the family of tuna; was recorded from Nova Scotia in Canada. Quite popular in England too.

5. Yellowfin Tuna

The yellowfin tuna is a fast and strong predator, also an important fishery everywhere it lives. Like many open-ocean bony fishes, yellowfin tuna starts as tiny larvae. 

These larvae are no more than a few millimeters long and weigh only a few hundredths of a gram. Within two years, yellowfin tuna reach the length of three feet and is sexually mature.

6. Bigeye Tuna

This tuna is similar to the size of yellowfin tuna but smaller to bluefin. Bigeye can live as long as fifteen years. You can find it in the tropical and subtropical areas of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans.

Sportfishing Boats: For Finding, Hooking, and Fishing Tuna

Bluefin tuna fishing can be exciting to do. You need to know the difference and prepare before you head to the water and catch. Anglers should get the right boat for the job.

If you’re going to be spending days on board, it should include the necessary resources you need. 

A good boat will also give a safe landing wherever you choose to park it.

There is enough variety in makes and models to be able to find what you’re looking for. Also, a vessel or a boat is built for different areas.

For example, boats built for gulf fishing might have different attributes than those built for deep-sea fishing. 

Ensure that the boat has appropriate outriggers to provide stability, especially because there is a lot of windage in the tower.

Best Fishing Rods, Reels, Line Qualities, and Lures for Tuna Fishing Season

3 Best Fishing Rods for Bluefin Tuna Fishing

1. EatMyTackle Tuna Terminator Jigging Rod

This is your best bet for a great tuna fishing rod. It has a split handle to make anyone comfortable to jig. It can break down to half its size (over six and a half long) for easy carry.

2. PENN Squall Level Wind (Reel and Rod Fishing Combo)

Another excellent fishing rod for people who come for the tuna fishing season. It is recommended for other game fish too. It is susceptible and lightweight and can fish big or small game fish.

3. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Tiger Casting Rod

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Tiger Casting Rod , 7'
  • Versatile live bait fishing rod designed for big water game...
  • Ugly Tech construction to create a strong, yet sensitive rod
  • Lightweight EVA grips provide comfort during lengthy fishing...

It is a versatile fishing rod whose main purpose is to use live bait. It has the best construction, with a durable build using the strongest and best materials for a sensitive but strong rod.

 2 Best Fishing Reels for Tuna Fishing

1. Penn International 50-Wide VISX 2 Speed Reel

  • Machined and anodized aluminum body and side plates
  • Stainless steel main and pinion gears
  • Quick-shift II 2-speed System

If you’re looking for the perfect reel for bigger fish, this reel is the most recommended. It can hold 815 yards of 200-pound braid, with a maximum drag of 60 lbs.

If you are fishing bigger, like the North Atlantic Tuna, they also made 130 lbs. Reel.

2. Penn International VIS 2 Speed Reel

PENN International VIS 2 Speed Reel
  • Machined and anodized aluminum body and side plates
  • Stainless steel main and pinion gears
  • Quick shift II 2 speed System

There are quantities that you can choose depending on the type of tuna you’re going to catch. Their 130-wide model can carry over 3,000 yards of 200 pounds of braids.  

3 Must-Have Fishing Line Qualities For Tuna Fishing

1. Braided Line

A braided line enables you to carry more lines than usual and keeps your line from getting tangled on bigger fish.

2. Monofilament

Most commonly used because of the stretch it provides. This line won’t break easily.

In case you’re wondering, here’s how to tie a braided fishing line to a monofilament.

3. Fluorocarbon Leader

The invisibility of this kind of leader will help you get more fish.

5 Best Tuna Fishing Lures

1. Flying Fish Lure

Fake flying fish represent the principal diet of the said fish species. 

2. Small Chugger Lure

Creates a commotion as it spits and leaves smoke trails on the top. Color patterns resemble a baitfish, helping fishers in fishing to catch fish they wanted.

3. Green Machine Lure

It is one of the best fish lures you can use, popular during the tuna fishing season.

4. Metal Jet Head Lure

Like the Green Machine Lure, it is rigged plain and inexpensive, commonly used to catch tuna.

5. Cedar Plugs Lure

An effective lure most commonly used by commercial anglers. The natural cedar soaked in menhaden oil adds to the scent and is used for fishing, sustaining the commercial need for fish.

What’s the Catch?

Although it can sound quite difficult, you can still catch a nice bluefin! Use this guide according to the tuna season of the place of your choice.

Having the best equipment and knowledge about the seasons will always give you a higher chance of getting your bluefin tuna.

The Anglers Behind This Article:

Johanes Godoy
Fishing Editor

Aubrey Cayanan

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler

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Johanes Godoy
Fishing Editor
Johanes is a talented Editor for Cast & Spear. She's helped edit and write hundreds of articles on fishing and the outdoors. When she's not editing, she's exploring the world and documenting it on her own blog.
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