5 facts about the tuna fishing season you need to know

If you’re an offshore angler who loves an adrenaline rush, you may be counting down the days until the tuna fishing season begins. Few species of saltwater can offer the same challenge and thrill as these mighty pelagic fish. Whether you want to catch bluefin tuna off the New England coast or yellowfin tuna on vacation in Hawaii, one thing is for sure. Tuna fishing is not for the faint of heart.

Before boarding a sport fishing boat for a bluefin tuna or yellow fin tuna excursion, you need to know these five facts about the tuna fishing season.

  1. Bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna are highly migratory species that are regulated at the federal level by the National Sea Fisheries Service. This means that federal regulations apply in state waters. If you want to learn how to fish tuna, you need to know the federal regulations that apply to these species.
  2. There are two species of bluefin tuna in the United States: Atlantic bluefin tuna and Pacific bluefin tuna.
  3. The Atlantic bluefin tuna season runs along the eastern North American coast between June and November, while Pacific bluefin tuna is typically caught off the California coast between May and October.
  4. Yellowfin tuna is primarily caught in the summer or early fall months off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, southern California, and Hawaii.
  5. Fishing between dusk and dawn is best when your target is tuna. Without the daylight, it’s easier to add the weight of your device without a tuna’s keen eyes becoming aware of the situation. Heavier equipment can greatly improve your chances of landing one of these intensely fighting fish. Use a conventional 50- to 80-pound reel (use the larger reel for bluefin tuna) and a 6 to 7-foot rod for trolling.

Before your first tuna fishing trip of the year, make sure you have done your homework for the tuna season. Check out regulatory updates, buy your saltwater fishing license online, and don’t forget to bring heavy offshore tuna fishing tackle.

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