Tuna trips are awesome and can be quite addicting. For tuna we troll feathers and plugs, and at times, slow troll live mackerel for bluefin. Since fast troll is about 7 miles an hour, when we get a bite it’s usually instant adrenaline, especially as more rods start to go off with more fish because we just trolled through a school of tuna or bonito.
Bluefin – The Bluefin in Monterey Bay can range from 40 pounds all the way to 250+ pounds. Currently (August 6, 2020) the fish tend to be in the 150# range. Because of the size of these fish much sturdier rods and reels are required, if you ever want to see your fish that is. We use Avet 30W and Shimano 30W two speed reels spooled with 100# test on United Composite and Calstar rods. Even though we supply the trolling gear, if you have some gear you’d like to get wet by all means bring it! You’re going to want to make sure you have 100# test so you go home with a fish and not a story. Top off your braid with about 20+ yards of #100 or #130 fluorocarbon. Alan Tani, our local gear guru, states “friends don’t let friends fish with 80#”. You also want to make sure you have a two-speed reel. My friend Mark Smith of Charkbait told me that their school of Bluefin are moving up to our area and the bigger fish (300#) were a week or more behind the 150# fish. We will be trolling live mackerel, and high speed troll Rapala Magnums, cedar plugs, Zukers, and Konas. Getting the chills yet?
Albacore and Bonito – The gear we use is on the heavier side using Penn Senator 4/0 reels and stiffer Okuma Cedros rods. When we first hookup we continue to troll for a few minutes while the other rods continue to hookup with fish. Once it seems were getting away from the school we circle back and start tossing out anchovies and whatever else we have to keep the fish interested and continue hooking up and gaffing fish. It gets busy, real busy. It gets messy, real messy. It’s chaos at its finest.
Highly recommend boots and waterproof slicks/bibs. There’s probably going to be a lot of blood and it won’t wash out of clothing.