Sailfish and Tuna Fishing

Sailfish and tuna fishing is a dream. Every spring when the water warms up from winter and then again as the water cools down in the fall from the summer temperatures we get a migration of several fish caught by trolling. Our waters our shallow so we don’t get as many sailfish as they do on the east coast but there are still fish here. The tuna we catch are black fins, weighing in the 20-40 pound range. The sailfish are catch and release, the tuna, we keep and fillet for our customers. Both fish are great fights when caught on light tackle.

We catch the sailfish and tuna by trolling which means the boat never stops moving as we pull artificial baits at various speeds and depths. Also available during these times of the year are kingfish and mackerel, both good fights and great eating. Colors of the bait vary but blue and white or red and white combinations seem to work best for me.

Occasionally we use outriggers which lay out to the side of the boat and allow us to spread our lines far apart from each other and gives us the opportunity to use more rods. I use high visibility line so that the line is easy to see for the customer and the crew, reducing the number of tangles. We use 30 pound mono-filament as our main line with a Bimini twist knot to the 40 or 50 pound fluorocarbon leader which is about 15 feet long. The bait is tied on with wire to the leader in most cases to prevent the teeth of some fish from cutting off the bait. Tuna and sailfish generally bite the baits that are just below or right on top of the surface and resemble the live fish they are hunting for. The sailfish are generally by themselves on this coast while the tuna may be in schools of several fish.

The tuna is far more aggressive going after the bait and may come from some distance to hit the bait while the sailfish often times has to be hit in the head with the bait. It can take time to locate both fish but there is still plenty of action with other fish being caught during the search. We have two fighting chairs on the deck and the crew will help you with instruction if needed during the fight with these fish. Sailfish can and do still appear in our waters through out the summer but in smaller numbers. You will find March to May and October to December to give you the best chance to catch tuna and sailfish.

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