Tuna are a fast and powerful saltwater fish that are also considered some of the strongest in the ocean. This makes them an instant lure for deep water anglers that simply love a challenge. If you want to be able to hook and reel in one of these powerful fish you are going to need the right gear. Here are some tips that will make it a little easier for you to choose the best gear for tuna fishing.
The most important piece of gear is the rod. If your rod isn’t strong enough to handle the weight of the fish, there is no point dropping your line in the water. There really isn’t anything worse than watching your rod break when there is a massive tuna on the line. To give you an example of how powerful these fish can be tuna caught off the coast of Prince Edward Island weigh an average of 700 pounds, but this can vary from 300 pounds up to 1200 or more. Bluefin tuna which is generally found in the waters around New Jersey and Canada are smaller at 80 to 120 pounds, but these are still immensely powerful fish.
You also need a strong reel, and I recommend a 130 pound one. This can handle most smaller Bluefin without any problems. You also want to use sturdy line that won’t easily snap under pressure. I generally use 200 pound dacron with my reel, and it is even good for trolling. You also want to make sure that the reel is resistant to rust since it will be exposed to salt water for long periods of time.
It is not uncommon for anglers to forget about the leader, but it is an important piece of tuna fishing gear. The leader is what attaches the lure to the line, so you want it to be durable. The leader should also match the weight of the line.
Attaching a lure to a spreader can entice a tuna to take your bait, but this often isn’t necessary. You do want the lures you use to be able to dive down, since tuna are typically found swimming in depths of 60 to 100 feet.
Finally we’ve come to choose the hook and there are two basic types to consider. The best one for you will depend on the type of fishing you are planning on doing. If you are chunking you want the hook to be the same size as your bait. This way the tuna will only see the bait and won’t be wary of the exposed hook. If you’re trawling for tuna the hook can be larger, especially if you are using it with a spreader bar. The spreader bar is the bait since it is designed to look like a school of small feeder fish. Regardless of the type of hook that you choose, just remember that it must be strong enough to withstand a fight with a powerful tuna.