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Have you always relished fishing monster bigeye tuna? Do you want to learn how to catch bigeye tuna? Bigeye tuna is one of the most sought-after gamefish. They move in “wolf packs”, can be nowhere in sight, and then in a split second, they explode with a lot of power. Bigeye tuna can seriously hurt you even if you do everything right as they are so large and powerful.
In this article, we discuss tips, tricks, and techniques on how to catch bigeye tuna. Additionally, we discuss the baits and lures that are effective when fishing for bigeye, and the fishing tackle to succeed with the monster of a fish.
Table of Contents
How To Catch Bigeye Tuna
Trolling is one of the widely used fishing methods used by anglers when fishing for bigeye. Most anglers troll a mixed spread in the canyons and along the edge of the shelf. Additionally, they also troll along the 100-fathom line where most of the bigeye tunas are caught.
Trolling at night proves more productive when fishing for bigeye tuna than during the day. They come up in the water column at night looking for prey while during the day they move deeper down in the water column. Squid, mullet, sardines ballyhoo, and small mackerels are some of the baits that are used when fishing for bigeye tuna. Lures are also used when trolling to catch bigeye tuna.
2. Drift Fishing
Drift fishing is another fishing method that anglers use to fish for bigeye tuna. Most anglers do research to find the areas where bigeye may be located, mark those waypoints on their plotters and drift those areas. They will drop baits at different depths, usually three different depths to create their chunk slick. This is done to attract the bigeye to their slick and lead them onto the anglers in the boat.
Anglers will create this slick for all of the areas they identified and marked. So if there isn’t any activity in their slick in one area, they move to another of the areas identified and create another chunk slick.
3. Night Fishing
Night fishing for bigeye tuna is more productive than fishing during the day.The reason is simple: bigeye tuna come closer to the surface at night to prey on baitfish, squid, and other prey. This makes them more active at night and makes it a great time to fish for bigeye tuna.
For night fishing of bigeye tuna to be very productive, you have to plan well. Identify possible areas of interest that you and your crew want to target for bigeye.
Additionally, safety must be at the forefront of everything you do when fishing for bigeye at night. There will be other vessels fishing and you want to always be mindful of your position and theirs.
4. Butterfly Jigging
When bigeye tuna are deep in the water column, butterfly jigging is one fishing method that anglers use to target bigeye. The jigs that are used are called butterfly jigs because of the flutter-like zigzag motion they produced under the water. The jig moves with this pattern because of the way the edges of the lures are cut.
This movement of the butterfly jig gets the attention of the bigeye tuna and entices them to strike. The Shimano Butterfly jig is one of the butterfly jigs that are very effective when fishing for bigeye tuna.
Bigeye Tuna Fishing Tackle
Bigeye tuna grows to be a very large and powerful fish; therefore, a heavy-action rod will work well when fishing for bigeye. A reel that matches the heavy-action rod will work well for bigeye fishing. Additionally, a 50- to 80-pound main line, a 200-pound top shot, a leader, and 11/0 hooks will work.
Best Baits For Bigeye Tuna
Squid is one of the best bait used by anglers when fishing for bigeye tuna.
2. Small Mackerels
Mackerels are also effective bait used when fishing for bigeye tuna.
Sardines work well as bait for bigeye tuna.
Mullet is an effective bait when fishing for bigeye tuna.
Best Lures For Bigeye Tuna
Jigs work well as lures when fishing for bigeye tuna.
2. Trolling Lures
Trolling lures work to attract and catch bigeye tuna. There are many trolling lures that anglers use to create their spreads and attract bigeye tuna.
Bigeye Tuna Fishing Tips
- The best time to catch bigeye tuna is at dawn or dusk.
2. When it is a full moon, bigeyes will eat all night. When learning how to catch bigeye tuna, this is good to know.
3. While looking for bigeye tuna, if you spot pilot whales in the water, that is a good sign that bigeye tuna is around. The baitfish for bigeye tuna is usually underneath the whales and the bigeye is also there.
4. Warm waters, above 70 degrees, are important for bigeye tuna bites.
5. You can catch bigeyes all day long when it is foggy.
6. Canyons, cliffs, and points are good areas to look for bigeyes.
7. The best time of the year to catch bigeyes is late spring through early fall.
8. Bigeye tuna spend most of their day at depths greater than 250 feet, often going as deep as 1,500 to 1,600 feet looking for food.
9. Bigeye tuna often hunt structures where baitfish can be found, including seamounts, canyon walls, and high flyers.
10. Fish for bigeye tuna in low light conditions. Most are caught just before dark or at first light.
11. Always log your catches of bigeye as time and time again, you will find bigeye tuna in the exact spots you hit some of them a year or two earlier.
12. Be on the lookout for porpoises, birds, and fish-oil slicks. There is a high chance that you will hit bigeye tuna not far from feeding porpoises and other birds.
13. A general rule of thumb for spreads is that the spread should be tighter to the boat than the standard daytime-trolling pattern.
14. Speed should be 6 to 8 knots so the lures are swimming in a way that entices the bigeye tuna.
15. Short and stocky lures in the 8- to 10-inch range are good for fishing bigeye tuna.
16. Dark color lures are more pronounced in dim conditions.
17. The Braid Bigeye Rocket, with the skirt trimmed, and placed at the back or off a corner rod can be very productive when fishing for bigeye tuna.
18. Bigeye tuna spawn throughout the year, summer is the month that they spawn the most.
19. Bigeye tuna can spawn two or more times a year.
The Bottom Line
Bigeye tuna is a favorite gamefish for anglers who really like the dangerous game of battling with monstrous and very powerful fish. They are explosive and powerful and if you are not well prepared, can get seriously injured. Bigeye tuna can be found in the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans.
In this article we discussed how to catch bigeye tuna, the fishing methods anglers use to catch bigeye, the fishing tackle, baits, and lures, as well as fishing tips to successfully accomplish your dream of catching this monster of a fish. You can also read how to catch yellowfin tuna, how to catch blackfin tuna, how to catch Albacore tuna, and how to catch bonito.