09-10-2009, 04:52 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Junction City
Re: Would like some hints on how to search (hunt) for Tuna
I am a salty pup myself, but here goes
For me the "Hunt" starts the night before. Final checks of terrafin, noaa, stormsurf, tides, etc. I only joined the Salty Dogs 3-months ago, but I have learned a bunch from forums just like this one. I always check the Salty Dogs right before I go to bed before a trip; two trips ago I changed from Newport to Charleston based on last-minute intelligence, and caught 17 jumpers. Here's what I look for "On the hunt".
- Everything else being equal (which I realize often isn't the case) I like to get off-shore; head more west than northwest or southwest, particularly if range/distance is an issue
- I like an area with lots of other good spots nearby, in case my first thoughts don't pan out
- I like spots that start more in the middle of good water, with even better small temp/color breaks nearby, rather than starting on the edge of green/cool water and hoping the tuna will be right on the other side
- I like to map out a set of way points the night before on my GPS, that follow the center of interesting color/temp breaks.
- If I'm not getting any "love" I will pick up everything and move a few miles away, using my pre-set points, rather than hope to troll my way out of dead water.
- Every time I see or catch fish, I mark the location. This provides several waypoints with good conditions that I can circle back to later that day. This also helps me post an accurate Salty Dog Lat/Lon report that night, to help out other Salty Dogs who may be heading out early the next morning (You need to stay up plenty late, or check in the morning before you head out, to catch my "day-of" reports It's often around midnight by the time I clean tuna, wash boat, and trailer it all back to Springfield and make my post)
- This time of year the fish are surface feeding a lot. My last 3 trips I haven't actually started fishing until I saw jumpers or bird activity, despite the fact that the warmer/bluer water started several miles closer in
- It was pretty hard to spot jumpers yesterday (9/9, wind, swells, & chop), but if you could spot even a few birds circling a ways out there, we would usually find tuna. On Hank's beautiful 24' North River "Silver Bullet", I spent most of my day standing on the highest vantage looking for birds. This tactic paid off very well for us
- One tip that has worked for me this year goes against some conventional tuna wisdom "don't leave tuna to find tuna". Where we first started catching fish, there were other boats in the area, the fish were a bit skittish, and too often the jumpers were closer to another boat. We went back to our terrafin charts (printed and on board), headed towards our next pre-defined target, and found a bunch of tuna with no other boat pressure. I have done this a couple of times this year, and it has worked well for me. Find your own fish, it is more fun and (for me) has been very productive
- If you want to see specifically what we were looking at on Terrafin for our 9/9 adventure, the center of our search pattern was around 45.02/125.03. Excellent temp, good color breaks, lots of other very good water nearby. We started catching jumpers short of this location, caught several more past this location, and saw a bunch of jumpers while cruising in late that afternoon with a pretty nice load of tuna.