Running far out offshore for tunas takes a lot of time, effort, and money – so getting skunked is a major defeat. But sometimes, the usual tuna tactics simply don’t seem to work. If you find yourself dozens of miles from shore trolling for hours on end with nothing to show for all your efforts, try these nontraditional tuna tactics. Sometimes, they’re exactly what it takes to turn a slow day into red-hot action.
- Fly a Kite – Kites bring a whole new aspect to your presentation. A live bait dangling vertically into the water or trolling a rigged bait skipping on the surface far off to the side of the boat can only be accomplished by using a kite. True, flying a kite while trolling takes extra gear, a good amount of attention (you’ll have to dedicate a member of the crew to focus solely on the kite and the line running from it), and in some cases restricts your ability to maneuver the boat. They are not going to be used every day nor when fishing for every species. But the trouble associated with their use is more then worth the effort when the bites are few and far between, because the unique presentation they offer sometimes proves effective when nothing else will work.
- Drag a Planer – On days when tuna refuse to rise to the surface to feed, a planer line can be the ticket to success. Run the planer off a stern cleat, on 100 feet or so of 300 pound test. Once it’s deployed, set a bait or lure 50 or 60 feet behind the boat. Then bend a rubber band around the fishing line, and then attach it to the eye on a snap swivel. The snap swivel is clipped onto the planer line. As you let out additional fishing line, the swivel slides down the planer line to the planer, placing the bait at whatever depth the planer is set. If and when a tuna smacks it, the rubber band breaks and you can fight the fish unencumbered.
- Get Jiggy With It – Few anglers jig the rods that are trolling rigged ballyhoo or plastic squid, but the extra action does make a difference. Yes, it’ll be tiring, and no, there are no guarantees. But jigged lines will get hit more often – give it a shot, and you’ll find out for yourself.