When people think about tripletail, they don’t usually think about run-and-gun fishing. This is a mistake. Truth be told, running and gunning is an excellent way to target this species – when applied in the right place, at the right time.
Effective run-and-gun tripletail fishing requires two key elements: lots and lots of floating structure stretched out over long distances, in territory where tripletail are commonly present at the time of year you’re fishing. Tripletail love hovering next to flotsam, which can include anything from a patch of weeds to a Clorox bottle. If a line of trap floats suddenly springs to mind, you’re thinking down the right path. In many areas, mile after mile of floats can actually be tripletail-holding structure.
The best way to take advantage of float lines is to position yourself so you can run down the line from just 10 or 20 yards away, with the sun at your back (so you can best see down into the water). Get up on plane and plan to run a line for as long a distance as possible, at 18 or 20 mph. Tripletail don’t really school so even when good numbers are around you may only see one fish for every several dozen floats. So you need to cover a lot of territory.
As you run, simply look for a dark shape just under the float. Are you worried you’ll spook the fish when you go zooming past? You will; some won’t move, others will dart away from the float but quickly return, and some will leave entirely. But the idea here isn’t to start gunning when you see the fish. Instead, hit the MOB button on your chartplotter as you blow past and keep right on going. After covering miles of floats (often they’re set in parallel patterns, so you can run one line in one direction then another in the opposite direction) plenty of time will have passed since you started, and the spooked fish will have calmed back down. Now, you can run from waypoint to waypoint, stopping the boat well in advance of the spots you sighted fish, to make a stealthy approach.