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Blackfin tuna are starting to appear.
Published April 19, 2007
What's Hot: Blackfin tuna are starting to show themselves in the deeper waters off the coast. Due to the lack of shrimp boats working in our area, it will be more difficult to target these fish. We have been fishing for grouper and snapper in depths of 120 feet or more using a flat line with a live sardine or cigar minnow in the T-top rod holder. These fish usually average 20-30 pounds, so heavier tackle will help to shorten the fight.
Tactics: Tuna, like most pelagic species, will be attracted by chumming. Frozen sardines will work well, but the best chum is fresh horse minnows or smaller threadfin herring. The trick is to have a well full of these live chummers and periodically toss a few over the side while bottom fishing. Tuna rarely travel alone. So when one is caught, you can bet there are more around and live chumming will keep them in the area.
Tackle: We usually use a minimum of 30-pound tackle but upgrade to 50-pound tackle when there are a lot of fish in an area. We have caught wahoo and kingfish using this technique, so it is good to use a wire leader in the 40-pound range and a 5/0 -7/0 hook. Monofilament leader also can be used and usually will produce more bites.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 or at fintasticinc.com.