By DAVE MISTRETTA
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 6, 2001
Blackfin tuna are active in the gulf. The best spots have been about 40 miles from shore, but some tuna have ventured within 20 miles of shore.
My favorite method for catching tuna is to fish near commercial shrimp boats. These boats dump dead fish throughout the evening while trawling. The discarded fish become a giant chum slick. The shrimpers anchor and sleep during the day, and morning is prime time to attack the tuna, already in a feeding frenzy. Once a shrimp boat has been spotted, drive to the stern and throw out free-lined baits.
Any fish will work, but my favorite is a Spanish sardine. A stout rod rigged with 50-pound line will get the job done. These fish are brawlers, and many anglers have handed the rod off halfway through the fight.
-- Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 595-3276, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.