How To Catch a Bluefin Tuna

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Rick's tips on catching a Blue fin Tuna

Rick Evans is the first mate on the very successful charter boat Second to None docked at the Morehead City NC waterfront captained by Shane Brafford

I would like to first start with " This is just the way I do things, there are many ways and none of them are wrong". Take what you want, tweak it to what works for you and catch em up.

BFT season is just around the corner; time to look at your gear, 130's, 80's and 50's. It's gunna set you back a bit $ to get them spooled up and ready. DON"T wait till the last minute. Start looking for deals on, line, leader, planers, harpoon and gaffs, and lures. For the guys just getting in to it make sure you have all your safety gear, licenses and are registered where you are going to sell your fish. Last year was a slow year and a lot of folks didn't even cover expenses. We went the first 9 days without a sniff before we started catching. That took a big chunk out of the first fish $.

Rods and reels, we are using 2 130's in the chair and 80's in the corners. The 130's are packed as tight as we can get them with 200lb and the 80's have about 600yds 130 Spectra for capacity with a 200lb top shot. We set the drags at 32 lbs and fight them at 40-45lb. When we get the fish close we will bump it up a bit if needed.

Planers, we use 2, #24 and #32 cleated off. Some folks like to use a planer rod, easy to trip and crank in that is an option. We use it for a bit and had problems breaking off planers. If you set the drag right it will creep out and you will be resetting the planer every 15 minutes. Pain in the butt. We run the 32 on 100 ft 400lb mono and the 32 on 60 ft. They're not hard to trip once you get the hang of it and we didn't loose a planer this way.

Rigging the rod and planer. I rig up about 1/2 dozen release lines. Take about 20" of 130 lb mono and tie a big snap swivel to each end. You want a swivel that is going to be easy to work with when your hands are freezing and the wind is blowing. I run my down lines about 130' behind the planer, let your lines out to where you want them and take 2 #64 rubber bands and wrap them tight around the line so the line doesn't slip. Notice I said WRAP not 1/2 hitch it. I don't like the rubber band stuck on the line when we are fighting the fish to get hung up in a guide. Put one of the swivels through the loops of the bands and clip it and the other to your planer line. Same rig used for Kings just easy to work with a longer line. Let the line down till you see it stop or you are at the depth you want then crank in the slack, this will take some practice to get the feel for it.

Leaders, We use all 30' Wind-on leaders floro-carbon size is your choice. Remember when every one is catching and you are pulling 300lb and not getting a bite it may not be your lures. Be brave.

Lures, we pulled Blue Water candy Island head lures all colors but you may want to have a pink in the spread everyday. Big lures and baits aren't always the ticket, Have caught a lot of BFT on simple old Sea Witches. The standard bait is Horse Ballyhoo, you might want to throw out a Split tail mullet, Spanish Mack or even a squid. Up north they catch a lot on hard baits. Don't be afraid to mix it up.

Next installment we will talk about landing the Giant.


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How To Catch a Bluefin Tuna