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GAMEFISH

BLUEFIN TUNA

THUNNUS THYNNUS

bluefin tuna
DESCRIPTION: The stout body is dark blue above, shading to yellowish on the sides and silver below. All fins and finlets are steely blue.

SIZE: From small schooling fish of a few pounds (often called “footballs”) all the way up to giants that average well over 500 pounds and sometimes exceed a half-ton. World record 1,496 pounds

FOOD VALUE: Excellent

GAME QUALITIES: A Giant Bluefin lacks the showiness of Swordfish and Marlin but is rated the toughest of all fish to fight and land. It has strength, stamina and speed in boundless quantity.

TACKLE AND BAITS: Ocean tackle scaled to the expected size of the fish. Only the heaviest sporting outfits with lines testing 80 or 130 pounds are adequate for the giants. A variety of trolling lures, such as feathers, cedar plugs and offshore trolling lures are used for school tuna. Giants will hit the same trolling baits but preferably in larger sizes. Rigged natural baits, such as large Mackerel, are also effective for trolling, either alone or in combination with a feather or other lure. All sizes of Bluefins respond readily to” chunking” and this is standard approach in many areas and seasons. Chunking can be described as the restrained dispensing of large pieces of Butterfish, Herring or other baitfish, rather than ground chum, to attract the Tuna. In this approach, the hooks are usually baited with whole fish of the same type used in chunking.

FISHING SYSTEMS: Trolling; Drifting; Still Fishing

RANGE: Entire Atlantic Coast from South Florida to Newfoundland, but common only from the Carolinas northward; also Bermuda.

HABITAT: From the deep sea to near shore in North America.