In South Florida, blackfin tuna are always a welcome catch. They are rather plentiful, and when you see one come over the rails, there are usually more eager to bite. They fight all the way to the surface, pulling drag and testing an angler's skills. In addition, they taste great and are commonly eaten raw - much like a fresh yellowfin.
Sure, you can definitely freeline a live greenback and get hookups from these feisty fish. But if you either missed the bait guy or want to try something new, jigging blackfin tuna is one of the most exciting experiences you can try offshore!
Blackfin Tuna: A Short Brief
Blackfin tuna are constantly scouting for small fish and squid. They have excellent eyesight to allow them to hunt in deeper water. They often travel in schools and usually feed during dawn and dusk. They have bullet shaped bodies for maximum speed and maneuverability, with large pectoral fins that aid in stabilizing themselves. They are commonly found near deeper wrecks around 250-400ft, but often ascend toward the surface to feed. Blackfin have been observed "busting" the surface along with bonita, corralling small baitfish.
Jigging Gets It Done
Blackfin tuna are often caught free-lining live sardines, pilchards and other small baits. But if you want to test your skills, few methods of fishing are as rewarding and adrenaline pumping as speed or slow jigging these tunas.
We recommend a jig weighing 130-200 grams. Ideally bright colored, flashy, and with glow. Jigs that pencil or knife shaped easily descend through current, and allow the angler to drop more times on the wreck before having to reposition. Jig the rod erratically in an up and down motion, reeling when jigging down. This will cause the jig to dart and flash erratically, generating a "reactionary strike" from the tuna.
Vertical Jigging Gear
Reel: 5000-8000 Class spinning reel view our favorites from 2023 HERE
Rod: Short spinning type with fast or extra fast & heavy action. (Rods of this type will often have "jigging" in the name)
Main Line: 30-50lb 4x braid view our recommendation HERE
Leader: 30lb fluorocarbon
Sangrenel's Jig of Choice: Nami Series
Slow Pitch Jigging
We recommend jigs weighing 200-400 grams for most applications. Since these jigs fall slowly, more weight is required to avoid them getting drifted into current. Since your jig will flutter down, be prepared to hook fish on the drop! Once the jig makes it to the bottom, "flick" the rod upward - which will pitch the jig up. Allow it a few seconds to fall again, and repeat the process. Try this throughout the water column. Tuna tend to hang out over the wreck, so descending to the seafloor is not totally necessary.
Reel: Narrow body conventional, high speed
Rod: Slow pitch specific rod
Main line: 25-35lb 8x braid view our recommendation HERE
Leader: 30lb fluorocarbon
Sangrenel's Jig of Choice: Kawa Series