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Tips for Catching Blackfin Tuna in the Fall

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Are you an angler looking for a fall challenge? If so, you may want to consider testing your mettle against a blackfin tuna. Blackfin tuna are warm water loving, aggressive, hit-and-run fish that'll work your arm muscles beyond exhaustion. Based on my experience, they can reach weights in excess of 20 pounds. Seasoned anglers also know that one of the best times to catch them in Florida is late October. That's because the blackfin tuna tend to school and have ravenous appetites at that time. They also taste great when served up with a honey ginger sauce. With that said, here's some of what you'll need to know in order to catch one:

Where to Look

If you want to catch a blackfin tuna, I'd suggest that you search the Florida coastline for areas where the water temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. I should also mention that the fish are thought to spawn offshore when water temperatures are between 74 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

In my experience, two great places to look for blackfin tuna are around offshore humps and offshore oil rigs. I have also found that some of the best times to fish for them are in the evening hours. Fishing during the hours around dusk and dawn oftentimes proves to be productive as well.

Bait and Tackle Suggestions

When fishing for blackfin tuna, I have found that it's best to use live bait. Chumming helps too. Superlative bait options include pilchards, cigar minnows, shrimp, squid and crabs. White or pink bucktail jigs are worthy of consideration too. Diminutive, chartreuse colored jigs dropped vertically near oil rigs in the evening hours are likely to prove successful as well. Just make sure that you put some pep into your presentation. Otherwise, you're likely to hook something else.

When it comes to tackle and techniques, rod-and-reel, trolling, purse seines, longlines and handlines often prove to be the most productive. If you want to do a bit of vertical jigging, I'd suggest that you consider using a fast cranking, high-capacity reel paired with a heavy rod, braided line, speed jig and a fluorocarbon leader. Some anglers may find the use of fighting butts and split grips helpful as well.

Killeen Gonzalez enjoys fishing with her family. She has also traveled extensively.

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