Fishing for tuna is a favorite pastime of mine. Back in the day, my buddy Mark and I used to chase tuna regularly in my 18ft Centre Console. When I was eighteen, I caught a giant blackfin tuna on 12lb test. I immediately bled and gutted it to ensure great eating. When we returned to the dock, we weighed the fish and it was an even 40lbs. At the time, the existing record for blackfin tuna was 39lbs 9oz. We were devastated because fish are not eligible for world records once they have been cut. I will never forget my record breaking tuna fish - but at least it tasted extremely good!
What makes Tuna fishing in Fort Lauderdale so exhilarating?
These fish hunt at underwater speeds nearing 40mph; having aerodynamic bodies that are designed for catching small fish at speed. They take our bait so quickly and powerfully that we can actually hear when a tuna has bitten one of them. They are formidable adversaries, eager to bite and are spoiling for an intense fight. They have thriving populations so there are many of them to catch.
What do Tuna look like?
It varies between species but generally tuna have dark backs, light yellow fin tips and yellow sides. They have sharp spines and oval bodies that are football-shaped.
How big are Tuna?
Most of the tuna we catch in Fort Lauderdale range in size from 10lbs to 40lbs. Yellowfin tuna are much bigger and can be caught weighing as much as 400lbs. They are harder to find and more prized than their blackfin cousins; but they are well worth searching for if you are looking for big tuna.
Where do you find Tuna in Fort Lauderdale?
We primarily catch blackfin and skipjack tuna in Fort Lauderdale and they are found at various depths of the Atlantic Ocean. They range from the reefs to wide open waters. Yellowfin tuna tend to be found slightly farther offshore but do come closer at certain times of the year.
What baits are used for Tuna?
Tuna are predominantly caught on live baits but we also catch them with lures and dead baits. Ballyhoo is my personal favorite but mackerel, anchovies, pilchards, squid and sardines work well too.
What tackle is used to catch Tuna?
We mainly use medium light tackle. The idea is that we want to feel these fish because they are incredibly powerful fighters. Anything heavier detracts from the sporting experience. We use 20lb-30lbs test and it is more than sufficient.
What methods are used to catch Tuna?
We usually troll live baits for tuna; either from a kite or on the flat or deep line. The kite is the best technique for catching large numbers of tuna, but slow trolling live baits will target the giants. It depends on whether we are looking to catch a trophy fish or if we are trying to catch many of them.
What are the regulations for Tuna fishing in Fort Lauderdale?
There are no size or number limitations on tuna. You can catch as many as you can put in your freezer.
Do you have a favorite recipe for Tuna?
These are probably the tastiest fish in existence. Everybody loves tuna and they are a popular sushi fish. I enjoy them slightly seared:
Sesame Seared Tuna
- 4 Tuna Loins
- 4 Tablespoons White Sesame Seeds
- 4 Tablespoons Black Sesame Seeds
- 1 Teaspoon Canola Oil
- Mix sesame seeds.
- Roll tuna loins in the mixed sesame seeds.
- Heat a skillet on very high heat with just enough canola oil to keep it from sticking to the pan.
- Drop a loin into the hot skillet and sear each side for about 30 seconds.
- Remove from skillet and immediately put into the fridge to prevent further cooking from residual heat.
- Slice thinly and serve with ponzu or soy and wasabi.