Sunny Fishing Charters

SKIPJACK TUNA

Peak Season: May-August
Best Charter: Full Day Offshore
Best Technique: Trolling
Best Bait: Feathers
Table Fare: Decent if bled

HOW TO CATCH SKIPJACK TUNA

Skipjack tuna roam the vast expanse of the open Gulf Stream in expansive schools, relentlessly pursuing their next meal. Spotting working birds is key, as they often indicate predator interaction and the presence of skipjack feeding frenzies. Frequently mingling with blackfin tuna, skipjack rarely exceed 20 pounds in weight, but their ferocity and speed make them one of the toughest fighters in their weight class. Upon striking a bait, skipjack tuna unleash blistering runs, making for exhilarating battles, and multiple hookups are not uncommon.

BEST LURES FOR SKIPJACK TUNA

Trolling proves to be the most effective method for targeting skipjack tuna. Pink feathers and swimming ballyhoo are particularly effective baits. Given skipjack’s skittish nature, deploying baits further back behind the boat is crucial. It’s equally important to avoid startling the school; circling around them and allowing baits to cross through the middle of the action, away from the boat, yields better results. As skipjack can be leader-shy, opting for 60-80lb monofilament is advisable to prevent potential break-offs, although lighter leaders can also attract other fish.

SKIPJACK VS BONITO

It’s important to distinguish skipjack from bonito (false albacore). Skipjack, unlike bonito, display horizontal lines in the belly region, while bonito lack such markings and are characterized by “swirlbacks.” While skipjack are considered decent table fare, especially when bled immediately upon capture, bonito are typically better suited for use as bait. Being able to identify these species accurately ensures that skipjack can be enjoyed as a delightful culinary treat, particularly in dishes like poke or when served raw, when prepared correctly. Keep an eye out for large, swiftly moving flocks of birds, as they often signal the presence of skipjack tuna hunting baitfish.

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