Blue Versus Yellow

March 1, 2001

Whether chunking or trolling, many people fish for bluefin and yellowfin tuna the same way. But understanding the differences between these two types of fish can lead to a higher catch rate.

  • It’s only a rule of thumb, but generally speaking, fish close to the deep-water edges for yellowfin and over inshore lumps for bluefin.
  • If you’re after a large number of tuna, chunking (in season) is your best shot. But if you want to catch fewer, bigger fish, troll artificial lures. For bluefin, try a Hawaiian Eye rigged with natural bait. For yellowfin, a Sea Witch over ballyhoo is the lure of choice.
  • When many boats in an area are chunking, trying to troll may be a waste of time. The tuna have plenty of easy meals to eat, so why should they chase active baits? Either switch to chunking or move to another area before setting out trolling lines.
  • Bluefin are heavier for their size and, accordingly, hit differently. If you feel a longer, harder runoff, you’re fighting a bluefin.
  • As water temperatures rise during the summer, expect fewer bluefin and more yellowfin.
  • For line-shy tuna, fluorocarbon is a must-have when chunking, especially late in the year.

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