Ask any successful veteran captain how to get multiple hookups rather than just single bites and you will hear a resounding answer; make a turn. The idea is to keep the boat in motion and keep your other lines working while you hook and fight your first fish. If you’re a hardcore white marlin or sailfish angler this concept probably isn’t foreign but it may surprise you that it works when chasing tuna too. Here’s how!
1) When you get your first bite the captain needs to take note of how the fish reacts and which direction it’s heading. High visibility lines can be a great aid in this.
2) At moderate trolling speeds (4-6kts) the throttle should remain untouched unless necessary. Immediately after hooking the fish and noting its direction the captain should turn the boat at a mellow angle towards the fish. Some captains will make their turn into the current if necessary to stay over the school – but this can be hell on the angler and mate.
3) The angler will battle from the far corner or side of the boat on the inside of the turn. The mate will have to watch any remaining lines on this side. If the fish is stretched out over top of any rigger baits the rigger halyard should be pulled down and held so that the angler can step over them and keep the fish he’s fighting unhindered out the side of the boat. Short teasers may also need to be cleared.
4) The rest of the anglers should stay attentive to the other rods in preparation for more bites. Remember if there’s one fish in the area chances are others are nearby. Don’t be afraid to dump outside baits in freespool or to “prospect” with a flat line bait by dropping it past your teasers in freespool.
5) Make several circles around the fish you’re fighting and when it is close enough to be wired the remaining baits may be cleared and the stern swung over in reverse to get a quick release or capture. –Jon Meade is a seasoned mate out of Ocean City, Maryland, who recently worked on the Sea Wolf, a 41′ Albemarle that took first place in the tuna category in the Mid-Atlantic 500,000.