Tips for Chunking

Many anglers prefer trolling to chunking. But when lots of people go "on the chunk" in an area with a hot tuna bite, you're often left with no real choice in the matter. When you want - or need - to start chunking, put these tips to use.

  • Whether using butterfish or menhaden (the most common chunk baits), embed the hook in a baitfish by putting it in through the mouth. If you're using cut baits, use chunks large enough to conceal the entire hook. In either case the goal is the same: The hook must not be visible. Tuna have excellent eyesight, and if you can see the hook, it's a sure bet that the tuna can, too.
  • Use circle hooks; they produce a higher hit-to-hookup ratio than straight shank hooks.
  • Tuna are often leader shy. Solve this problem by dropping to 30-to-50-pound test fluorocarbon leaders. If the fish are large, increase the leader size, but this may decrease the number of hookups.
  • Vary the types of lines you run. One should be hand-fed at the surface; use weight to suspend some baits under floats; and set one line about 5' off the bottom.
  • Cut your chunks approximately 1" square. Maintain 6' to 8' between pieces being chunked with an occasional handful thrown in.