Skipjack Tuna

Omar's first big catch.jpg (17875 bytes) Skipjack tuna.TIF (49344 bytes)
Scientific name: Katsuwonus pelamis
         Catching skipjack tuna is a good way to begin to learn about the sport of trolling. Skipjack tuna puts up a good fight. They can be caught on very light tackle. And fishing action is often fast enough to keep beginning fishermen from getting bored. What’s more, when skipjack tuna are plentiful, there’s room to make mistakes without anyone getting too upset if a fish is lost.
        The   skipjack tuna or aku (Hawaiian name) is found in Hawaiian waters all year around, but you are most likely to catch it when the big schools arrive during the late spring and summer months. Some places, like the area of Ke-ahole Point along the Kona Coast, are home to large schools that are almost always around when the current is right. The fish aggregating buoys are also good places to find aku.
        Most aku are between 3 and 6 pounds in weight. The biggest ones reach about 40 pounds.
        Aku are handsome and sporty looking fish. Their bright silver sides flash in the sun when they strike a lure. Dark blue stripes on their bellies give them a racy look. The deep and brilliant blue of their backs blends well with the color of the sea, making them hard to spot in the water. When aku are excited, their sides shine with light pink highlights.
        Your first clue that aku are around is usually a swarm of black birds. These are called terns or, in Hawaiian, noio. If you see noio flying steadily along without stopping it may may mean that the aku are somewhere around but the noio haven’t found them yet either. When noio find aku, they swarm above them in a pack. When you see them off in the distance, the birds look like they are shuttling back and forth from left to right. They are actually circling above the school.
        When the aku chase small bait fish up to the surface, the noio pounce on the bait fish as they try to escape along the surface. The birds beat their wings rapidly to control their flight and swoop down to the surface. Under them, you’ll see the splashes of feeding aku.
        If your boat is the first on the scene, you should have little trouble catching aku. If, on the other hand, other boats have run back and forth through the aku school, the fish become frightened and dive down when they hear a boat coming. At such times, they are very hard to catch. Sometimes they frighten easily even when other boats are not around.
       The secret of catching aku is to borrow a rule that trout fishermen follow: fish fine and far off. This means to use a small lure with a very light leader and to put the lure very far behind the boat. It also helps to circle the school, keeping the boat away from the fish while you are pulling your lures through the school.
40 minutes to 2 hours  away from take-off point