- Found worldwide, the
yellowfin tuna is common in U.S. waters from Cape Cod southward throughout the Gulf of
Mexico. Although primarily a schooling fish, the yellowfin may also be found as a solitary
individual, regardless of size. As a rule, the smaller fish, up to 60 to 80 pounds, will
be found in the larger schools, while the biggest are usually found in smaller groups or
run alone. Experienced anglers rate the yellowfin as perhaps the toughest species to catch
on rod and reel; though the fish dont jump, they rarely fail to make repeated long,
tackle-taxing runs. They also have tremendous endurance; a big fish on light tackle may
require hours to boat.
- Yellowfin are most
often taken trolling tackle with rigged baits or artificials, but there are certain
situations where they may be taken by anchoring and chumming. This is a truly spectacular
way to fish; usually the fish are seen racing after bait at high speed on the open sea,
but when enticed into a chum line they slow down to a walk, allowing the angler the
opportunity to virtually pick any fish out of the group and cast to it. Bermuda is best
known for this, and yellowfins over 100 pounds are taken this way on all types of tackle.
- Recently a number of
200-pounds fish have been taken on long-range partly boats operating out San Diego and
fishing southward into Mexicos far offshore waters. Using chumming techniques and
"stand-up" tackle, multiple hookups are rule.
- Another quite
specialized form of yellowfin fishing is from the shoreline in some parts of South Africa
and Australia, where the angler must often struggle to maintain a precarious foot-hold on
slippery rocks, all the while straining to stop the seaward rush of a very large fish.
- Fishing is
finding, fooling and fighting fish. One of the hardest fish to find, fool or fight is the
yellowfin tuna, or ahi.
- Ahi are found in
Hawaiian waters most of the year. But the greatest numbers arrive with the spring run in
May and June and stay through August. Even in the months when large schools are here, ahi
can be hard to find. Most are caught by trolling "blind" around places where
fish have been found in past years.
- Ahi are hard to
fool because they have excellent eyesight. In clear water, ahi can spot a big lure or bait
from as far away as the length of a football field. They can spot a fast-moving lure even
when they are travelling just as fast themselves. Whats more, they see a heavy wire
leader and are smart enough to know something is wrong. Many fishermen use nylon leaders
instead of wire because they fool more ahi.
- Ahi are hard to
fight because they are strong, streamlined and smart battlers. Their bodies are packed
with tough muscles. The muscles are linked to a rigid backbone and tail. This muscle, bone
and tail system drives the fish forward with great power.
- The ahis
body shape splits the water cleanly like a rocket splits the air. He uses his strength and
shape to fight smart. The ahi does not waste energy by throwing himself into the air like
a marlin or a mahimahi. He puts all of his power against the rod, reel and line in strong
pulls. Ahi are tackle smashers. They break away by breaking lines, rods, reels, and
Hawaiis great summer ahi average 200 pounds and grow as big as 300 pounds.
They are more than many young anglers can handle. The big ahi can fight a full grown man
or woman angler for many hours. Fishermen use only one hook because an ahis swallows a
lure completely and is easily hooked even with only one point.