Trolling for Yellowfin Tuna in the Gulf of Mexico

Long-line fishers are responsible for most of the yellowfin tuna caught in the Gulf of Mexico, but it is also a very popular place for recreational fishing as well. Yellowfin tuna are a dream catch that distinguishes you from inexperienced anglers. If you’re trolling for yellowfin tuna don’t settle for a mediocre saltwater tackle—get one from reputable sellers such as Eat My Tackle instead. Remember that these monster tuna are very strong and they’ll win when you don’t have the experience and the best gear.

Here are some interesting facts about trolling for yellowfin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico:

  • It’s possible that even when you’re just trolling for sailfish and marlin during the day, you may end up catching a yellowfin. However, if you’re specifically targeting yellowfin tuna, you need to be on deep water just before dark.
  • The places you need to go to are the deepwater drilling rigs, and by “deepwater” we mean at least 1500 feet deep. You should also try to get to the deepwater gas and oil production facilities. These are the places that the local fishermen call “floaters”. These floaters can be found off the coast of Texas. You can try the Perdido, Hoover Diana, Nansen, and Boomvang oil and gas fields, which are essentially man-made islands that attract schools of tuna.
  • Get to your spot before dark so you can troll for some time. At this time of day, you may get yourself a spectacular show of 100-pound fish sailing up to 8 feet in the air.
  • Most trolled baits can be effective in catching yellowfin tuna. But most experienced fishermen concede that the most effective baits are smaller skirted baits. You rig them with dead ballyhoo and troll them some distance from your boat.
  • You’re more likely to find yellowfin tuna at night. The reason is that the night time attracts the baitfish to the surface because of all the lights coming from the rigs and floaters. These yellowfin tuna usually follow the bait fish to the surface.
  • In the Gulf of Mexico, the yellowfin tuna you catch may range from 50 pounds to 120 pounds.
  • Trolling just before dark may get you a yellowfin tuna or two. But to be really successful, you may have to stay at your deepwater spot for the night. That means you may want to get a good boat with comfortable quarters and with a full range of equipment needed for your overnight adventure.

At night, your charter may advise you to try the “drift” method instead. Drift fishing involves positioning the boat in a spot so it drifts with the current over the pockets of bait you've found with your sonar. This can be a complicated procedure, as it may involve putting numerous lines in the water simultaneously. Without experienced deckhands, you may end up with a tangled mess.

Whether you are trolling or drifting, just make sure you have the best equipment and at least a couple of experienced people by your side. Have fun!

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