When weather permits, fishing for blackfin tuna has been very good lately. The main body of fish seems to be out in deep water, more than 250 feet deep, but they make regular forays into shallow water when surface temperatures warm up. There were numerous reports of tuna being caught in 100 feet last week out of John’s Pass. A decade ago most local tuna fishing was done behind anchored shrimp boats that worked in 100 feet off Tampa Bay. Today there is little shrimping that takes place here. According to several veteran shrimpers the reason is simple: There are not many shrimp here now. So how do you catch a few tasty tuna for sushi night? There are a couple of ways to do it. The first is to troll a spread small surface lures or feathers at 6-7 mph around peaks, big ledges or wrecks. Be sure to use all monofilament line (no braid) and fish them really far behind the boat. Another way is to chum the fish to you. Anchoring in an area and chunk-chumming often brings in fish that you would not otherwise have seen. Once the fish start feeding, they will eat just about anything shiny, making them great targets for light tackle and even fly-fishing gear. Perhaps the most exciting method is to live chum with live scaled sardines. This requires a lot of live bait. Tossing out handfuls of wounded baitfish while drifting an area holding tuna can produce crazy fireworks behind the boat.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.