Live Bait Fishing For Bluefin Tuna

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No matter how much you enjoy freshwater fishing, tuna remains one of the most adventurous and challenging catches out there. Live bait fishing for tuna can have its advantages, and if you do it right, you will be bringing home a trophy fish.

Live Bait Fishing For Bluefin Tuna

Bluefin tuna is a large-sized fish that preys on all kinds of smaller fish. If you are looking to catch tuna off the coast or deeper in the sea, you can get their attention by offering them live fish as bait. Live bait works well for all types of fish for many reasons, and Bluefins are no exception.

An image of Herring that can be used for live bait fishing for bluefin tuna

However, a poorly-presented bait can change the game, and you may return empty-handed. Anglers need to learn how to use live fish to maximize their catch and ensure that it gets the attention of this huge fish swimming below the surface.

How to Select Live Bait for Bluefin Tuna?

Bluefin tuna moves from north to south at different parts of the year to remain in cool waters, and during the summers, it spawns in warm places at greater depths in the sea. Anglers must know this travel pattern, along with what tuna feeds during every phase and in different regions.

Knowing what tuna feeds on at different places and at different times of the year, anglers will be able to plan the bait for their fishing trip to get the maximum results. In every area, tuna feed on different kinds of sea fish. Some of their favorite foods include:

  • Herring
  • Eels
  • Live crab
  • Pogies
  • Mackerel

You can maximize your chances of catching a giant within minutes if you use the right bait, using the right technique.

Live Bait Presentation for Bluefin Tuna

Presentation of live bait can decide whether it will get you some big fish or not. There are various ways in which you can lower the fish chunks or full fish into the water so that tuna comes to bite it.

Breastplate Hooking

Many anglers have tried numerous ways of hooking the real fish pieces in a way that results in a hook-up every time. Breastplate hooking means to pierce the breast of the live fish and lower it in the water to let it move with the current.

The moving fish looks alive and is attractive enough to make the giant predator come for it.

Collar Hooking

Collar hooking is a successful presentation for tuna, and it ensures that the fish gets hooked every time. This method involves hanging the bait by the gills so that it moves in the water and attracts tuna.

Collar hooking will get you the results you want because as the bait fish hangs from the hook, it moves along with the water, and this movement seems natural, and tuna do not get time to notice the line with which this bait is suspended.

An image of a live crab

Nose Hooking

Nose hooking is another presentation technique that works well with Bluefins. The fish is hooked by the nose, and its body swims on the surface. If your angling group likes to see some dramatic water surface bites, this presentation technique will be an excellent one.

Balloon Rig

One of the unique and successful bait presentations is by rigging the live fish beneath a balloon on the surface of the water. This technique allows the bait to remain at a certain depth, suspended at different depth intervals. As the balloon’s movement adds buoyancy to the bait, this species swimming underneath will come up for a bite without suspecting any attached strings!

Torpedo Weights and More

Another way of presenting bait to tuna is to lower it underwater to the depth where these giant fish swim normally. Fishing for tuna with a torpedo sinker gets the bait into the right zone where the fish are swimming below the surface, and therefore, a strong bite is bound to follow.

You can attach a torpedo weight before the swivel and hook to ensure that the bait sinks lower than usual. Many anglers do not use swivels and will attach the torpedo to the main line with a rubber band. If the weight can help you catch a sea monster, it is a good time to try using all the fishing equipment you can!

Adding Technology to Live Bait Fishing

Anglers can increase their chances of catching Bluefin tuna with sea fish by adding some technology to their boats. A sonar or a fish finder can help significantly with your trip’s success. There can be many indicators that help locate tuna fish in the deep waters.

However, if you add a finder, you will be able to lower the food for tuna in a place where it will work fast. Choosing the right place is as important as the kind of bait you use. If you see a bait ball, or a huddle of birds above water, throwing bait out would be a good idea.

Similarly, a sonar will help you find the tuna that is deeper under the surface when there are no bait balls to be seen. Keep an eye out for birds that are looking around in the area. It is a good sign that the tuna might be swimming deep underneath. Use the sonar to locate the tuna and drop the bait to the depth that you see them swimming at.

An image of a mackerel that can be used for live bait fishing for bluefin tuna

Fishing Techniques With Live Bait for Tuna

Bluefin is an active fish, and it feeds heavily all through the year. If you want to try your luck with a giant catch, you can try out the various techniques that can give you excellent results in the form of a trophy catch!


Chumming means to throw in a lot of bait fish in a particular area of water so that the targeted fish comes to eat. Bluefins coming up to eat the chum make it easier for anglers to catch them.

This technique piques tuna’s attention as it can smell and see a lot of fish and can quickly decide to go in for food. When tuna comes to grab these bait chunks, it becomes carefree and keeps feeding until the hidden hook gets into place and your target fish gets caught.


Another great fishing technique to catch giant tuna is trolling. This technique involves hanging many baits or lures from fishing lines attached to the boat and going around a particular area in the sea. From under the water surface, these baits look like fish swimming on the surface.

Bluefin tuna will come after such an attractive sight, and if you throw in some juice from the cut-up bait, it is bound to get numerous tuna fish at the boat to get a bite of the bait and hook up. When you hear the clicker on the reel go off, start winding the reel as fast as you can until the fishing line comes tight. Now the real battle begins.

Hooks for Live Bait Fishing

Bluefin tuna is a heavy fish, and you need small yet strong hooks to ensure that it can take the weight of the giant fish while also being capable of handling the fight that tuna will put up upon getting caught. A good circle hook of sizes 1/0 to 7/0 will be an excellent choice.


Live bait fishing for Bluefin tuna is a productive and exciting way of catching this giant species if anglers follow specific techniques of using live bait, they can take home a giant trophy fish on every trip.