Tuna Fishing Gear List

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The fishing gear can vary according to the type of fish you are going to catch. Tuna fish are fast, and they are strong. You will have to prepare your fishing gear according to the occasion. Preparing a tuna fishing gear list can be helpful so that when the right time comes, you are ready to take the trophy home.

Tuna Fishing Gear List: All You Need to Pack

Whenever anglers want to upsize their fishing experience, they plan to catch tuna. This fish is among the hardy, robust species that can be an adventurous catch. The tuna fight makes fishing interesting for everyone, although, only when you have the right gear.

Fishing boat with a rod attached to it

Fishing gear includes clothing, fishing rods, hooks, bait, and all the big and small things you need for your tuna fishing adventure. Your gear has to be sturdy enough to take the speed and the strength of the tuna as it tries to swim free. Pack the right kind of rod and gear for success.

Deep-sea anglers who want to add tuna giants to their list of successes must get the appropriate sinkers and reel along with the right kind of rods. Before you head out to purchase all this, make a tuna fishing gear list. Check all the pointers before getting on the boat!

Fishing Rods

Bluefin tuna fish weigh as much as 450 pounds, and Yellowfin tuna can be as heavy as 1000 pounds or more. The fishing rod needed for tuna fishing must be a strong material and one that you can hold for a long time.

Tuna fishing rods can be between 5.5 feet and 7.5 feet long, and the ideal weight of these rods must be from 25 pounds to 45 pounds. You can select fishing rods with a strong reel, and a comfortable handle. Also make sure that the fishing rod you select is easy to set up. 

You can select a fiberglass rod that can withstand the weight range. An all-class composite fishing rod is a good purchase as it can support all sizes of tuna fish, and you can plan trips to all the Bluefin and Yellowfin tuna fishing spots around the USA!


Tuna fishing requires strong hooks, and we cannot rely on the ones that have not been tested for heavy weight-lift. Moreover, the tuna fishing method also impacts the choice of hooks, so select the right hook for the technique you select.

Circle hooks, and J Hooks are the most common types used in fishing. Out of these, Circle hooks of sizes between 7/0 and 10/0 are more suitable for tuna fish. The narrow circle gets hooked in the corner of the mouth and tuna fish cannot escape it easily. 

The Smaller Essentials

Apart from the hook and fishing rod, there are numerous other components that all anglers have to stock before heading out for a tuna fishing adventure. Make sure you have the following on your tuna fishing gear list:

Fishing gear on deck


The rod and reel work in unison and the suitable strength of reel for tuna fishing can be between 130-pound and 200-pound. The Dacron reels are a safe bet for backing as the synthetic material can float. The 200-pound reel will be more beneficial for chunking. 

The Line

One of the first things that new anglers learn is that the length of the reel gets shorter as the line gets lighter. The reel and line can be from the lightweight range for river fish. We are talking about seawater grand tuna fish, which needs a heavier line. 

Simultaneously, it would be wise to buy a line that is visible when you are trolling tuna. Splicing the line to the Dacron reel will ensure a more robust line to avoid snapping and breaking when the fish fights back. The synthetic fiber reinforces the line and does not allow breaks. 


Outriggers are the long poles that you attach at the back of your boat for trolling tuna. You can connect many lines to this pole and ensure better coverage in the water to attract more fish! Make sure you buy a few of these before you set out to sail.


However small, lures are the real player as they are what the tuna fish come after, and get hooked. The various kinds of lures are used in numerous ways to attract tuna. 

  • Cedar
  • Feathers
  • Lures for Diving Deeper
  • Popper

The cedar plug bounces on water and creates the movement that catches the attention of tuna fish. Similarly, feather lures and poppers stay on the surface and can be attractive for tuna fish coming for bait.

The deep diver lures sink into the water and can go down to the area where tuna fish swim. A good lure is as essential as other items of the gear list, and can be helpful in various fishing techniques. 

The Leader

A leader attaches the lure to the line, and as much as many anglers ignore it, it is essential! For tuna fishing, you need a solid and durable leader. Look for one that can stand the heavyweight tuna fish. Preferred sizes are a 100-pound leader for casting and a 130-pound leader for jigging.

For tuna fishing, you can use mono or fluorocarbon leaders. The mono can hold against the pressure that the tuna fish exerts after the bite. Fluorocarbon leaders are lighter and they can ensure more bites. Wind-on leaders between 100-pound and 130-pound will work well for tuna. 

Pile of tuna fish


Tuna fishing demands larger fish as bait and if you are going trolling, be sure to take a knife to cut up the fish and throw it into the water as bait while you attach butterfish or similar snack fish to the spread. There are many other types of baits that are popularly used, and can be beneficial!

Harpoons and Gaff

Tuna fishing gear includes all the materials and tools that you will need to fish a giant tuna. However, how do you get the big fish on the boat? Anglers must keep harpoons and gaffs on the boat to help them lift the heavy fish out of the water.

You can carry the five-prong stainless steel harpoons and forks that are available at all tackle shops. Anglers select the lifting tool according to their personal choice as no specific tool can be more efficient.

The Right Outfit

When you go tuna fishing, your dressing plays a crucial role in the experience. If you feel heavy, hot, and tired, there is no fun in finding giant tuna and getting it on the boat! Tuna fishing locations in the United States are all over the east coast, from Nova Scotia in the north to New Jersey and then Louisiana in the south. 

All of the west coast is also a tuna fishing region. Another factor to consider is that the tuna season in the US lasts from May till November, and you must dress according to the time of the year you choose for the adventure. 

Anglers’ Clothing Gear

You must pick clothes according to the season, which varies drastically according to the coastline you select. The sunny state calls for different clothing, while the northern Atlantic coast along Nova Scotia will demand a more insulated cover. 

Anglers must wear an outfit that does not take away their agility. You need to get hold of the rod, handle the fish and carry it on board. A casual shirt and shorts are the perfect attire for a tuna fishing trip, no matter where you are headed!

Fishing Gear List According to Method of Tuna Fishing

The tuna fishing gear list will be slightly different according to the fishing technique. Chunking or trolling can get you a good catch, and the gear for each of these techniques require different sizes of hooks, fishing rods, and even lures and bait.

Accessories That Can Help Anglers

Stay prepared as the weather changes when you sail into the water and away from land. You might want to include a few essentials to take along, even if you do not wear them while loading the boat. These items can ensure a good time out there!

Fishing reels
  • Rain gear: A raincoat and cap can be helpful even when it doesn’t rain! When you successfully hook a tuna, and it splashes around the boat, you might not stay too dry. The chilly winds can make you feel cold if your clothes get wet so a raincoat will come in handy.
  • Windbreaker: A jacket to protect you from the high-speed winds in the sea is always a good idea. Early mornings and late-night fishing trips can get chilly, and a windbreaker jacket will be helpful to keep warm and stay active. 
  • Sunglasses and hat: Always carry a pair of sunglasses and a fishing hat to keep your eyes and face safe from the sun. Remember that tuna fishing is not a short trip into the sea. Tuna is a challenging fish to catch, and you will be spending hours in the sun if you decide to go in the mornings.

Miscellaneous Things to Carry

Anglers and sailors often carry a load of things with them when they sail out in the sea. Everything has to go on the boat, from food baskets, bait containers to first aid kits! We recommend taking a first aid kit for all trips as safety is a prerogative for all kinds of adventure sports. 

Tuna fishing involves a lot of pulling, forceful handling of the rod, and even handling hooks. Cutting bait with sharp knives is also a dangerous part of the experience! A first aid kit and some snacks for the anglers to enjoy while setting up the rod is an excellent idea!

One vital part of the trip can be a sunscreen lotion or spray. Again, since you will be out in the sun for hours, skin protection is important. Select a good sunscreen and smother your face with a good amount as the sun tends to be more unforgiving when at sea.


When heading out into the vast sea, anglers must keep a compass, or GPS tracking device onboard. Many boats are equipped with such technology. However, if you are hiring a vessel, there should be a GPS device in your kit as well!

Tuna fish finders are like radars that can detect fish activity under, and around the boat. This device is useful for anglers who can purchase an accurate and reliable tuna finder to ensure they throw the bait and wait for tuna at the right spot. 

Caution Is Best

Anglers looking for a fun tuna fishing trip must ensure that they carry biodegradable materials, and use lures made from plastics and harmful synthetic materials. Many private organizations have issued reports on the impact of plastic waste on sea life

Tuna fishing is fun, and all of us must ensure that we leave behind a clean and safe habitat for this active and lively fish! Just as pelagic longlines can be harmful for sea life, recreational tuna fishing can also become a peril for these beautiful fish. 


A good tuna fishing gear list can ensure an adventure to remember. While anglers are out in the water, they may feel disconnected without any of the essential gear necessary for tuna fishing. The right kind of rod, reel, lures and other essentials will determine the success of your tuna fishing trip.