How To Rig Casting Rods & Plugs For SoCal Tuna

How To Rig Casting Rods & Plugs For SoCal Tuna

When it comes to fishing artificial lures for bluefin and yellowfin tuna, matching your rod and reel to the lure you’re going to be fishing is imperative. Then it’s your line and its knots for presenting lures.

If you’re new to fishing tuna with hardbaits, my video about Fishing Hardbaits for bluefin and yellowfin tuna explains how to pick the right rod and reel for the size and style of lure and shows how to present it. Something that I didn’t have a chance to cover in the video was how to get your rod and reel rigged up to present those lures.

While most everyone that’s fishing tuna these days has some spectra line on their reel, some only use it as backing, while others fish it exclusively. Both of these are good options when casting lures at tuna, but your personal preference is going to affect how your line is going to be rigged. A lot of guys like to use a top shot that’s long enough that they don’t get into the spectra when casting their lure. If you’re one of those guys, I recommend spooling your reel with a hollow spectra like Seaguar Threadlock and using a served connection to connect your fluorocarbon leader. This video shows a simple and very low profile serve.

rigging tips

If you’re like me and prefer a short top shot, the FG Knot is an excellent choice. The advantage of the FG Knot is that it doesn’t have a tag end that sticks out away from the line so not only will it cast through your guides without catching, it won’t get stuck in your tip when you’ve got a big tuna close to the boat. Due to this, I will lengthen my leader from the two to three-feet I’d used in the past to six to ten-feet. This longer leader not only allows me to cut off chafed leaders after catching a fish without having to retie the entire thing but the added length offers abrasion resistance in the case a fish gets tail wrapped during the fight. You can check out my video showing how to tie the FG Knot here.

FG knot

Once you’ve rigged your rod with the leader style you like to fish, it’s time to choose a connection for your lure. When fishing less than 80# fluorocarbon leader I’ll use an Improved Clinch knot. It may not be the best knot in the world but its easy to tie correctly in the heat of the moment and if it’s going to fail, it will fail while you’re cinching it down.

crimping connectionsI’ve been tying the Improved Clinch for 40-years and can’t remember the last time I lost a fish due to knot failure. On 80# fluorocarbon leader and up, I’ll usually crimp my lure to the leader but if I need to retie on the fly, I’ll go back to the Improved Clinch.

Erik Landesfeind is BD's Southern California Editor and has over 30 years of experience saltwater fishing for a range of species in both California and Mexican waters. Erik is also an active freelance writer and the author of the weekly column So Cal Scene, which BD publishes every Friday. In So Cal...