“The bluefin fishery we are seeing has not been like it is for a hundred years!” said Ali Hussainy of BD Outdoors and Co-Host of Local Knowledge. “The size of the tuna in our waters has caught many people off guard, though it really can be fairly simple. But, even though the tactics are very much like normal live bait methods, the scale of the bluefin fishing gear has to be stepped up to match the pressure that these big bluefin tuna produce.”
On bluefin fishing gear “The PENN Fathom lever drag reels in a narrow version are my go-to. The size reel depends on the fish around the boat, but normally I fish the 25 to 40 sized Fathoms for most of our local tuna,” said Ali. Filling the reels with Spiderwire in 65# and 80# with the appropriate leader will give you plenty of capacity and pulling power. I fish the Fathom reels on the matching 7-foot Carnage rods because they have just the right amount of tip and backbone to get the job done well.”
“Don’t forget that you need to have a sturdy hook that matches your bait size, so we use the Mustad Demon circle hooks in a variety of sizes and styles depending on the available bait size,” said Ali.
“Another reel that is creeping into the arsenal of many SoCal anglers bluefin fishing gear is a spinning reel. The PENN Slammer III is built like a tank and can hold up to the punishment of big fish. They are not crazy expensive and will let you cast any lures or jigs to tuna at a greater distance than conventional reels,” explained Ali. “However, there is a tradeoff during the fight because a spinner cannot be leveraged on the rail as a conventional can, but it does have a prominent place in this fishery now.”
Ali went on to say about SoCal bluefin fishing gear, “The spinner’s benefit is realized when you can pitch smaller lures like the Nomad Design Madscad into the foamers from a great distance and work it back, mimicking the small size of the bait that they have been focused on. Small lures get bit, but it takes a sturdy lure like Nomad-built ones with heavy-duty single hooks and thru-wire design to hold up for tuna fishing. We’ve had great luck with a variety of Nomad lures like the Riptide and Dartwing on local tuna. For deeper presentations, I’ve caught fish on the Gypsy jig, a flutter, slow-pitch type jig that looks like dying baitfish falling out of the fray.”