Tunoid Tactics... [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Tunoid Tactics...

07-13-2006, 12:37 PM
Well, there seems to be a lot of interest in the speedsters arrival. How about a little tactic talk. How do you target them from shore, lines, flies, retrieve technique? How about from the boat? Run and gun, set up drifts? What lines etc...

I personally made some changes in how I approached them last season as I got more experience. Little things included a modified run and gun where you get within a few hundred yards at speed but then ease into them (less than 1200 rpm). Big thing is to head straight in to within range but then give the wheel a hard turn as you ease off the throttle so the angler can keep a tight line and leave the fly in the zone longer. I also found that shutting the motor off actually put the fish down more as they didn't seem to like the abrupt change. Not sure if my 4 stroke made a difference there but the few times I was on them with a noisier two stroke seemed to be harder to get in range. I also found that it was almost easier to get on them when there was more boat traffic. They seemed to get used to the noise and not react as much to the boat. Similar tactics were applied to the Albies but I personally think they tend to get into more of a predicable patttern in heavy current and blind casting on the drift can be very effective. Although in my opinion not as much fun as the visual take of busting fish. Floaters got more use as I was able to reposition long lengths of line to get the fly back in the mix.

How about you? What worked what didn't?


Jim Miller
07-13-2006, 01:01 PM
here's my take.
Most Tunoids like edges.... could be shoreline, dropoff, temperature change, rip line etc.
I like to anchor up at a likely spot (see above) and wait for bait to show. Sometimes I'll chum w/ dog food or canned tuna w/ bread crumbs. This is to hold the baitfish at MY boat. Usually the tuna will show up and stay if the bait remain.
Also gives good shots w/ the flyrod!

I'll run & gun if no one is around (not often) .... but really try to avoid that scene w/ multiple boats jockying for position. Also if I am alone in the boat, if I anchor up I have a lot less headaches when the Chinese fire drill of a hooked fish ensues.

Look forward to hearing about other methods! :smile:

07-13-2006, 01:11 PM

That is an original tip. At least to me. Looks like my grocery list just got a little bigger. Only problem for me is that most of the bluefin I have found have been in 100ft or more of water and anchoring up in that scenario doesn't sound like fun if you find yourself needing to move around a bit. For albies I can see how that might be effective but only if the bait situation in marginal and the boat traffic light. At Montauk last year for instance there was no way you could make that work. Both with the number of boats and amount of bait. Of course I have heard of the potato chip trick to move the other boats out of the way :lildevl: .


Dble Haul
07-13-2006, 01:24 PM
Jim, I had never even thought about chumming up the bait. That's quite an interesting approach.

FWIW, I had never used floating lines for albacore from a boat until I spent a great day on the water with Sean. He recommended the floater for the reasons that he has described above, and I had very positive reinforcement during the day from the fish. It truly is easier to pick up a long length of floating (not sinking) line, backcast, and send the fly back on its way to the next target. This is a great advantage when the fish are only coming up in smaller, scattered pods.

For retrieve, I tend to keep it on the fast side when blind casting. When I'm throwing into active fish on the surface, I tend to have better results by slowing my retrieve down to an almost leisurely pace. This may seem contrary to what a lot of people do when throwing a fly into the middle of blitzing albies, but my take is that a slow fly looks wounded and out of place......and the takes certainly aren't any less violent. :smokin:

07-13-2006, 03:21 PM
I am with you on the retrieve Mark. The (only) two times I've had success from shore has been casting to breaking fish and letting the flies fall dead-drift (yes, I use droppers - no double hook-ups yet). I did have one jump on a wet-fly swing one morning but I lost the fight with the boat traffic :(

When fishing for yellowfin down Baja way we would make a long cast down current with fast sinking lines and let the flies come onto the dangle. Then we just gave a few twitches and let the flies fall back into the drift.

I think there is a tendency to imagine that Tuna want a fast bait because of the speed at which they work on the surface. I've never watched a Tuna chase a fly at speed over any considerable distance, especially when there's a lot of bait in the water, what would be the point?

I know this flies in the face of conventional wisdom but it works for me and its a lot less effort :smokin:

Dble Haul
07-13-2006, 03:40 PM
Adrian, I'd like to be there to see you with a double hookup on albacore. :)

07-14-2006, 07:51 AM

Great topic.

I have a special affliction for trying to get them from shore, with success on several occasions from Pleasant Bay to Rhody. Mostly because I sold my boat in Seattle when we moved back and haven't been able to put a hull between me and the water since. :)

I have to say that it looks to me like Rhody or the Islands offer the best shorebound shots in fact the Vineyard and Nantucket residents could probably rack up more in a month than I've landed from shore in the last few years at the right time of year. However my family goes to the cape about every weekend so I hunt them there.

Tactics... inlets and jetties

The first bonito I ever landed was on a fly, a Page Rogers slim jim in green fished on an intermediate line. I love that fly as a subtle slider, it fishes well sunk or slid although I fish them less lately because of their irresistability to schoolies.

Anyway the tide was slack high at the mouth of a river and I was walking out after playing with some small bass and blues. Halfway out an old timer said "you are leaving NOW?"

I said it was slow and he said well yeah but... the tide is about to ebb and things have been out of control lately when the current gets going. So I turned around.

Anyway a wall of death formed at the mouth and bait was being cuisinarted by bass, blues and I hooked what I thought was a fat mackeral that kicked my butt. I even embarassed myself by telling everyone down the line I had a huge fish and to make room when they all told me they could see I had a fish that was no more than 7 pounds. I argued "no freaking way man give me some room!" hehe It was a 7# ish bonito.

Anyway over the years I have watched albies and bonito set up around this area and make a circle about 1/8 mile around coming to the mouth and going ballistic on bait, then making the circle again until they move on.

They do a similar thing at Wacky too as many know. So the river (or inlet) mouth on moving tides seems to be a winner. The Rhody breachways seem to have tunoids blasting up and down all day long sometimes.

Tactic #2 - High bank surf backwash

Years ago Bob Pink generously took me out on Double Happiness for a day of slab bass off Chatham. After countless keepers we searched for hardtails and found them feeding in the wash where high banks accelerated the backwash. Not the most comfortable boating situation but the hardtails were feeding with abandon in the shore breaks, neat to see.

Tactic #3 - Location, location, location

The first rule of fishing is presence of fish. I remember talking to a construction worker on the Falmouth shoreline during his lunch break. He said "every afternoon fish go crazy right there". I asked how they surface and he said they just pop out of the water.

I came back that afternoon on the high flood and sure enough hardtails were reaping silversides all over that beach. I hooked up right away and moved my truck before I could get ticketed (no parking there).

Tunoids seem to be creatures of habit while they are in an area and if you see them bust one day they will probaby do it again right there until they move to the next area, and this is all predicated on bait.

Damned if you do, damned if you dont - two-handers

I find that with a two-hander you get better first shots at funny fish from shore. Definitely, unequiocally better first shots. Also the long retrieve back from where they should be is when most are hooked as they do follow an hit often for me.

One downside is the quick second shot when they are close to you - unless you have good spey technique and that takes time to learn. I would argue it's well worth learning but most will have trouble with quick repeat shots in the first year or two.

Anyway the point is the ability to reach long to popping fish lanes and get many strips in between has been good for hooking funny fish.


After Chuck's enlightening demonstration at the last Boneclave, I will be crafting several new tunoid bangers this year. I had no idea that they are that crazy over poppers! Insane strikes!

Anyway I gotta get workin but nice AM distraction for sure

07-14-2006, 08:34 AM
Generally, when boat fishing we follow the 1500 rpm rule when on final approach and either go to neutral or engine off depending on the type of engine and drift toward the school with a hard right helm for the right handed caster on the bow.wind behind caster..There is definitely some evidence that with the modern engines they are better off left running and the fish do not seem to mind. If at all possible wait till the boat stops to start the casting. Boat motion can really muck with your ability to keep slack out of the line.

Patience patience:Eyecrazy:

If you have the opportunity, practice the over the shoulder final cast and line shoot upwind. The fish will sometimes appear on the other side of the boat and you need to have the ability to backcast and shoot line to have a shot. You generally won't have time to turn your body and set up for fish on the upwind side.

Run and gunners... Let them run to the school and maneuver behind them on their blind side. Often the school will come up 100's of yards behind them and you will get a nice clean shot before the others can re-act to the re-positioned action.

07-14-2006, 08:49 AM
Yes, poppers! But not bangers - crease flies for me. When tunoids take a popper they come straight up behind it and porpoise straight back down in a straight line. They do not turn on the take like bass or bluefish. This move combined with the speed at which they swim (usually straight at you) can make it tough to come tight without a 2-handed strip.

Watching 10-15 albies follow your popper back to the boat, smashing it periodically is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.

I am a fan of the floating line as well. Especially the Wulff SWTT line with the crease. 20# floro and plenty of drag so you can get them to the boat quick and not feed the crabs.

I salute the guys who have the patience to get them on foot. That's right up there with getting a 40" bass on foot, just in a different way.

Dble Haul
07-14-2006, 09:40 AM
Speaking of poppers, my very first albie came on an obnoxious bluefish popper at Weekapaug a few years ago. It surprised the you know what out of me. I changed over to a crease fly and caught a few more.

I have never, ever seen any surface strike that rivals that of an albie (not yet anyway.....:wink: ).

07-16-2006, 06:31 PM
I prefer floating line and crease fly. I'm using the SA SW lines exclusively. 10 wt rod minimum and a 40-30-20 leader to lean on them. Creeping up on busting schools is not an option off of Cape Lookout the past 5 years on most days due to so many ultra competitive guides that don't give a damn about anybody but themselves. Best tactic seems to be to have the quickest boat and the sharpest eyes.:mad:

07-17-2006, 06:44 AM
I agree with the crease fly approach to tunoids. This year I played around with Bob's bangers for longtail tuna, and the hookup rate was dismal. They would actually push it straight up in the air. At one point, I counted 10 "pushes" before a solid hookup. Switching to a crease fly gave consistent hookups.

Crease flies will definitely be in my arsenal for albies this year.

07-17-2006, 06:56 AM
I watched one of the best guides in action in the Redbone Tournament apply her trade. Amanda Switzer . is the guide and she did not run and gun despite the competitive guides around her. Her two sports had multiple hook ups while the ones that run and gunned got the skunk. Easier said than done when the Albies are busting all around you. FishHawk.