How to Fish for Tuna in the Mediterranean

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Tuna fishing in the Mediterranean is more difficult than in other parts of the world mainly because the resource is overfished. Mediterranean bluefin tuna, prized for sushi, are on the verge of being wiped out in the Mediterranean Sea, where the gigantic tuna return each year after depositing and fertilizing their eggs in the Adriatic Sea. You will be competing with commercial fisheries using massive nets and other wholescale fishing techniques, but by following these steps you can catch a Mediterranean tuna.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy-duty saltwater fishing rod and baitcasting reel spooled with at least 75-pound test line
  • Charter boat
  • Tackle and bait
  • Hire a charter boat captain to get you out to sea. The captains will be familiar with the many regulations governing tuna catches in the Mediterranean, as well as prevalent fishing conditions and promising locations. All tuna fishing in the Mediterranean is done by boat. Look for boats with outriggers so you can set more lines in the water and increase your chances of catching this scarce fish.

  • Get a chum line started to begin trolling. Chum--a mixture of fish blood and guts--is used to create an oily, floating food slick to attract tuna. The mix is ladled over the boat from a bucket.

  • Look for flocking birds skimming the sea surface. Where there are birds over water, there are baitfish, and where there are baitfish, you will often find bluefin tuna.

  • Bait your hooks with large anchovies or sardines (1/4 to 1/2 pound) or use artificial lures resembling baitfish. If the captain observes squid near schooling tuna, you can expect to rig up with strips of frozen squid. Butterfish also make excellent bait for Mediterranean bluefin.

  • Troll through the chum slick with two lines off the stern and two lines along the outriggers--one on either side of the boat.

  • When you get a strike, resist the temptation to set the hook immediately. Instead, let the tuna run with the bait for five seconds to get the hook firmly in its mouth, then reel up the slack and get ready for a fight.

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