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May 09, 2011

By Chris Jalbert

Compact trolling spreads expand your chances of connecting.
Once, while fishing from a larger boat, I scrambled to clear lines as my buddies busied themselves with a triple-header of small yellowfin. After three unsuccessful tries to shake a line out of a rigger clip, I got some unexpected help when another small yellowfin hit the lure and popped the clip for me.Tuna frequently hang around to investigate when other members of a school are hooked, so take advantage. Throw a fly, spoon or jig on appropriate tackle back into the wake and hold on.
All recreational and commercial vessels fishing for Atlantic bluefin, yellowfin, skipjack,albacore or bigeye tunas must possess an Atlantic tunas permit, available from AppNet Inc. (under contract with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Vessel owners may obtain a permit via the Internet at or by phoning 888-872-8862. For more information regarding Atlantic tunas or charter/head-boat regulations call NOAA's Highly Migratory Species Management Division in Gloucester, Massachusetts, at 978-281-9260.
My father and I typically troll five or six lines from our 21-foot Robalo center-console. Two flat lines on transom clips hold 6-inch Cedar Plugs or hex heads on the face of the second wave (about 10 feet back). For best results, place lures near the border of clear and turbulent water so they dart in and out of the clear portion of the wake. Next, position slightly larger, straight-tracking artificials 10 to 15 feet (or two waves) behind the first lures, running straight from the rod tip with no transom clips. This pair always consists of a Green Machine and a 5-inch Zuker clone.