Tuna: General information
If not already fishing for tuna on the fly, we'll just ask....Why not?
Bluefin / Blackfin / Yellowfin / Bigeye / Longtail / Dogtooth
All tunas are able to maintain the temperature of certain parts of their body above the temperature of ambient seawater. For example, bluefin can maintain a core body temperature of 25–33 °C (77–91 °F), in water as cold as 6 °C (43 °F). Tuna achieve endothermy by conserving the heat generated through normal metabolism with the rete mirabile.
Distinctive features & Description
Other common names around the world include A'ahi (Tahiti), Ahi & maha'o (Hawaii), kihada (Japanese), te baibo (Kiribati), thon jaune (French), tonnos macropteros (Greek), yatu (Fiji) thunfisch (German), tonno albacora (Italian), Rabil (Spanish), albacora (Portugual).
What Yellowfin Eat
The yellowfin diet consists of squid and small fish. They chase after mackerel, sardines, saury and flying fish. Their natural predators are the wahoo, marlin, shark, seabirds and other large tuna. Other predators include the great white shark, the mako and sailfish.
Despite the large size of the yellowfin tuna, it has not been able to escape overfishing. As a result, its population has been dwindling. Just like other threatened fish species, there are now efforts to curb fishing and increase its population. As always we encourage catch and release.
Distribution & Habitats
Yellowfin tunas are found worldwide in tropical and subtropical waters, from latitudes of approximately 40°N to 35°S. They are not found in the Mediterranean Sea. The yellowfin tuna is highly migratory.
Pacific bluefin tuna
Thunnus orientalis is a migrating, predatory species of tuna found widely in the northern Pacific Ocean. It is almost identical to the Thunnus thynnus or the Atlantic bluefin tuna.
The tuna's ability to maintain body temperature (mentioned in the general information section) has several definite advantages over other sea life. It does not need to limit its range according to water temperature, and it almost completely unaffected by climatic changes. The additional heat supplied to the muscles also results in extra speed & power. Bluefin tuna have been clocked in excess of 40 miles per hour (~50 km/h) during bursts & sprints. This allows tuna it to hunt squid, herring, mackerel, sardines and other species that slower predators cannot catch.
The Pacific bluefin tuna is mostly a Northern Pacific species but range from the East Asian coast to the west coast of North America. Tuna likes colder waters and are a pelagic species found in temperate oceans, but it also ranges into the tropics and more coastal regions. It is typically seen from the surface to 660 ft (200 m),but has been found as deep as 1800 ft (550 m).
What Bluefin Eat
Bluefin Tuna eat a vriety of baitfish including Sardines, Mackerels and flying fish. They also eat squid. The size of the prey fish is usually anywhere from 2 inches to 12 inches long.top
How to fly fish for Tuna
Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares)
Distinctive Features & Description
Yellowfin tuna are everything a fly-rod fish should be: they swim in awesome places and blitz the surface when conditions are right. They're selective but not unreasonably so, and a 10-pounder is stronger than you are. They are often thought to be among the strongest of the tunas.
Yellowfin have the football-shaped body that's typical of all tunas. The body is generally an iridescent blue that fades into a bluish-silver at the belly. They have two dorsal fins; in adults, the second dorsal fin is longer than the first, as is the anal fin, which sits directly below the second dorsal. The anal and second dorsal in adult fish can sometimes extend to the tail. The yellow coloration of the anal fin and second dorsal fin is generally quite visible. The small finlets between the tail and the fins are also yellow.
Yellowfin have large eyes. Their teeth are small and conical and are used primarily for grasping prey (rather than cutting it in half), which suggests that their diet consists mainly of smaller fish and, in some locations, squid (see below).
Yellowfin reportedly grow to over 400 pounds. Trey Combs reports, in his must-have book Bluewater Fly Fishing, that they may reach a certain size (around 400 pounds) where they can't get enough daily calories to satisfy their metabolisms. Apparently they eat all they can, gorging themselves when possible, but still starve to death.
A 15-40 pound (7-19 kg) yellowfin is a good catch and seems to be about the most common size caught on the fly. The current IGFA record for this species stands at 388 pounds (176 kg) for a fish caught in 1977 near San Benedicto Island in Mexico. In 2010 a 405-pound (184 kg) yellowfin was caught off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It measured 86 inches (220 cm) long with a girth of 61 inches (150 cm). In 2012, a fisherman in Baja California reportedly caught a 427-pound yellowfin. The latter 2 catches have not yet been verified.
Distribution, Habitats, & Habits
Yellowfin are strong schoolers. Their tendency to school with other fish of the same size seems to be stronger than the tendency to school by species. This means that they are often found swimming in mixed schools of skipjack, bigeye, and other tunas. In the eastern Pacific Ocean, larger yellowfin frequently school in association with dolphins.
Yellowfin will commonly school under drifting objects such as driftwood, patches of seagrass, boats, or dead marine mammals. They are attracted to the baitfish that tend to school around such objects.
What Yellowfin Eat; What Eats Them
The yellowfin diet consists of squid and small fish. Preferred fish targets are mackerel, sardines, saury, and flying fish.
Their natural predators are the wahoo, marlin, shark, seabirds and other large tuna. Other predators include the great white shark, the mako and sailfish. And, of course, us.
Yellowfin have not been able to escape overfishing. As a result, their populations have been dwindling. Just like other threatened fish species, there are now efforts to curb fishing and increase its population. As always, we encourage catch and release.top
What to bring?
What to bring Fly Fishing for Tunatop
Suggested flies by tuna species