Report Date: May 24, 2022
We are in the prime of blackfin tuna fishing in Miami and yellowfin tuna fishing in the Bahamas. For the past month we have had blackfin tunas every trip. It started with 1 or 2 tunas per trip and just yesterday we caught 6 big blackfins on a half day trip. The blackfins are all 25 to 30 plus pounds. Our biggest for the season so far is 34 lbs. We have been catching the tunas pretty much all day but the best time is usually late afternoon between 3pmand 8pm. We haven’t done any of those late day trips yet but will probably do a few before the season is over. We should see a decline in the blackfin tunas by mid-June and usually by July they are gone. Besides blackfin tunas there have also been quite a few kingfish around. These have been anywhere from a few pounds up to about 40 pounds. Titanium wire with a big bait like a blue runner of goggle eye on the kite is deadly effective. And to top things off, there have been quite a few mahis around on the edge as well. Most of the mahis are good size fish from 15 to 30 pounds but there are almost always some schoolies mixed in as well. Big mahis are a blast, they are colorful, jump around a lot, fast growing and are good to eat. Pretty good combination! Sailfish are still around and can be caught year-round, but I would have to say the primary sailfish season is now over or very close to over. Yes, you can still catch one on any given trip, but they are no longer the targeted species.
While we have blackfin tunas here in South Florida, the Bahamas is now in full swing with their yellowfin tunas. These tunas are larger than our blackfins and tend to be between 40 and 90 pounds. Most of the guys from South Florida are targeting these tunas in NW Channel between Freeport and Bimini. You basically look for birds and having a great radar like our Simrad 10KW radar is a definite advantage. Once you find the birds, approach cautiously and get in front of the school, shut down your motors and throw out a few live pilchards as live chum, followed by chunks of dead sardines. Work the area a bit and if you either mark fish on the depth recorder or see tunas busting keep the dead and live chum going while freelining a few rods with either live or cut bait. Once a tuna gites the bait, you will know as line peels off the reel and its game on. Just be aware that the sharks are keen on these tunas schools, so use the heaviest tackle feasible (we use 50lb stand up tackle) and muscle the tuna in before it gets eaten. If the sharks are very bad, then leave that school as it doesn't make sense just to keep feeding sharks tasty yellowfins. While tuna fishing, keep a keen eye out for mahis that will swim into your spread as well as blue marlin. We always have a rod ready with a big hook and either a big dead bait or lure ready just in case. Also, while on the subject, the shark situation both here and in the Bahamas has gotten completely out of control. Most sharks are protected but we have protected them so well that they are now everywhere and catching any fish is a challenge as the sharks simply wait for the struggles of a fish that is hooked and easily devour that fish instead of catching a fish naturally. We hope NOAA is taking a deep look at shark depredation and is coming up with a plan that will help both the fisherman and the shark population.
So, with May almost gone, we are now getting ready for a few more weeks of tuna fishing and then getting into summertime mahi fishing in the Gulfstream, summertime day time swordfishing and mufti day trips to the Bahamas. Now is the time to look at your calendar and set up your summertime trips.
Capt. Dean Panos