Albacore Tuna Trolling Tips
Deep Sea Fishing and Trolling for Albacore Tuna
Trolling for Albacore Tuna (Thunnus alalunga) occur in temperate seas worldwide and are easily distinguished from other tuna due to their pronounced and elongated pectoral fins. The current all-tackle world record for albacore is 88 pounds, 2 ounces, caught off the Canary Islands.
When deep-sea fishing for albacore, they can be found when trolling through areas where they’re known to migrate and where optimum oceanic conditions exist, such as water temperature and schooling baitfish. North Pacific albacore follow warm ocean currents in the range of 59-68 degrees. Their diet consists of various bait fish, such as sardine, jack mackerel, shrimp and squid. The albacore fishing season in the Pacific Northwest usually lasts from early summer through to fall.
The downtime between jig strikes trolling for albacore can at times seem endless and the species elusive, so when the opportunity presents itself the angler needs to be prepared for the many variables that can make or break an offshore albacore fishing trip. Some of those include proper lure selection, positioning of the lures (each boat has a distinctive pattern of waves), trolling speed, and lure position at the appropriate depths.
There are various factors to consider when choosing the saltwater lures best suited for specific albacore trolling scenarios. Gearing up for the albacore tuna hunt, offshore anglers should anticipate a full-spectrum of potential fishing conditions that may present during their trip, and be prepared to address them with an arsenal of lure choices varying in color, style, and size.
Albacore anglers need to be cognizant of the effects that ocean conditions and trolling speed will have on how a saltwater lure tracks in the water. Crankbait type plugs such as large Rapalas ® and MirrOlures ® are terrific for albacore fishing, as are the traditional cedar plugs. However effective crankbait and cedar plugs are when the seas are smooth, they are extremely difficult to keep in the water during sloppy conditions.
The best albacore trolling speeds are within a range of six (6) and eight (8) knots. Switching to larger lures can also draw additional strikes from Yellowfin Tuna, Bluefin Tuna and Bigeye Tuna, all while attempting to keep the Skipjack away (unless fishing waters similar to the Pacific Northwest).
Albacore, at times, may tend to not strike the larger lure sizes. As a rule, utilize the darker color offshore lures when trolling for albacore tuna in the gray of dawn and late evening. As the day brightens, lighter color lures become the better producers. In addition, as the sun continues to grow stronger, keep the lure deeper in the water while trolling. If the wind begins to blow and the ocean starts to get sloppy, your tuna feathers may become ineffective and spend too much time skipping across the surface, this is a good time to consider switching to a Jet Head Lure or some other heavier tuna type jig like the LOLO Lure. Other types of swimbaits can also be very productive for catching albacore tuna, especially when fishing the slide.