Tackle Guide: Vertical Jigging for Bluefin Tuna

What does it seem like when a 200-pound bluefin tuna that can swimming at over 40 miles per hour knocks a jig? This season, put yourself at the right place, at the correct time, with all the right gear and there’s a great chance you’ll discover on your own.

Vertical jigging is definitely a fantastic method for catching bluefin tuna. It’s an adrenaline-pumping, active, and plain enjoyable method to fish. If you’ve never captured a bluefin tuna in the past, it’s a terrific method to catch your first. And if you’ve caught them utilizing other techniques, jigging is an excellent technique to add to your arsenal. It is even versatile enough that you can jig all at once while utilizing other strategies, consisting of drifting live bait, to increase your odds of success.

Rods, Reels & Line

Your option of gear and how to rig it for these vertical jigging getaways is important. If there’s one fish that is going to test your rods, reels, line, and deal with, it is the bluefin tuna. If there’s a weak link, this is the fish that is going to expose it. Therefore you need to take notice of your equipment choices and how you put all of it together, starting from the line and ending at the lure.

For spinning set-ups, I choose Van Staal rods and reels, specifically the VSB250 reel with either the 6-foot, 6-inch or 7-foot 325- gram rod. I likewise use Shimano Stella spinning reels (designs 18000 and 20000) on the very same rods. Van Staal makes a GT rod that is 8 feet long for casting lures to topwater fish. These longer rods will cast better, however they have the tendency to beat up on the angler more during the battle, as the utilize is more on the fish’s side. I go with the 7-foot rod if I wish to cast at fish, however the 6-foot, 6-inch is my preferred for vertical jigging with a spinning reel.

The VSB250 will hold 300 lawns of 80-pound-test Cortland C16 spliceable braid, to which I add a 90-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. (I likewise have similar combos holding 100-pound C16 and a 130-pound fluorocarbon leader.) For a leader, I prefer the Seaguar Blue Label Big Game fluorocarbon. The Seaguar Premier is also of excellent quality, however it’s not as stiff. The 90-pound-test Huge Game coils are readily available in 30 meter lengths, so you can get about 5 18- to 20-foot leaders off one of these coils. Long leaders are key for vertical jigging as they conceal your line, for that reason leave about 15 feet of leader after splicing in about 4 to 5 inches, whipping your splice with wax fly-tying line. While this appropriates for vertical jigging, an 8- to 10-foot leader is preferable for casting considering that leader coils off the spindle at a slower rate.

With the longer leader, line color most likely does not make much difference, nevertheless I do have green and black C16 along with the white. Maybe it is simply superstition, however on dark, overcast days, I grab the darker colored line. For my reels with the white line, I make a mark at the first 100 backyards with red permanent ink so I understand when I am down to last 100 lawns– suggesting it is time to start the engines if the fish is still running. Usually, none of my reels are spooled by a machine; I hand-wind all my reels so I have the ability to determine the line and understand precisely what I have. Putting line on reels is best as a two-person procedure. Discover a neighbor, pal or moderately unwilling spouse who has a few spare minutes, lockdown the drag and put up to 20 pounds of pressure on the line while laying it on the reels so there won’t be problems later on with the line burying into itself.

For those of you who like traditional jigging set ups, I suggest the Van Staal 5-foot 8-inch 500-gram (VJC58-500) rod with the Shimano Talica 25II which holds 550 backyards of 100-pound-test C16. This reel is excellent since it includes a 2-speed choice and– if you dare– 45 pounds of drag. If you are more comfy being setup on stand-up, then this is the way to go as the reel is geared up with complete harness clips but the set-up has a light-tackle feel. I think that with the bigger average size of the fish this year, this will be my go-to setup for landing tuna in the 300-pound class.


Rods, reels, line– examine! Let’s proceed to take on. RonZ baits, in the 3X and 4X sizes, are favorably my go-to lure. I use the 3X lead head on days with increased present and the tin head series on days with lighter present. While the 3X is sometimes considered too light for larger fish, I have landed fish in 200-pound variety on it without issue. With your RonZ baits, use chafing equipment and mini-crimps. My general rule is no knots; I splice and crimp whatever. As soon as a RonZ is placed on one of my rods, that RonZ is on the rod till I lose the head. Another option is the popular Shimano Butterfly or other metal jigs, which I began fishing more often last season with consistent results. An advantage to the Butterfly jigs is that they have an amazing selection of design and color, more so than any other jig type.

I put split rings on the metal jigs as a solid 300-pound ring on the rod makes it extremely simple to alter out lures without cutting line and losing leader length. Invest in a sound pair of split-ring pliers and you will like the convenience of this setup! These rings will likewise work with topwater plugs and once again removes knots and lowers the waste of fluorocarbon line, which is costly. It is definitely quicker to change out tackle with split rings than to cut the line and retie, plus no knot is as strong as a good crimp. Keep in mind to examine the back of the crimp box to understand the scale and match it exactly with the leader. Using the right crimp with the right line size is important. Moreover, split rings should match the jig size– the larger the jig or hook, the larger the split ring. Butterfly jigs will list the hook and split-ring sizes right on the package, while some brand names come currently setup. When additionaling the hook yourself, keep in mind that the Owner Beast hooks perform well.

In selecting your lure of choice, consider what bait the tuna are dialed in on. If they’re eating sand eels, herring, mackerel or whatever, simulate that bait as best you can. From year to year, the “hot” lure modifications as the environment the tuna are in modifications. From Butterfly jigs to RonZ baits to other topwater lures and live bait, every year and even during the season there is a shift regarding which will be the leader, making it important to keep modifying your methods to stay on top of what the fish want. For instance, early last summer season I was throwing away silver and pearl RonZ over and over with surprisingly little action, as these had actually been my number-one colors from the year before. I then tried a black and quickly the fish starting slamming it. The fish were typed in on herring and mackerel in early June, so perhaps the black worked better since it imitated the darker backs of the baitfish or the darker stripes of the mackerel. While you constantly gain from experience, the lesson is remembering to switch it up when needed to improve your success.