It is late March and Bluefin have already appeared in SoCal fishing counts. It’s the time of year where tackle shops are slammed with anglers gearing up for the season. If you are lucky enough to get a spot on a charter boat this year or brave the fuel costs and chase these trophies on your own, here are some of the knots and rigging we recommend you look into.
Knot Basics for Big Tuna
There are a few things to consider when deciding on line and rigging you will be using.
Who is going to be rigging the rods?
Is it you rigging your equipment or is it a deckhand? Regardless, you will want to understand what you are fishing. But if you will be rigging your gear, having full comprehension is a necessity. Make sure you know the answers to the following points.
What size fish are you going for?
On long range boats in Southern California, you will be seeing fish anywhere from 30-300 lbs. Sometimes they're on the surface, but mostly they will be far beneath. Sometimes they don't care about line weight, but oftentimes they can be extremely finicky. If you’re fishing the North-East, you’re in an entirely different weight class requiring much different rigging.
What presentation will you be fishing?
This is another ever-changing aspect of targeting tuna. You can fly-line live bait with light line. You can fish the kite with a flyer skipping across the surface. You can throw a popper or even a surface iron. But for SoCal tuna, you're typically going to be fishing a live bait suspended in the water column or the good ole flutter style jig.
What rod and reel combos will you be fishing?This is vital to your knot and rigging choice. You want to make sure you will not be over or under fishing your equipment. Make sure your line choice and presentation match the setup.
For these questions, the best bet is to give your local tackle shop or landing a call and see what the conditions are and what they are biting on. They have the most recent knowledge and love to help people get prepared.Once you have an understanding of the above topics, you need to decide on what knot works best for your purpose. Knot tying is one of the most defining aspects of tuna fisherman. Everyone has their own preference and there is no guaranteed right way to guarantee the best result. There are many aspects and points of failure in knot tying so do your research and take your time!
Here are some uses and knot types we recommend for tuna fishing as well as some tutorial videos.
Backing to Leader
Considered the strongest braid to the leader knot. Takes practice and time. Excellent for heavy line use.
Improved Albright Knot
Fairly fast and simple tie and is great for general lighter use. Slim and easy on guides.
A little more precise but very reliable.
Double Uni Knot
Very well known and trusted, but bulky and not as reliable for heavier lines. Great for very light use where mono/fluoro can slip with Albright Knot
Mono to Fluoro Leader
Quick and easy and very reliable.
Dependable and easy as well. Great for heavy line.
Line to Tackle
San Diego Jam
Used for typing hooks, jigs, weights and more. Very reliable, takes some practice to tie and pull tight correctly.
Used for lighter purposes. Quick and easy to tie.
Popular and reliable as well. A little more labor intensive than others.