Skipjack Tuna

Skipjack Tuna

jumping skipjack tuna
  • Peak Season: May-August
  • Best Charter:Full Day Offshore
  • Best Technique: Trolling
  • Best Bait: Feathers
  • Table Fare: Decent if bled

How to Catch Skipjack Tuna

Skipjack roam the open gulf stream in large schools constantly searching for food. We are always looking for working birds because they signify predator interaction. Skipjack often travel in large schools and often mixed in with blackfin tuna. Skipjack Tuna don't grow much larger than 20lbs, but when one eats a bait you'll know immediately. We consider these tuna one of the fastest and hardest fighting in their weight class. Skipjack make incredibly long initial runs after eating baits and multiple hookups are very common.

lure for skipjack

Best Lures for Skipjack Tuna

The best method for targeting skipjack is definitely trolling. Pink feathers and swimming ballyhoo can be awesome batis. Skipjack tuna can be spooky so letting baits further back behind the boat is important. Equally important is avoiding the school. Proper procedure is to circle around them and allow the baits to cross through the middle of the action (not the boat). Skipjack can be leader shy as well, so 60-80lb monofilament is the heaviest we like to go (other fish can eat these offerings so we prefer not to use lighter leader). 

Skipjack vs Bonito

Skipjack are not bonito (false albacore). Skipjack are actually decent table fare and you can tell the difference because of the horizontal lines in the belly region. Bonito on the other hand have no lines and swirls (we call them swirlbacks). Skipjack are delicious, especially as poke or eaten raw when prepared correctly. Make sure you know the difference, skipjack are definitely decent table-fare while bonito are better off as bait. 

frigate bird divingBirds often signify predator interaction with bait fish. Large, fast moving flocks are a tell tale sign of tuna.