Saturday, December 8, 2007

Fish Profile - Bluefin Tuna

Typical Habitat

Bluefin are a migratory species that are believed to roam according to food availability, water temperature and spawning habits. Very little is known about their patterns. Some scientists theorize that Western Atlantic bluefin will migrate between North Carolina and New England, following schools of baitfish, until they reach sexual maturity at age four or five. After that, it is believed that they migrate to the Gulf of Mexico to spawn, and return to the NC waters in wintertime.

Angling Tips
Catching giants by rod and reel requires the largest of high quality reels spooled often with 200 lbs. test line. The two primary methods are trolling with rigged natural baits or artificial squids on spreader bars and bait fishing on anchor with live baits or chunks of local prey such as herring or mackerel. The movements of bluefin are highly variable and there are numerous ways to lose a hooked giant. Therefore, catch rates are typically low in this fishery. This fact does not diminish the enthusiasm shown among anglers. The expenditures by thousands of hopeful anglers pursuing bluefin tuna in Massachusetts is an economic force in itself. Smaller bluefin tuna are fished in similar patterns as the giants, with a downsizing of rod and reel size and line strength to match the target.

Eating Quality
If you are going to keep one for the table take care to bleed and chill your catch quickly. Tuna should be carefully gutted also soon after capture. The bright red flesh is excellent on the grill after marinating in your favorite concoction. Be sure not to over cook and dry out the flesh. This type of tuna lends itself well to sushimi and can be eaten raw using wasabi and soy to garnish and spice the ancient ritual.