Tuna Fishing: Livelier Live Bait

Most tuna fishing trips are an experience of extremes: long boat rides, hours of trolling, and brief burst of intense fishing action. Because tuna travel and feed in schools, when a charter boat gets one tuna bite, there are normally hundreds or thousands of hungry tuna in the area.

One way that you can ensure that you outcompete the other fishermen on the charter boat fishing with you is to fish with the liveliest live bait.

Here are a few tips that can increase the odds that a hungry tuna will bite your line:


Live bait quickly loses its vitality and swimming power once it's removed from the bait tank. Thus, one of the keys to having livelier bait is to keep your bait in the tank until the moment you need it. The biggest issue with waiting until the last moment to grab a piece of bait is that other fishermen on the boat are likely to swarm the bait tank simultaneously with you. To avoid this traffic jam at the bait tank, you should consider hooking your live ahead of time and leaving your hooked piece of live bait in the tank until the moment you're ready to cast it into the water. This strategy will ensure that you're ready to make a critical cast before anyone else on the boat.


Hooking live bait is a delicate balance; you need to make sure that your bait is securely on the hook but you also need to keep your bait alive. To balance these concerns you should consider hooking your live bait through the tip of its nose.  Most species of baitfish (pogies, anchovies, smelt, etc.) have a bony, hollow, space at the tip of their noses that makes it easy to hook the fish without causing significant internal damage. To increase the security of your hook set, it's essential to make sure that the your hook barb clears the top of the baitfish's nose.

Weight less

One of the biggest mistakes made by novice tuna anglers is excessively weighting down their tuna rigs. Although putting an extra split shot or two on your rig will make it easier to cast, it will also prevent your live bait from swimming naturally. One of the ways to increase your casting distance without weighting down your tuna rig is to switch to braid line. Because braid line is thinner and slicker than monofilament fishing line you will cast further even if your tuna rig is lighter.

For most anglers, tuna fishing represents the pentacle of sport fishing. These tips can help increase your odds of getting a tuna bite on the next charter boat trip you take with a company like Oregon Inlet Fishing Center Inc.