Yellow fin tuna is one of the most sought after fish species in the world. They are a warm water fish, but they can be found in colder waters when they feel threatened. Yellow fin tuna have been around for about 10 million years and can reach up to 7 feet long and weigh as much as 600 pounds!

The best way to catch yellowfin tuna is by trolling with live bait or lures on your line or through jigging one once you have found a school. The average weight of an adult yellowfin tuna is 15 pounds, so keep your expectations realistic if you plan on catching one! That 600 pounder might not be that easy to catch 😉

How To Catch Yellow Fin Tuna

When you’re out on your next fishing trip, don’t forget to invest in the best tools for trolling. Not only are these fish difficult and fierce fighters, they also make a great meal! In this article we’ll review some of our favorite tips and gear that can help you catch more yellowfin.

There are few ways to catch yellow fin with trolling being one of the most effective methods – Yellowfin isn’t just challenging but it an awesome fighter for both beginner anglers as well professional ones. Trolling at about 6 to 7 knots close to boils and diving birds is your best indication of the action under the water.

A fish finder will confirm, bit your best equipment to actually find the fish is going to be your eyes and your instincts.

Why Trolling Is Best For Yellowfin Tuna

Trolling is without a doubt one of the best methods to catch yellowfin. The technique can be very effective and really fun. Trolling allows you to cover more fishing spots than any other method, which means that once you get hooked on it, its hard for anyone else in your boat not too!

One good thing about trolling for yellowfin is that it provides consistency when catching fish; meaning if I’m looking for success every time I go fishing, then this would be my preferred choice because with just one line out there are less chances of me coming back empty handed.

If you do get on the fish, they don’t swim alone. If you find a decent size boil or feeding school it may be worth having a few jigging rods set up to try this as well.

The Best Rods For Fishing Yellowfin Tuna

One of the most difficult decisions you will need to make when you are first getting started is choosing the right rod for the task. To help you make the right decision we have put together the following best fishing rods for yellow fin fishing.

1. Fiblink Bent Butt fishing Rods:

This rod is built to handle large catches like yellow fin, whether you are fishing freshwater or saltwater. It has a fiberglass blank construction that improves its strength. For extra functionality, the seat has tapered hood transitions below and above the seat protector.

In addition to these functionalities, the following are what make these fishing rods one of the best when fishing yellow fin.

Fiblink Bent Butt Fishing Rod 2 Piece Trolling Rod Saltwater Offshore Rod Conventional Boat Big Game Fishing...
  • Solid Construction---Bent butt fishing rod solid fiberglass construction provides unmatched strength and...
  • SeaGuide LR Guide---The sea guide boat rod guides contain corrosion-resistant properties on the frames and...
  • All-Aluminum Reel Seat --Aluminum alloy wheel seat with tapered hood transitions above and below reel seat...
  • Aluminum bent butt handle---The bottom of the handle does include a cross cut butt for easy mounting;In addition,it...

  • The backbone and the tip are very sensitive.
  • It comes with premium stainless steel roller guides for a corrosion-free finish
  • It also comes with a groove design to align guide and stop rotation
  • Superb price

2. Shakespeare Ugly Stick Tuna Rod:

This fishing rod is perfectly designed for catching giant game fish. This design is very important during long fishing trips. Its light EVA grip complements its construction by improving the comfort of your hand. Shakespeare Ugly Stick tuna rod also comes with corrosion-free guides that stop insert pop-outs and the following are other great features that make this fishing rod one of the best for fishing yellowfin.

Shakespeare One-Piece Ugly Stik Big Water Standup Tuna Rod (5-Feet 6-Inch)
  • One-piece 5'6" rod
  • Durable "Ugly Tuff" EVA grips, graphite Fuji reel seats with corrosion resistant stainless steel hoods
  • Exclusive "Ugly Back" 60-day/5-year warranty
  • Top quiality Fuji guides feature stainless steel frames with aluminum oxide inserts

  • It has a light body
  • It comes with a lightweight ECA grip for extra comfort
  • It has reel seats with water-resistant cushioned hoods

 Best Reels For Fishing Yellowfin Tuna

There are different sizes and performances of reels in the market, but when it comes to fishing yellowfin you need a reel that can battle the fish in the water. The best reel for yellowfin should be strong, durable, and should give you control over the bait. The following are some of the best reels for fishing yellowfin.

1. Penn Fathom 30 Lever 2-Speed Lever Drag:

Penn offers some fantastic reels, but this is the best when targeting yellowfin. This fishing reel comes with a ratchet lever that helps in preventing drag creep that occurs due to long vibration. The following are what make it an ideal reel for fishing yellowfin.

Penn 1292933 Fathom 30 Lever 2-Speed Lever Drag Fishing Reel, Black Gold, FTH30LD2
  • Heavy-duty lever drag fishing reel offers phenomenal durability and cranking power
  • Full metal body and side plates constructed from die-cast aluminum for rigidity
  • Quick Shift 2-speed system easily shifts into high or low gear
  • Dura-Drag system virtually eliminates snags and hesitation, even under extreme drag settings

  • It has a stainless steel gear that makes it perfect for fishing yellowfin in saltwater.
  • It comes with aircraft-grade steel bearing

2. Shimano Tekota Levelwind Reel:

If you are looking for a reliable fishing reel for yellowfin, this is another perfect choice. This reel is built to offer direct access to the spool which leads to a better fishing experience. The line management offers better control on the bail wire. The following features make this reel a perfect choice for fishing yellowfin.

Shimano Tekota 700 Saltwater Star Drag Reel with Line Counter
  • The Tekota trolling reel is a great solution for anglers who troll for both fresh and saltwater species by offering...
  • Constructed into a one-piece die-cast aluminum frame that provides tight tolerances and durability and is built to...
  • Featuring a unique crossbar-forward design that provides direct access to the spool and a non-disengaging...
  • Offers specially treated Anti-Rust Bearings that are at least 10 times more corrosion-resistant than standard...

  • It is lightweight and durable
  • It has multiple size option
  • It has direct access to the spool

Best Lures For Catching Yellowfin Tuna

When fishing live bait, small mackerel and sardines work very well with yellowfin. Herring is also better live bait if you can locate the school of them. If you are confused about the type of live bait to use, head over to your local fish shop and discuss with the staff.

They will tell you what has been working well in the area. And if you want to troll artificial bait, then the following are the 5 best trolling lures for catching Yellow fin.

  1. Shimano Butterfly jig: this jig comes in sizes from 2-3 / 4oz to 11.5oz. Color selections include black silver, black anchovy, blue sardine, brown- silver, green-silver, chartreuse-silver, orange-gold, pink- blue, pink, phantom squid, purple-silver, super glow, sandy eel, silvery-white, and zebra glow.
  2. Little stubby Trolling Lure: this is 5-1 / 2 inches long and weighs 2 ounces. Color selections include pink –white or blue-white. This is an easy trolling skirt lure with a flat face.
  3. Green Machine Tuna Lure: These lures come in 9 and 12 inches lengths. This is probably one of the best tuna lures of all time. You can rig it alone or in a series, the action is too tempting for yellowfin to resist.
  4. Soft Plastic: Slug-Go, Hogy, and the like are common plastic baits used in some areas. Find a size from 10 to 12 inches and use them with a heavy-duty fluorocarbon line.
  5. Ballyhoo Naked Tuna Trolling Bait: Trolling ballyhoo is a good way to fish for yellowfin. These baits give a natural appearance and add scent to the lures.

How To Fight a Yellow Fin Tuna.

Fishing 100 pounds yellowfin requires stamina, strength, and perseverance. The fact is that it will surely put your physical strength and fishing skill to test. So, before your fishing trip, be sure to sleep through the night to get enough energy for your fishing trip. Fishing yellowfin is like a period of intense exercise, so be prepared before battling a heavy yellowfin.

Make sure your drag is ready before setting the hoot and expect some serious runs and head shaking. They fight to the end so make sure you keep the lines tight, the shaking is to loosen your hook. Keeping pressure on it increases your chances of landing it.

If you plan on keeping the fish you can use a gaff to bring it onboard, but if not avoid injury to the fish and use a landing net.

Also be very wary of pulling the fish up with the line and on to the boat. Fish weight is supported by water, once you bring them up they will weight more. This is both stressful to the fish, and to you if at that final moment you break the line!

How to catch yellowfin tuna

How to Find Yellow Fin Tuna.

Big as yellowfin are, obviously the sea is bigger. Finding them can be a little challenging if you are setting off on your own boat rather than a chartered trip.

Here are 5 tips to help you try to get your lines in amongst them. Trolling for tuna is one of the most exciting ways to fish. Tuna are very strong and fast, so they can be hard on your gear

  • If trolling offshore I would recommend throwing out some squid or shrimp on one rod while having another with live bait such as sardines to attract larger fish like tuna!
  • Make sure you have decent fishing line on, hi vis line is probably best as the bait or lure is moving fast enough to not be seen by your target fish.
  • Watch your speed, you want to present the bait to the fish in a way that it’s not too fast or slow. 6 to 7 knots is optimal, it also may tempt a dorado or dolphin fish as well.
  • Use more than one rod if possible, and spread them out over the back of the boat. more skin in the game the better the results!
  • Before trolling offshore (or anywhere) at night – get yourself some good lights, both for your visibility and to attract bait fish and squid to your boat.
  • I would recommend using a variety of baits and lures. Different colors and actions depending on both the sea state and the weather.


So in summary the hardest thing about tuna fishing, after the actual fight, is being able to spot the fish in the water. Once you have found a school of bait fish, then getting a yellowfin tuna on the end of your line should surely follow.

If you are looking for something that still puts up a hell of a fight, but is a little smaller, check out our tuna fishing article on skipjack fishing here

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