Little Tunny (False Albacore) (Euthynnus alletteratus)

Little Tunny (False Albacore)

  • Size 5 to 15lbs
  • Food Value Low
  • Game Qualities Excellent
  • Habitats Nearshore, Offshore, Inshore
Often confused with Bonito or even Albacore Tuna, Little Tunny is one of the Atlantic’s most relentless gamefish. Because of this, False Albacore fishing is the life’s pursuit of light tackle anglers all over the Atlantic.
 
False Albacore have picked up more than a few nicknames over the years, including Tuna Mac, Albie, and our favorite, Fat Albert. Despite the name, they’re not a “true” Tuna, but they are from the same Scombridae family. They’re closely related to Mackerel Tuna, which is commonly caught in Australia. 
 
The easiest way to tell Little Tunny apart from similar species is the signature “wormy” pattern across its back. That, and the fact that it absolutely does not stop fighting once you hook one.

How big?

The average Little Tunny weighs around 5-15 lbs, and is roughly 25-30” long. The all-tackle record was set by a New Jersey angler at a staggering 36 lb 0 oz, which considering their aggressive nature, must have been one serious fight.
Angler holding prize Little Tunny
A great Little Tunny caught out of Myrtle Beach, SC.
 

When and were?

Little Tunny show up on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, from New England to Brazil, and Great Britain to South Africa. They’re also regularly caught in the Mediterranean. Little Tunny don’t migrate and are usually found within 30 miles of shore. They can sometimes come close enough to land them from the beach in summer!

How to Catch Little Tunny

However you go after Little Tunny, be aware that they can and will fight to the death before letting themselves be brought aboard. Sporting anglers love taking these fish on light tackle, but it’s difficult to release them unharmed afterward. 
 
The main Little Tunny fishing techniques are trolling, fly fishing, or light tackle casting. Light tackle anglers use small spoons and jigs while trollers pull mullet baits or colorful feather lures. Go-to flies include Clouser Minnows and Surf Candies, usually tied with nylon to make them more hard-wearing. 

Good to eat?

Little Tunny have a bad reputation as “trash fish” or “Shark bait” (which, to be fair, they’re excellent for). Many people do enjoy eating them, though – the key is to bleed and ice the fish immediately to preserve the meat. People often soak them in milk to soften the taste. Little Tunny can suffer from parasites, similar to other small Tunas and Mackerels, so they aren’t considered a sushi-grade fish.

Fish Species Similar to Little Tunny (False Albacore)

King Mackerel (Kingfish)

Tuna (Bluefin)

Tuna (Skipjack)

Tuna (Yellowfin)

Tuna (Albacore)

Spanish Mackerel

Tuna (Blackfin)

Tuna (Dogtooth)

Bonito

Tuna (Bigeye)

Spanish Mackerel (Narrow-barred)


Nearby Little Tunny (False Albacore) Fishing Charters

Top Little Tunny (False Albacore) Fishing Destinations