Tuna (Blackfin) Fishing (Thunnus atlanticus)

All Tackle Record
49lbs, 6oz

Tuna (Blackfin) Fishing (Thunnus atlanticus)

The smallest member of the Thunnus genus and the sister fish of prized catches such as the Yellowfin and Bluefin Tuna, the Blackfin should not be overlooked neither as a game fish nor as a meal.

The species is considered to be one of the toughest light tackle fish, with flesh quality comparable to that of the Yellowfin. What the Blackfin lose in size, they make up in numbers and willingness to bite.

These pelagic fish usually feed close to the surface, where they often swim in large, similar sized schools mixed with Skipjack Tuna, with larger Blackfin close behind, deeper and in fewer numbers. They prefer warm waters above 70°F, but also migrate from very hot to cooler seas during the summer.

How big

Blackfin Tuna grow to about 40'' and up to 50lbs. They are commonly caught anywhere between 2 and 20lbs, with the average fish being about 7lbs.

When & Where

This is an unusual Tuna species in that their reach is limited. They inhabit temperate and tropical waters of the western Atlantic Ocean, sometimes found as far north as Cape Cod, but mostly south of North Carolina, throughout the Atlantic coast of Florida down to Brazil, including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

The species is highly migratory and moves to more temperate seas during the summer. This is also time for spawning, which occurs in deeper oceanic waters.

The dark short finlets help differentiate the Blackfin from other Tuna species. Caught aboard Marauder off Miami, FL

How to catch

Like most other Tuna, the Blackfin is commonly caught trolling or spin casting natural or artificial bait. Natural choices include live or strip balyhoo, mullet or similar small fish, and lures can be spoons, plugs, feathers or jigs. Other techniques available due to Blackfin Tuna feeding close to the surface include kite fishing, drift fishing, popping, spearfishing and fly fishing.

Blackfin Tuna have large eyes and remarkable vision, perhaps the sharpest of all Tuna fish. This is why the lightest flourocarbon leader is obligatory, as is rigging up before first light or during last light conditions.

Their eyes are fine tuned to detect the flickering of light bouncing off their prey over great distances. This is why chumming with live bait alone will be drastically helpful. Squeezing or stepping on the baitfish will cause them to move and flicker more erratically and will further increase your chances for a bite.

Good to eat?

Excellent when prepared in many different ways, including in raw form.


Season - always open;

Size limit - none;

Bag limit (per angler per day) - none;

Similar Game Fish:

Tuna (Blackfin) Fishing Destinations