tuna lures in the spread
Oct 3, 2022

Tuna Lures | Casting to Yellowfin and Bluefin

When I think about tuna lures, my brain either goes to trolling or casting. Seems logical, right? For me, trolling lures has always been a favorite. I love trolling for tuna, wahoo and marlin. The big difference and where things get serious and far more interactive is when you start chucking lures, especially when you are working schools of big yellowfin tuna and bluefin tuna. There is nothing like the surface detonation a large tuna makes when it explodes on your lure.


Since tuna primarily feed in the very upper portion of the water column, you find a huge assortment of tuna lures being made to work in that space. Tuna lures like surface poppers and stickbaits, along with those that swim a few feet below the surface like sinking stickbaits are very popular. When fish are down deeper, jigs come in quite handy. Those are really the main categories of tuna lures, poppers, stickbaits and jigs. Within each of those categories is a super wide range of designs.


With so many tuna lures on the market, at wildly different price points, how do you determine which products are worth investing your money and time into? A great place to start would be talking to fishermen that are smart, articulate, very experienced and open to sharing everything they know. Since you are reading this blog article, you have made the smart decision to save yourself both time and money. That is what I do at In The Spread. I go out and do the ground work for you, by curating sets of fishing knowledge.


When it comes to sharing knowledge on any fishing topic, my thinking has always been to find fishermen that have dedicated themselves to a very specific fishing technique and have gotten damn good at it. I then go about to try and extract every last bit of information, for the benefit of you and me. In this case, I wanted to find a fisherman that had dedicated themselves to the art of casting lures to tuna, who has fished all over the world, is extravagantly accomplished and learn everything I could from them.


Since I have had the pleasure of fishing with a lot of great fishermen around the world and used a wide variety of lures for tuna, I wanted to pick the brain of one of the more elite tuna fishermen out there. Do you know the mantra, the more you do something, the better you are going to be at it? Well that is certainly the case with my good friend Seth Hartwick. He is a tuna tested world traveler, having fished most of the major tuna fisheries around the world. Seth operates in a network of elite global and regional tuna fishing experts.


Tuna Lure Videos

What I set out to do withh Seth Hartwick was to assemble a collection of videos focused on lures for tuna fishing. This is the best way to present a breadth of information. He and I spent a day talking tuna and sharing collective experiences, before launching into filming the following tuna lure videos. This is a comprehensive approach to breaking down which lures work the best for surface and sub-surface fishing. To learn more about the specific lures and tactics Seth uses and recommends, check out these tuna lure videos:



The aforementioned videos and the information herein provides a pretty clear picture of the types of lures and manufacturers that you can find success with on the water. There are so many quality tuna lure makers out there. I just want to offer you a glimpse of stuff that works for an outstanding tuna fisherman like Seth Hartwick. Where you go from there is up to you.


Great Tuna Fishermen

The unique thing I encounter most with great fishermen is how much time they put into understanding the behavior of a given species. By analyzing what and why a species does what it does, they are able to distill their tactics down to what has the greatest probability of working, in any given on the water scenario. It matters not what the ocean or atmospheric conditions are doing. Great fishermen have a heightened sense of situational awareness that allows them to thrive when others struggle. These are the type of fishermen you want to learn from.


Seth has learned from, watched and fished with his own group of amazing tuna fishermen. He has traveled across the planet over and over to test his abilities and knowledge. By doing this and constantly testing his own skills, he has established a benchmark for how he expects a lure to perform, from its build quality to the way it swims. He has perfected his process by continual study and maximizing his time on the water. You have to opportunity to now learn from him and fine tune your own program.


Tuna Lures

The topic of yellowfin and bluefin tuna lures is hotly debated. With so many options out there, where do you start? A few key aspect to consider are build quality, swim performance, visual design and cast-ability. Keep in mind that you want a lure to casts well and swims naturally.


The more you learn and the more you fish, the better able you become at fine tuning your presentations. At the upper echelon of big game fishing, there is very little margin for error. Everything needs to be right. This is where you should only have the best in your quiver.


When you talk about lure quality, you want one that is purpose built to take the beating a tuna is going to inflict. This is where through wire construction comes into play. Not every manufacturer does this, the good ones will, but it is critical. Tuna, especially big tuna, put a beating on a lure and nothing sucks more that having your lure crumble under the crushing punishment of repeated tuna bites. With through wire construction, it doesn't matter if you lure splits in half, each hook will stay attached to your line. You can learn more about this in the videos Seth made with us.


How a lure swims in the water has a lot to do with whether it gets eaten. If the lure swims at the wrong angle, has a weird vibration pattern or is not weighted properly, tuna will pass on it. Tuna lures must look natural in the water. The closer you can mimic the look and behavior of the fish tuna feed on, the better your odds. This is why the best tuna lures, have paint and finish that rival high end sport cars.


Top Tuna Lures

The last thing you want when you are hooked up to that fish of a lifetime is to have your lure disintegrate. Getting to the point where you know the very best lure designers generally requires a combination of being well connected with top fishermen, spending a lot of time experimenting with lures, shopping at the finest tackle stores or spending time on this site, wink-wink.


Saying something is among the best is a bold statement. So, to discuss top tuna lures, you better know what you are talking about. We stand by our list because the lures we consider tops have been put through the paces in some of the best fisheries in the world. They are all tuna tested by a cadre of the best tuna fishermen in the world. Ultimately, we all have out preferences. What you chose to fish depends on what you have success with, what the fish wants to eat and where in the water column they are feeding.


You can expect tuna lure manufacturers like Heru, SaltyWater Tackle, Tackle House, Siren, Jack Fin and Amegari to deliver some of the finest wares on the market. They can be pricey, but there is huge value in fishing lure made by these companies. If you want to know specific lure names and sizes for either yellowfin tuna or bluefin tuna, check out the videos linked above. For more moderately priced lures, I would go with OTI (Ocean Tackle International), Yo-Zuri, Halco and Frenzy Tackle. All of these are tried and true to their purpose. You cannot go wrong with any of these, based on your budget.


Casting Tuna Lures

Once you have your kit of lures situated, the next trick is dialing in your angling. Given that you may have to cast a good ways off, tuna lures need to be designed and weighted for efficient casting distance and accuracy. Casting lures to tuna is precision fishing. Tuna have good eyesight and brilliant instincts, so your lures need to be well made and presented properly. You should have them swimming in the right direction, relative to the movements of the school. They should also look natural in the way they are made to swim. A baitfish does not swim in the direction of a tuna, but rather it flees for its life. So, fish it that way.


There is a real art to casting lures with precision and distance. While there are many similarities between yellowfin tuna and bluefin tuna fishing, there are also some rather discernible differences. Yes, you need to be able to cast your lures for distance and accuracy, but you also want swimming performance. Your tuna lures and tackle need to be durably hardy. Those are all givens. When it comes down to the actual presentations you make, bluefin are far more picky about what they eat. Lures need to be top notch. This is where the multiple coats of paint and epoxy come into play. It's also why bluefin tuna lures cost a little more. You might be able to fool a yellowfin with a beat up old lure that still swims well, but a bluefin is more likely to shy away from it.


To learn more about tuna fishing and tuna lures, visit our Tuna Fishing Videos library.


Seth Horne

Dev Con

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