Tuna Fishing - Sinking Stickbaits for Bluefin

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Instructor: Seth Hartwick

Bluefin tuna are a discerning big game species, and precision is crucial for successful fishing. Seth Hartwick offers tips on sinking stickbaits, lure sizes, natural presentations, bird behavior, rigging, and optimal hooks. He also covers essential gear like reels and rods. This fishing video is a valuable learning tool for anglers interested in casting lures to bluefin tuna.

Description / Review / Instructor


  • Topic: Bluefin Tuna Fishing
  • Focus: Precision in every aspect of fishing
  • Lures: Use of sinking stickbaits
  • Advantage: Avoiding interference from birds
  • Expert Advice: Seth Hartwick, an experienced tuna fisherman
  • Lure Specifics: Importance of size, color, and resemblance to what tuna feed on
  • Video Insights: Techniques, lure presentation, boat positioning, and understanding bird behavior

Bluefin tuna fishing, at the highest level, demands precision and adaptability. The behavior of bluefin tuna, coupled with environmental factors, demands a strategic approach. These fish are known for their speed and strength, making them challenging targets. Their discerning nature means they're not easily fooled by subpar techniques or equipment.

The use of sinking stickbaits is a tactical response to the presence of birds like shearwaters during fishing. These birds, attracted by the commotion of baitfish being attacked, can interfere with fishing by going after lures near the surface. By using lures that sink, you effectively place your bait below the zone of bird activity, increasing the chances of reaching the tuna without disturbance.

This approach underscores the necessity of understanding the ecosystem in which you're fishing. It's not just about the target species, but also about how other elements in the environment interact with your fishing strategy. Bluefin tuna fishing, therefore, becomes an exercise in observation, understanding, and reaction to the dynamic environment of the ocean. This level of complexity adds to the thrill and satisfaction of the sport, making it a deeply engaging experience for those who partake in it.

Sinking Stickbaits: The Perfect Lure

Sinking stickbaits truly stand out as a versatile tool in the world of tuna fishing. Their design allows for casting over great distances, a critical factor when targeting fish like bluefin tuna which often feed far from the boat. The weight of these lures not only aids in casting distance but also ensures a rapid descent into deeper waters, effectively bypassing the zone where birds might interfere.

Seth Hartwick's expertise in tuna fishing adds valuable insights into this discussion. With his extensive experience in various renowned tuna fisheries around the globe, Seth brings a wealth of knowledge about the habits and preferences of bluefin tuna. His understanding of these fish's strength, unpredictability, and selective feeding habits positions him as an authoritative figure in the sport.

Seth's emphasis on sinking stickbaits highlights their effectiveness across diverse fishing environments. Whether fishing off the rocky shores of Cape Cod, the temperate waters of North Carolina, the warm Gulf of Mexico, or the Pacific waters near San Diego, these lures prove their worth. Their adaptability to different sea conditions and depths makes them indispensable for any angler serious about catching bluefin tuna.

In sharing his techniques, Seth would likely focus on how to effectively utilize sinking stickbaits in various locales. This could include tips on how to adjust casting techniques based on current and wind conditions, how to vary retrieval speeds and patterns to mimic injured baitfish, and how to read the water to identify promising tuna feeding grounds. His insights would be invaluable for anglers looking to refine their approach and increase their success rate in catching this elusive and challenging species.

The Benefits of Sinking Stickbaits

The effectiveness of sinking stickbaits in bluefin tuna fishing goes beyond their ability to evade birds by sinking. Successfully triggering a bluefin tuna bite requires a comprehensive understanding of lure selection and rigging techniques. The importance of "matching the hatch" is paramount in this context.

Bluefin tuna, known for their keen vision and selective feeding habits, are often described as lure and line shy. This means that the choice of lure—its size, color, and movement—is crucial. If the lure doesn't closely mimic the tuna's natural prey in size and appearance, the chances of attracting a bite significantly decrease. The choice of lure color and size should reflect the type of baitfish that bluefin are feeding on in the area. For example, a lure resembling a local herring or mackerel in waters where these are the primary prey will likely be more successful.

Seth's insights into the optimal weight range of lures (100-150 grams) for bluefin tuna are invaluable. This weight range allows for the necessary casting distance and sinking behavior while being substantial enough to attract larger fish. Furthermore, the way these lures are rigged plays a critical role in hook-up ratios. Proper rigging ensures that the lure behaves naturally in the water and that the hooks are positioned for effective penetration when a tuna strikes.

When it comes to hooks, the strength and durability are non-negotiable due to the size and power of bluefin tuna. Seth's preferred hooks and rigging methods likely involve heavy-duty, corrosion-resistant hooks that can withstand the immense force of a bluefin strike and fight. He might recommend specific hook sizes and types, depending on the fishing conditions and the size of the fish targeted. Additionally, the orientation of the hooks on the stickbait is a nuanced aspect that can significantly impact the success rate. Correctly positioned hooks minimize the chances of a fish throwing the hook during the fight and maximize the likelihood of a secure hook-set.

In summary, successful bluefin tuna fishing with sinking stickbaits involves a deep understanding of the fish's behavior, careful selection of lures in terms of size, color, and weight, and meticulous attention to rigging techniques and hook choice. Seth's expertise in these areas provides invaluable guidance for anglers aiming to enhance their bluefin tuna fishing skills.

Key Takeaways Frome This Video

The key takeaway from this video is the importance of precision in all aspects of your fishing. Your lure presentations need to be as natural as possible. Your boat positioning should enable you to cast your lure in a way that the bluefin would naturally eat it. If anything is off, you won't get a bite.

Learn all these intricate details to become a more knowledgeable fisherman. Simple things like knowing when to cast to the school and how the birds are behaving can make all the difference.

Seth will also share which lures he finds most successful, what to look for in lure build quality, rods, reels, line, leader systems, must-have tools, and much more in this Sinking Stickbaits for Bluefin Tuna video.

The best fishermen in the world make it look easy. Take advantage of what Seth Hartwick is sharing. Accelerate your learning curve, go out there as a more informed angler, and bring more fish to the boat. The universal skills in this fishing video will help you become a better fisherman.

Why are sinking stickbaits effective for bluefin tuna fishing?

Sinking stickbaits avoid interference from birds and allow for long-distance casting with precision. They also sink quickly, keeping them out of reach from diving birds.

What advice does Seth Hartwick provide?

Seth emphasizes the importance of precision, from lure presentation to boat positioning. He shares insights on the best lures, how to rig them, and the behavior of birds during fishing.

Why is it important for the lure to resemble what the tuna are feeding on?

Bluefin tuna are very discerning and lure shy. If your lure doesn't match what they're feeding on, the chances of getting a bite are reduced.

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Seth Hartwick

Seth Hartwick is a topwater fishing enthusiast, traveling worldwide to catch GTs and Tuna using big poppers and stickbaits. He values the natural state of the ocean and far off reefs, and has made over 83 overseas trips. Seth has shared adventures with his dad and works as a journeyman lineman for a power company in SE Michigan.

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