How Long Is Tuna Fishing Season

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Tuna is one of the most sought-after eating fish on the planet, and it is so popular for a reason – it is delicious! The most expensive tuna ever sold was a massive 612lb monster blue fin that sold to a Japanese sushi tycoon for 3.1 million dollars, that is one expensive fish! One thing is for sure, the tuna is extremely tasty and massively popular, but it is not just fantastic flavours they offer…

Tuna is an amazing sport fish and they offer the passionate angler a brilliant fight due to their solid muscle strength and incredible speed. The average tuna can reach speeds of up to 50 mph and turn on a hair-pin instantly. It is easy to see why fishing for this saltwater species is so addictive and why people across the world pay through the nose to get out on a boat to fish for them.

If you have ever felt the strength of a big tuna, then you will know what an incredible feeling it is, and you most likely yearn for that feeling again. If you are looking to get more serious about your offshore ventures for tuna you need to know a few things, with the first being when the season starts in different areas, and when the best time is to target this colossal saltwater species.

So, now you are wondering about the tuna fishing season? When does it start, when does it end, and how long does it last? In this article, we will help you understand everything there is to know about the tuna fishing season and how you can use it to your advantage. By the end of this read, you will know exactly when you can get out in your boat to maximize what the season has to offer.

All you need to do now is ask yourself one question. Are you ready to eat tuna tonight?

Can Anyone Fish for Tuna?

The average Joe can fish recreationally for tuna in the U.S.A however there are some rules and regulations that you must follow. First, you must acquire a recreational fishing permit from NOAA. You will need an Atlantic HMS angling permit to fish in all federal and most state waters within the U.S. You must comply and purchase a permit to fish for tuna if it is applicable to you otherwise you can face a hefty fine and conviction. If you want to find out more about fishing permits for tuna in the U.S, head over to the NOAA fisheries website.

Once you acquire a legitimate permit, you must report every tuna you harvest. Adjustments were made in 2018 to the daily retention limit for Atlantic blue fin tuna and you are now only allowed to harvest three fish per boat that are 73-inches or larger. Every single fish you harvest must be reported. Other tuna fish species tend to have fewer restrictions, but it is important that you contact your local fishing authority to check the rules and regulations in your area.

You must also follow the seasons in your particular area closely. You have to make sure you are not actively targeting tuna that are out of season. If you accidentally catch a tuna out of season you must simply catch and release the fish and above all, you should never harvest and kill an out of season fish!

Overall, yes, the average person can head out to catch tuna, but you must acquire the appropriate permit and follow the rules and regulations closely. You mustn’t harvest tuna in the off season and if you do accidentally hook up to one, you will have to release it without harm. Report any fish caught in the open season and stay up to date with the laws, rules, and regulations in your area for the species you are targeting.

When is the Best Time to Fish for Tuna?

Regardless of when the tuna fishing season runs from and how long it is, there are good times to catch tuna and there are bad times to catch tuna. In this section, we will be looking at when the best time is to hook up to one of these powerhouse fish that taste so good on the plate. Heading out at the right time and in the right conditions will increase your chances of hooking up to a tuna and hopefully, save you from coming back to shore empty-handed.

Tuna are most active in the North-eastern parts of the united states during August and September. These months are the best time to actively target tuna and both months fall perfectly in the tuna fishing season, so you can be sure you are fishing legally.

The seasons also affect how active the tuna are at certain times of the year. If the winter before the tuna fishing season was relatively mild and short, then the fish will become active sooner. If this is the case, then you may find yourself catching plenty of tuna in June and July. On the other hand, if a long cold winter preceded the season, then the tuna will likely arrive and get on the feed later in the open season. If this is the case, you will often have more luck from mid-August onward.

When Is Tuna Fishing Season?

The tuna fishing season differs depending on where you are in the world. We will be focusing on the U.S.A in this article and although there is one main season, the season changes from state to state. Make sure you have checked when the season is and if there is one in the area you are fishing in well before you head out on your boat. If your area is not on the list, you can check the NOAA website for information on your area and more in-depth information on the rules and regulations surrounding the following states.

Without further ado, here are the 4 main tuna fishing states and their specific fishing seasons.

Florida

Florida is famously warm all year round and it is known as the fishing capital of the U.S.A. Thousands flock to these waters every year to bag a new personal record of their favorite species, so you will be happy to know that Florida is a great place to fish for tuna. There is no specific tuna fishing season in Florida, and you can technically target them all year round, as long as you have a permit. Of course, you are still unlikely to hook up to anything astonishing during the winter months though, as the water is much colder during this time. Your best chances are between June and September.

California

The tuna fishing season in California starts in July and ends in September. These months are perfect for catching tuna in this state because the weather will likely be on your side. These hot months can provide you with some excellent tuna fishing and they offer a great experience on the boat in the summer sunshine.

Louisiana

Louisiana is a great place to head out and target tuna. There are plenty of different areas that hold tuna of varying species, but you are best heading out with a guide the first time as they can be hard to track down. Once you know where they are or have someone with you that does, you can expect a prolific day with a constant bend in your rod! The tuna fishing season here runs all-year-round but don’t expect to catch during every month of the year. Generally, you will have the best luck during the summer months, but you will find different species present at different times of the year.

Massachusetts

In the North-Eastern parts of America, you will have to rely more on the weather than specific times. In Massachusetts, the tuna fishing season runs from June to November, but the weather really does affect your chances of a bite here. Your best bet is heading out during the months of August and September, but if the weather is poor, the fishing will likely be poor too. If you hit these waters at the right time of year and in the right weather conditions you can have some great luck though. Head out into these waters with low hopes and expectations and you may just be surprised as some colossal blue fin have been harvested off the east coast.

Conclusion

The general tuna fishing season runs from June to September, but this doesn’t mean the tuna switch on the feed as soon as the season starts, and switch off when the season ends. Depending on where you are, you will have to study the weather, find the best locations, and head out at the right time of the year. If you are new to tuna fishing, you will have the best luck heading out with a guide beforehand to home in your skills and learn about their movement and feeding patterns. Good luck and tight lines!

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