Late spring and early summer are the best times of the year to catch blackfin tuna in the area. Many big tunas have shown up offshore during the past several weeks. The most consistent fishing is typically in 140-240 feet. On nearly every trip we have run to deep water off St. Petersburg lately, tunas have crashed the party. Although the main body of fish seems to stay offshore, there have been reports of random tuna catches in a variety of depths, some as shallow as 70 feet. Leaving a flatline way out behind the boat while anchor fishing might get you a surprise tuna steak dinner. For specifically targeting tuna off the Suncoast, two approaches work best. One is surface trolling lures early in the morning or after 5 p.m. That's when the fish are most active and feeding high in the water column. For the rest of the day, chumming works best to bring the fish up from below the thermocline. Chunking with sardines or glass minnows can get the fish fired up and feeding behind the boat. Once you get them going, toss just about anything into the frenzy and hook up. When you land a blackfin, bleed and gut it immediately and pack it in ice. Prompt and proper handling makes a big difference in keeping your catch sushi grade.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (727) 944-3474.