Alabama has some wonderful offshore tuna fishing. Most of the successful tuna trips are 18 to 36 hours long or longer. There are some boats that specialize in Alabama offshore tuna fishing on a regular basis. They find our tuna out near the oil rigs that are located some 60 to 120 miles out. There is one species of tuna called a Bonita that are caught near shore on most of our 4 and 6 hour, trolling fishing charters.
The advantage of using a larger boat in Gulf Shores to go tuna fishing is that they are usually large enough to keep you comfortable during your whole, overnight charter. They always have a second captain and deckhand on board to comply with watch keeping rules established by the U.S. Coast Guard. These larger boats offer these two and three day trips as their primary business. They are good at it.
The disadvantage of using a six passenger boat for tuna fishing is the cost per person. As with any small group of six that fishes with us, it costs more per person to go tuna fishing. You need to have at least 10 to 12 anglers in your tuna fishing charter to keep the cost per person down to what is more affordable. Some of them charge upwards of $5,000 to $6,000 plus tip and fish cleaning for an 18 hour charter. A 36 hour charter can cost close to $9,500 plus tip and fish cleaning. Depending on your group and who is paying for the trip, you could spend about $600 per person for the two day tuna trip. That is not that much money, but we are basing that figure on having at least 10 people. The more anglers you bring with you, the lower the cost per person.
The second disadvantage is the freezing of tuna as a meat. You will get different opinions on this topic. My opinion is that tuna becomes mushy after it is frozen and then thawed unless you have vacuum sealed bags and IQF (individual quick frozen) abilities. Most people who fish for tuna want to keep everything they catch. There is no way to possibly eat 8 or 10 yellowfin tuna’s that weigh 60 to 80 pounds each, in a reasonable amount of time without letting the flavor and texture deteriorate. There needs to be a mindset change among anglers and encourage them to release some of them. Everyone needs to be fishing for tomorrow. However, this is only one person’s opinion and is not shared by everyone who fishes for tuna.
Bonita is known as Little Tunny. They are known to scientists as Euthynnus Alletteratus. They are very common close to the Alabama shore line and can be caught bottom fishing and trolling. They are not the best species of tuna to eat. They have extremely bloody meat and are not as good as their Yellowfin tuna cousins. Since the food quality is not very good, we will ask you if you want to keep them or release them. Bonita offer saltwater anglers an excellent fight. They weigh 8 to 12 pounds on average. They are usually around Gulf Shores from May until October each year. They can be caught on our 4 hour trolling trips or bottom fishing trips.
Yellowfin Tuna are one of the most sought after of all gulf tuna species. Scientist call them Thunnus albacores. I call them delicious. Yellowfin tuna are mostly caught in Alabama waters on charter fishing boats that offer overnight and two day oil rig fishing trips. We do not offer those trips but we have some friends that do. Let us know if you would like to go tuna fishing. Most Yellowfin Tuna weigh between 20 and 40 pounds. There are a lot of 60 to 70 pounders caught and occasionally one that weighs over 150 pounds. Yellowfin Tuna have a small eye and a golden stripe down the side of the fish. Their second dorsal fin and anal fins are longer than their main dorsal fin and are long and yellow. The larger the Yellowfin, the larger the yellow fins are.
Yellowfin Tuna is excellent when eaten fresh. The best way to prepare it is raw or sushi style. However, the mild fish flavor is compared to the finest filet mignon steak. You do not need to overcook it. Most people cut the tuna steaks about 1 inch thick. They sear each side on a grill for about 1 minute on each side. The inside should be raw or rare. If you cook it done, you might as well eat Charlie from the can. If you caught tuna, don’t mess it up by frying it or over cooking it.
Blackfin Tuna are almost as good as the Yellowfin cousin but a little darker meat color. Scientists call them Thunnus Atlanticus. There body has scales and they are dark blue to black on the top of their backs with a silver middle and a white belly. Their eyes are large and their second dorsal fin is gray in color. Their fins are black with yellow edges. Their pectoral fin is very long. Most of the Blackfin Tuna is between 15 and 20 pounds. We have seen them as big as 30 pounds.
Like Yellowfin, the key to cooking good tuna is not overcooking it. Go easy on the soy sauce and enjoy the flavor of a mild fish.
We do not offer overnight yellowfin and blackfin tuna fishing trips at this time. They require a lot of riding and that is a specialty trip that we are not properly set up for. Remember there is some good two and three day fishing charters available for your group. We do not offer Yellowfin Tuna fishing or Bluefin Tuna Fishing because it requires an overnight trip or longer. We do have friends that specialize in tuna fishing trips that you may contact them on our tuna fishing page. To book a tuna fishing trip, you usually have to plan months in advance. If you want to have a chance of catching nice Yellowfin, Blackfin or Bluefin Tuna, you need to invest the time to have a chance. Most Tuna swim over 200 miles in a day. Most of these overnight, Tuna fishing charters carry from 10 people minimum up to 15 people, depending on the boat you choose.
We specialize in family fishing and we use light tackle. We have aligned ourselves with other fishing charters that specialize in Tuna and Overnight fishing charters. You will need to contact them early in the year to get the date you are looking for. Professional charter boats book up early in the year so it is wise to call them quickly to ensure you get the date you want. Please let me know if you are interested in a tuna fishing charter. Place your request on our contact form and we can forward to our friends to see if they are available.
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