One of the great things when embarking on one of our Vanuatu fishing trips is the fact you will get to see – and land – a variety of fish species. But one of the toughest adversaries you will encounter is the yellowfin tuna. In this blog post, we will tell you everything you need to know about the yellowfin tuna, some amazingly weird facts, how to catch them and some Yellowfin Tuna recipes that you might want to try.
All About the Yellowfin Tuna
There are 8 species of tuna and among the most popular of all the 8 species is the yellowfin variety. Yellowfin (scientific name Thunnus albacares) are a tuna species that can be found intropical and subtropical oceans across the world.
Also known as ahi, yellowfin are named such because of their – well, you guessed it – yellow fins. Aside from their yellow fins and finlets, they also have yellow to silver belly and metallic dark-blue back. Their bodies are shaped like torpedoes, allowing them to swim fast and continuously. Yellowfin tuna are medium sized yet they are bigger than Albacore and skipjack. The average size of the yellowfin tuna varies but in general they are a big fish. One can reach the length of more than 6 feet and can weigh up to 250kg. A world record even states that at a time a tuna was 21 feet long and weighed more than 700kg.
Amazingly Weird Facts About the Yellowfin Tuna
Yellowfin Tuna Are Warm-Blooded
They have a unique network of small veins and arteries found near their muscles which make their blood warm. And because of that, they have superfish strength and are capable of really fast speeds.
They Use Their Lymphatic System to Control their Dorsal and Anal Fins
Yep, you’ve heard that correctly; they use their lymphatic system to move their fins around. The lymph nodes serve as their hydraulic system to stiffen their fins and increase the tuna’s mobility when they go after their prey, according to biologist Barbara Block of the Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station.
They Can Live Up to 7 Years
Yellowfin tuna have a lifespan of only six to seven years. That might only be short-lived for human standards but what they lack in years of life, they make up on reproduction. The yellowfin and other tuna start reproducing when they reach their second year. Yellowfin are very productive, spawning year round in tropical waters and seasonally in temperate seas. Female yellowfin can produce millions of eggs each time and almost daily. Talk about going forth and multiply.
How to Land a Yellowfin Tuna
There is no problem in finding the fish; landing them is another story. Yellowfin tuna spend most of their time in the deep and you’d consider yourself lucky when they occassionally go to the surface to feed because it’s very rare occurrence. So how do you get the chance to catch one?
Using the Right Tackle
When it comes to fishing tackle, you should scale them according to the size of the fish you’re targeting. If you’re aiming for small yellowfin in the 4kg-6kg range then you should use a tackle in 6kg range. If you’re planning to land a large one then opt for heavy gear and lots of 45kg+ braided line.
Use The Drop Back Technique
Dropping your bait or lure back a long way behind the boat is a popular technique when trolling. It’s a common technique used by anglers worldwide. Yellowfin seem to spook by the boats wash hence dropping backbehind the wash almost certainly will yield the desired result.
Using Poppers and Stick Baits
Our favourite method to target yellowfin tuna is using poppers and stick baits, especially if tuna a feeding on the surface. The thrill of sight casting to big fish and seeing a big yellow barrel scoff your lure and head south is worth the trip. The pop and pause method is best for poppers, the more splash the better. With stick baits a slow retrieve, dragging your lure through the surface water works well. We find colourful lures work best.
Yellowfin tuna is highly popular and highly commercialised – probably the reason why there are many yellowfin tuna-based dishes around. Here are two dishes that we find easy to prepare:
If you wish to land a big yellowfin, we can help you plan a great adventure. Check out our bluewater sport fishing trip details here.