Pelagic fish temperature

As water temperatures cool, fishing for the ‘pelagics’ heats up. Recently, Randy raised this wahoo.As the sun gets higher, the trolling bite has been slowing down, so I’ve been switching to live bait. The tuna seem to be pickier during the day, so I’ve been going down to 30-pound fluorocarbon as a leader with a small live bait hook. I also always keep two rods ready with 20-pound fluorocarbon, just in case I get the tuna busting around the boat and they’re turning down the heavier line. Sometimes, just dropping down in line size can be the difference between getting that bite or watching the tunas come and go.

The patch reef fishing is historically excellent throughout the fall due to the increased amount of baitfish, most notably ballyhoo, that push onto the patches as water temperatures drop. Big mangrove snapper, as well as yellowtails, muttons, grouper, and mackerel can all be caught in good numbers fishing between 20 and 30 feet of water. Start out with a well full of pilchards, or small pinfish, and then try and catch your ballyhoo with the cast net or using hair hooks when they swim up in the chum slick. Live and fresh cut ballyhoo fished on a jig-head will catch any one of the species, and should help send you home with a tasty bag of filets.

In addition, fall is when the mangrove snapper bite starts to heat up at the bridges. Fish the pilings with pilchards fished on a jig head and you can put together quite a nice catch of big mangroves, as well as jacks, mackerel, and the occasional keeper grouper.

On the deep reef, I’ve found that fall can be hit or miss for yellowtailing. Some days it can be excellent, while other days the fish just don’t want to cooperate. If the conditions are favorable, give it a shot and see if you can get the tails up. While you’re anchored you may also want to fly the kite with a large pilchard, blue runner, or other active live bait that can draw the attention of a hungry pelagic. Sailfish, wahoo, kingfish, and even an occasional dolphin can be caught on your kite bait while out fishing the deep reef.


Cambridge University Press Climate Change and Small Pelagic Fish
Book (Cambridge University Press)

This tuna is hungry

2004-05-09 14:06:24 by Bruce_

Tunas are migratory pelagic fishes inhabiting all the world's oceans from temperate to equatorial regions. Although most tunas are spawned in tropical waters, general biological characteristics and habitat ranges of the adults vary among species. Although all tuna species have extreme habitat ranges from the Equator to temperate regions, it is convenient to classify species on the basis of their temperature preference as tropical tunas (skipjack, Katsuwonus pelamis and yellowfin, Thunnus albacares), subtropical tunas (bigeye, Thunnus obesus and albacore, Thunnus alalunga) and temperate tunas (northern and southern bluefin, Thunnus thynnus and T. maccoyii). Tagging studies have shown that all major species of tunas are capable of large-scale movements (>


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