Pacific Bluefin Tuna
The Pacific bluefin tuna is a warm blooded fish that is wide spread across the Northern Pacific. Bluefin travel in schools which makes them extremely vulnerable to over fishing. These fish can grow to over 10' with recorded weights of over 1000 pounds. They live in cooler water climates, and because of this, these fish have higher fat content than most. This makes them one of the most popular fish in sushi restaurants and a prized gamefish to fishermen.
California's prize big game fish, can be found throughout the Northern Pacific including Japan, United States and Mexico. The fish typically favor bluewater with water temperatures in the 60s. Here in California and in Mexico, larger fish typical weight around 200-300 pounds and measure around 6' in length. In Japan, spearfishing is illegal unless you are a fishing union member, so the larger grade tuna remain mostly untouched by spear fishermen.
The tuna season in Mexico and California usually runs from Spring (April-May) to Fall (October-November) time period. Often times the fish will show up in Mexico first during the Spring time then migrate north into California waters during Summer.
Smaller grade bluefin, just as tasty
These fish are very smart and can learn quickly. They have the ability to recognize different frequencies of sound coming from boats. I have noticed that as the fishing season progresses, these fish changes their behavior drastically. Somedays you can drive your boat near a feeding school of tuna, and the next day they will not let you get within 500 yards of them. In addition to this, every school tends to behave completely different from day to day. Going after bluefin tuna can be one of the most rewarding and frustrating experiences in spearfishing all at the same time. Best practices for these fish include approaching the school slowly and from a distance. The fish are usually pushing bait up current, find out the direction the school is traveling. Try to get in front the school and shutdown your engines down while the divers get in the water and approach the school. Speed is key as far as having your gear and divers ready with guns loaded. Another helpful tip is keeping your gear and line organized on the deck of the boat. Safety is a big concern when chasing fish big enough to drown you. As divers approach the fish, they should dive and level off depending how deep the school is located. Keep in mind that the fish you see on the surface are just the tip of the iceberg, there are a lot more fish right around the bait ball. DO NOT RUN UP ON A SCHOOL OF FEEDING FISH!! Recommended gear would be at least a four band 60" or bigger bluewater speargun, and 100' of bungee line attached to one or two larger bluewater floats.