Jigging is the main tactic for these school bluefins. The type of jigging depends on how the bait is holding. Plastics up to 10 and 12 inches, such as Hogy, RonZ and Slug-Go, on jig heads up to 5 ounces or Sting-o Fish jigs work best when the tuna have the bait pinned to the bottom, says Gatley. When the bait is higher in the water column, butterfly jigs prove more effective, with 112-, 140- and 168-gram jigs in blue mackerel, natural brown and pink good starting points for prospecting. Tuna preference can change daily.
Gatley prefers 60-pound braid, not for the strength but because the larger diameter resists digging into itself on the reel spool. Jigging can be tiring in 180 feet of water, and outfits designed for the task, like the Shimano Trevala rod and Torsa reel combo or similar rigs, are recommended.
Rods: Short, soft-tip parabolic jigging rods to handle lead-heads to 5 ounces.
Reels: High-speed, powerful drags to handle heavy fish to 150 pounds.
Lines: 60-pound braid with 8 to 10 feet of 40- to 60-pound fluoro leader.
Lures: 10-inch Hogy with X-Strong jig head; and RonZ and Slug-Go lead-head jigs to 5 ounces and 10 inches in assorted colors; Butterfly jigs to 168 grams in assorted colors; Sting-o Fish jigs.