Like most tunas, little tunny can often be coaxed to the boat with chum. This technique is very effective in the South, where shrimp-boat bycatch and glass minnows are often used as chum. Once the fish are up and feeding behind the boat, flies, chunk baits, live baits and lures can be cast or drifted back. The key is to make your hooked offering look like another piece of chum, which means drifting it back at the same speed.
While anglers can catch little tunny from shore in some areas, a boat provides a distinct advantage when chasing these fast-moving fish. After locating a surface school of little tunny, try to position the boat ahead of the school by 100 yards or so and shut off the engines. You will actually see only the upper ten percent of the school, but, like an iceberg, it is bigger than you think. Begin casting to the edges of the school as it passes. Sometimes it pays to let your lure or fly simply sink ahead of the school. You may have several schools in the area, so keep an eye out for more action from all sides. These boat-placement techniques work equally well for conventional gear, as well as spinning and fly casting.
While most anglers resort to the run-and-gun approach, it’s often more effective to simply anchor in a likely spot where the fish have been showing lately and either blind-cast or wait until they pop up nearby. Little tunny often run predictable circuits along the shore or rip line, and it becomes easy to figure out their pattern after careful observation.
When little tunny are abundant, or if you’re just feeling out the school, you may want to try trolling. Present long flat-lines and position the lures so they contact the head of the school – the lead fish, if possible. Sometimes the school moves so fast that trolling is unworkable.
Trolling plugs and spoons through coastal rips is another effective way to locate tunny when the schools are not showing on the surface.