how long is tuna fishing season

How Long is Tuna Fishing Season? (& Wicked Tuna Season)

What’s funny about Wicked Tuna is that it has sparked a collective interest in the tuna industry among viewers who have probably never even gone fishing before. If you’re one of the many who enjoy the action of tuna fishing thanks to the show, you might find your head filled with a ton of questions that you probably never thought of before.

One of the most common puzzles on the minds of people who have suddenly become tuna industry fans is how long is tuna fishing season? Well, to answer that question and a few others, we’ve put together this short guide.

For Wicked Tuna lovers there's a lot of cool Merchandise you can buy here. Be sure to check it out!!

How Long is Tuna Season?

gray tuna

There are a ton of factors that affect tuna season. That’s because these fish - like most other animals - will rely on cues from the environment to determine whether it’s time to start moving. The reason why they move? Well, certain species of tuna like bluefin are a migratory species.

They’ll migrate for two different reasons. The first is to feed, and the other is to spawn. ‘Tuna season’ simply refers to that time of year when these fish are most active, and when they all join together to head back to where they were born in order to breed and spawn. This gives fishermen a chance to catch more at a single time since they’re all flocked together.

Needless to say, tuna season is different across the globe. As the tuna move during migration, they’ll travel to different areas of the sea which is why they might be in a certain area at one point, and then in another a few months later.

In general, tuna season starts when the weather is hot. So that’s mostly from June. The whole season typically ends when winter is in full swing, so the last of the tuna catch might be tallied sometime in November.

United States

In the United States, tuna season can be different across various states. Here are some of the most prominent:

California

As one of the hotter places in the US, California offers a tuna catch all year round. But the haul can be especially rewarding between June to the end of September.

Florida

Another fair weathered state, Florida sees a surge in tuna supply from the end of June to the start of October.

Louisiana

Its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico makes Louisiana a prime tuna fishing spot. Unlike other locations, Louisiana provides tuna fishing opportunities all year round.

Washington

This state is mostly home to Albacore tuna that’s frequently found off of the Washington coast. Tuna season in the state usually extends from summer to early fall.

Maine

Interestingly, tuna season in Maine can extend for a pretty long time. Eager tuna fisherman can start catching as early as June, but the entire season lasts for up to six months.

Hawaii

Its warm weather makes it the perfect place to catch tuna. Hawaii’s waters are typically teeming with the prized fish from May until the end of December.

Other Countries

Aside from these US states, there are a few other places around the world where you can enjoy tuna season. These include:

New Zealand

Commercial tuna season in Westport spans from March to September.

Mauritius

While their tuna season only extends from March to May, Mauritius has some of the fattest tuna catch in all the world.

Panama

Just like most US states, tuna season in Panama starts in May and ends in mid-November.

Caribbean

The window for yellowfin tuna fishing in the Caribbean region only lasts for a month, extending from January to February.

Mexico

There are about three months in the year when tuna are most prominent in Mexican waters, and those are September, October, and November.

Canada

The country’s EEZ is open almost all year round for tune fishermen, but the peak season is usually from mid-July to the end of October.

Cape Town

Cape Town has two tuna seasons throughout the year. One from April to May, and another from October to mid-January.

Mallorca

Anyone interested in fishing for tuna in Mallorca would have the best chances between April and December.

Tenerife

Located in Spain, this locale sees a rise in tuna catch for a short period of time between October and November.

How Long is the Wicked Tuna Fishing Season?

If you’ve been an avid follower of Wicked Tuna, then you might find yourself wondering when these guys head out to the high seas and whether they’re actually still fishing during peak season.

According to production management, each season covers a period of about 14 weeks or 3 months. We assume that they film the show when tuna season is at its peak to make each episode all the more exciting.

Presently, the show has had 10 seasons with the following episode count:

SEASON

EPISODES

One

10

Two

15

Three

15

Four

17

Five

15

Six

12

Seven

16

Eight

15

Nine

15

Ten

20

Tips and Basics for Tuna Fishing

yellowfin

If the guys on the show have inspired you to take on a new tuna fishing hobby, it’s worth mentioning that tuna fishing is anything but easy. There’s a lot that goes into a catching a tuna. But if you’ve made up your mind, then these tips might be of some help:

Know When to Fish

Fun fact: there is a time of day that seems to be most rewarding for tuna fishing. Some studies have found that tuna tend to rise closer to the water’s surface at night to follow the patterns of their natural prey. Waiting for the sun to go down should increase your chances of a better catch.

Follow a Shrimp Boat

These boats will process their catch on board, and will toss any scraps overboard in the form of chum. Naturally, this creates a feeding frenzy of sorts among fish which in turn attracts all sorts of tuna. Wait for a shrimp boat to dunk its chum and leave, then take their spot in the water to catch some tune among other game.

Power in Numbers

It might be exciting to snag a tuna, causing everyone on board to rush to that line to reel that baby in. But remember that tuna will swim in a school. So if you caught one, there are probably hundreds of others just beneath the surface. Try not to localize your efforts on just one line and continue trolling even after you get a hit. This improves your chances of catching more than one fish.

Stay Near Structure

Any type of structure - whether its a reef, shoal, or seamount - will attract all sorts of smaller fish. And where there’s small fish, there’s big fish, like tuna of course. If you’re not quite sure where to find a hit, try to approach any type of structure. Your odds of catching something worthwhile can be significantly greater near these types of ecosystems.

Know Where To Go

If you’re a first time tuna fisherman, you might find yourself a little clueless as to where you should go to get your catch. Ask the locals where they usually find bluefin or yellowfin tuna. You can also consider water temperatures. Warmer waters tend to attract smaller tuna species, while deeper, cooler waters are where big tuna reside.

Stay with the Birds

All of these predatorial animals will flock where there’s bait. And while you might not be able to see where the bait is immediately from the surface, the birds can be your guide. Check out where the birds are flocking. Some of them will even try to dive through the surface of the water. They’ll usually localize where there’s a lot of bait action, and where there’s birds in the sky, there’s probably tuna in the waves.

Don’t Move Around so Much

It can be frustrating to chase birds and bait around all day long. Remember that there are a lot of things that can cause fish to move around under the surface. So you can’t really expect your catch to be localized in just one area.

If birds move away from where you followed them, don’t rush to chase them down too soon. There might have just been a scare that caused them to retreat. Wait it out and see if they come back before you decide on making a move.

More Tuna Fishing Related Info

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Joining In on the Bandwagon

How long is tuna fishing season? Well, it really depends where you’re coming from. But if you’re hoping to join in on the Wicked Tuna bandwagon and you want to try your hand at catching tuna for the first time, these tips should help you reel in your first hit as soon as tuna season comes rolling around the corner.

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