Tuna Trolling Secrets

Captain Josh Temple breaks down his favorite trolling rigs for Yellowfin tuna.
Shea McIntee
Consistently catching big Yellowfin on the troll takes years of practice to master. When live bait is unavailable, or schools of tuna are moving way too fast to fish effectively with bait, Captain Josh Temple will target Yellowfin by trolling with lures. "I really like to fish lures when the tunas are feeding with porpoise, especially Blacks, Spinners, and Spotted. Trolling speeds are extremely important- for spreads with traditional lures and cedar plugs I will troll at 7.5 knots, and when I'm using spreader bars I'll drop my speed to 6.5 knots - believe me, it makes a HUGE difference.  I've spent years refining the systems you see here in Puerto Vallarta, so I hope you'll enjoy as much success as we have catching tunas of all species and sizes on lures."
Capt Josh Temple's typical giant tuna trolling spread.  A pair of Yo-Zuri "Bonitas" off the short corners, 3rd and 4th wakewake, a Makaira "Medusa" purple/black/red in the short rigger on the 5th wake, a Melton Tackle International 10" purple/black "Cherry Jet" in the long rigger on the 6th wake, and an Aloha Lures 7"  "Super Ninja" run in the stinger position WWB.  "This particular spread of lures works really well when big tunas are feeding with Black Porpoise, it's produced many giant yellowfin in the 200 - 300 pound range for us over the years," explains Capt Josh, "Usually the Bonitas will get bit first, but it's important to keep trolling after the initial few hook ups as usually one or more of the surface lures will get detonated next!"
"If we are in a school of small to medium sized tunas up to 150 pounds, which is typical with a school of spotted or spinner porpoise, we like to run cedar plugs in the rigger positions." Capt Josh explains, "The smaller to medium sized tunas really react well to this spread." Josh recommends using 300 pound Yo-Zuri fluorocarbon leaders on the "Bonito" lures and 150 pound Yo-Zuri pink flourocarbon on the cedar plugs.
In situations where tuna are feeding on squid or reluctant to strike at traditional lures or plugs, Capt Josh's favourite "secret" spread calls for two Yo-Zuri "Bonitas" run on the short corners, and three <a href="http://www.archersuperbars.com/josh-temple-special.html"  target="_blank">JT Special Super RuckusRaiser Archer Bars</a> in the rigger and stinger positions.  "I can't explain the science behind it, but those Archer Super RuckusRaiser bars seem to outproduce all other spreader bars 5 to 1. I started running them about 5 years ago and haven't run another spreader bar since.  I'm actually reluctant to share this spread because it has been one of our closely guarded secrets for a long time."
Two nice yellowfin tuna caught trolling in a school of Black Porpoise near Puerto Vallarta. Captain Josh likes to set his drags at 17 pounds at strike for all trolling applications.
Another tuna falls for the <a href="http://www.archersuperbars.com/josh-temple-special.html"  target="_blank">JT Special Super RuckusRaiser Archer Bars</a> aboard the Maximo, the 57 foot Dean Johnson that Capt Josh runs out of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  Note the different colored "chase bait" at the business end of the spreader bar.  "Using a different color chase bait really helps the tunas key into the one squid in the spreader bar with the hook in it, it's like a homing device" Story and photos courtesy: <a href="http://primetimeadv.com"  target="_blank">Captain Josh Temple-Prime Time Adventures</a>

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