Tuna can be caught all over the world. Of course there are more than 10 places to catch huge tuna, but here are our favorites: Spain & the Canary Islands, the Azores, Croatia, Italy, Panama, Mexico, New Zeeland, Canada & the United States. Other fantastic tuna fishing destinations could be Madeira, Seychelles, South Africa, Cape Verde or Mauritius to name just a few. Read on and choose your next tuna fishing destination.
Tuna Fishing in Spain
Spain is one of the top destinations to go bluefin tuna fishing. Anglers can hire boats leaving from Barcelona and Ebro Delta to the south. Due to the effluence of the Ebro river, this area has a diverse marine ecosystem that attracts bluefin tuna. The best times to find the bigger tuna is from April to September. Ebro Delta’s peak bluefin season is April through October. L’Ametlla de Mar is the place to be for chumming between June & September. Barcelona is also a great destination for Bluefin tuna, making appearances from May-June and then again in September – October. Majorca in the Balearic Islands of the Mediterranean is well known for its bluefin tuna bite, especially as the big fish move into the Mediterranean during the summer feeding migration during August and September. Marbella & Puerto Banus, north up the coast from Gibraltar is another great tuna fishing spot. The top target fish in Marbella is Bluefin Tuna, and its prime time for the big one’s is in August, but if the weather stays warm the bite can last until October.
True Giants in the Canaries
Canary Islands are another beautiful tuna destination, featuring all three species of large tuna: bluefin, bigeye, and yellowfin. Early March is the best time for bluefin tuna, and according to Marlin magazine, “These are not mediums — they are true giants migrating north toward the Mediterranean or Scotland, Norway or even Canada en route to their summer feeding grounds.” In April and May bigeye tuna are in abundance, and later in the summer, July through August the yellowfin tuna are hot.
The Azores: the Atlantic tuna fishing destination
Naturally, the Azores are another superlative Atlantic bluefin fishing destination. Off the coast of Portugal, near the migration path of bluefins coming in from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, the Azores are the temporary feeding ground for bluefin, bigeye, and yellowfin tuna from April through June.
Croatia Tuna Power
The Adriatic Sea off the coast of Croatia is prime bluefin tuna fishing grounds. Fishing restrictions were recently implemented in the region to spur the resurgence of bluefin tuna. According to Capt. Anton Roca, of Adriatic Big Game tuna fishing charters, “In just three years, in which the excessive tuna fishing has been stopped, the tuna population has regenerated in such a manner that now you may find massive tuna in the Adriatic Sea. One might say that the amount even inflicts damage on other fish species.” Now, fishing is good year round, tapering off in June.
Sicily & Sardinia
Italy is surrounded by water with the Mediterranean Sea on the western side, and the Adriatic Sea on the eastern side. The island of Sicily (right at the toe of the boot) has access to both and is a fantastic spot to hunt for bluefin tuna during the months of April through December. Sardinia is another island off the western coast of Italy in the Mediterranean, where local fishermen of Carloforte practice a 600-year-old traditional bluefin tuna fishing ritual much like the Almadraba in Spain. Optimal fishing is from May to December, but until mid-June catch and release is mandatory. On the Adriatic Coast, from the fishing town of Ancona boats scour the Adriatic Sea for bluefin directly across from Croatia year-round.
According to Salt Water Sportsman, “The Pacific coast of Panama offers unrivaled casting action for big yellowfins.” The best time to fish these waters for yellowfin is from January to May. “The Gulf of Chiriqui lies off Panama’s Pacific coast on the western side of the isthmus, and the fertile waters offshore of the Gulf hold numerous game species. The famed Hannibal Bank is found here, as are Islas Coiba and Montuosa, all well-known fishing hot spots.”
Mexico has several renown fishing spots, but for yellowfin tuna your best bets are Puerto Vallarta and Baja California on the Pacific Coast. From August to December a southern current pushes warm water towards Puerto Vallarta, filling waters with baitfish, luring giant yellowfin tuna. Baja California sees yellowfin from March to November, with the peak season during the summer months into October.
New Zealand is another prime tuna hotspot with pacific bluefin and yellowfin available from all angles. Northern areas such as the Bay of Islands and North Cape are home to yellowfin tuna from January to July, with the best fishing in March. Western New Zealand is home to the Pacific bluefin tuna, which are in abundance from December through April.
Nova Scotia, Canada is one the best kept secrets in big game fishing. Schools of Giant Bluefin Tuna are lured to Nova Scotia by temperate waters that create ideal conditions for these colossal fish to thrive. The fishing is hottest from June to October. In 2013, Sport Fishing Magazine named Nova Scotia as one of the top 10 places in the world to catch giant tuna.
The United States
In the United States, Venice, Lousiana is one of the few places that can offer a truly year-round tuna fishery, featuring bluefin, yellowfin, and blackfin tuna. All through the winter, tuna can usually be found at the infamous midnight Lump, about 50 miles off the coast of Venice in Louisiana. Scientists have found that bluefin tuna return to the same regions of the Gulf of Mexico during spring months to spawn. Yellowfin tuna are more widely distributed throughout the warm Gulfwaters and occupy the region throughout the year.