Tuna fishing Orange Beach AL

What's Biting: Now is the Time to Book a Fall Tuna Trip

Yum, yum! It’s almost tuna time along the Gulf Coast. October will surely bring in some cool air and a better chance to catch yellowfin tuna, one of the best-tasting, hardest-fighting fish in the Gulf.

An overnight trip on one of the many charter boats in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores area is required for the journey to tuna territory, which is usually around the deep-water rigs or along a rip that separates blue water from green water.

Sharing the cost makes it affordable for a group of friends and fishing buddies, and the reward is plenty of fresh tuna steaks to grill on college football Saturdays.

Perdido Pass Orange Beach AL

The charter boats will head out of Perdido Pass on their way to the floating rigs that attract pelagic fish like tuna and wahoo. On the way, you’ll likely stop to catch bait, mainly hardtails that will be used as live bait and as chum to get fish to the surface. Choose a charter boat with plenty of room to get some rest before the fishing starts, because it will likely be fast and furious when the fish are located and start biting.

The yellowfin never stops swimming on its search for a variety of sea creatures for a meal. That menu could include anything from squid to sardines to flying fish, which indicates how fast tuna can swim when it’s after dinner.

Depending on the water color and clarity, the charter captain will likely try slow-trolling during the daylight if water visibility is good. He’ll likely also drop live bait into deeper water to locate the big tuna.

Kite rigs are popular when the conditions allow. A live bait is deployed under a kite and allowed to dangle on the surface in hopes that a big yellowfin won’t be able to resist a chance at an easy meal.

Woman fishing Gulf Shores AL

Most yellowfins fall into a range of 30 to 60 pounds, but don’t get complacent if you happen to haul one to the gaff fairly quickly. The next bite might be a yellowfin that exceeds 100 pounds and a few even exceed 200 pounds. Trust me, you need all your wits and plenty of energy to tackle a tuna that weighs more than 100 pounds. Most likely, if you get the fish to the gaff, you’ll have to take a break to catch your breath and let the feeling come back to your arms.

During the overnight trip, the captain may do a little high-speed trolling that could produce a wahoo, king mackerel or dolphin fish (dorado or mahi mahi). The captain may also let you do a little bottom fishing too. Greater amberjack season is open until Oct. 31. You may catch grouper, scamp, tilefish or vermilion snapper.

The charter boats provide all the tackle needed for every type fishing you will encounter on an overnight trip. 

Visit our website for more information on the variety of charters available for tuna trips.


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David Rainer Blogger
David Rainer (2 Posts)
David Rainer has written about the great outdoors on the Alabama Gulf Coast for more than 20 years. For 14 of those years, he covered the many fishing opportunities on the Gulf Coast as outdoors…