BLUEFIN TUNA (Thunnus thynnus) OTHER NAMES: Giant Tuna, Horse Mackerel
RANGE: Historically, both sides of the Bahamas, plus Gulf of Mexico and, sporadically, the Caribbean. Occasional wayward schools would sweep past Southeast Florida in past years. Now scarce everywhere, a sport-fishery still exists in the Bahamas, primarily around Cat Cay and Bimini, but it is paltry compared to the years before commercial fishing ruined the stocks.
HABITAT: The deep sea.
DESCRIPTION: The best identifier is huge size, since small Bluefins have always been almost non-existent in Florida and the tropics. The massive body is dark blue above, shading to silvery on the lower sides. All fins and finlets are steely blue. SIZE: In the past, runs in the Bahamas (and, unpredictably, in Florida waters) consisted of fish weighing from about 200 to 600 pounds. Presently, most run over 500 pounds and many push 900. The increase in average size is indicative of the declining stock. Giant Bluefins are in trouble worldwide. World record 1,496 pounds.
FOOD VALUE: Too good for its own good. The Giant Bluefin is one of the most desired species in Japan, and in sushi bars worldwide. Also excellent when cut into steaks and broiled.
GAME QUALITIES: A spirited fighter on light tackle. Makes faster runs than other Jacks, and sometimes jumps, too.
TACKLE AND BAITS: This is the toughest of all big-game fish to fight and land; has size, speed and stamina in boundless quantity. In classic Tuna fishing, the searching, chasing and baiting of the Tuna schools was as exciting as the fight, if not as punishing. Tuna Combo Guide
FISHING SYSTEMS: Trolling (by sight, if possible; blind-trolling in desperation).