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The Albacore Tuna fish identification, habitats, characteristics, Fishing methods

The Albacore Tuna fish is the most valuable tuna in quality with great white meat. It is an excellent light-tackle game fish. A combination of understanding the fish and the techniques used to catch them will help you to hook more fish to the end of your line. Better knowing and understanding of the fish that you are trying to catch will make you a more successful angler, whether you are surfing on the beach or trolling on the open water.

Albacore Tuna Fishing The Albacore, Thunnus alalunga, is a type of tuna in the family Scombridae. This species is also known as: albacore fish, albacore tuna, longfin, albies, pigfish, tombo ahi, binnaga, Pacific albacore, German bonito, longfin tuna, longfin tunny, or just tuna. Found worldwide in deep clear blue tropical or open oceans. Makes seasonal migrations into colder zones (New England, South Brazil, and northern Gulf of Mexico). Their normal range is from Cedros Island, Baja California, to Oregon, from the central Alaskan coast and as far south as tropical Mexico. The remainder of the year they spend migrating to Japan and returning to California.

Lengths range up to 140 cm and weights up to 45 kg. The most unique feature of The Albacore is its very long (50% of the total length) pectoral fins. The dorsal spines are 8 to 10 in number, and well forward of the rays of the dorsal fin. The albacore has lack of stripes or spots on its lower flanks and belly and a thin, white trailing edge on the margin of the tail fin. The fins are dark yellowish, except for the white trailing edge of the tail. It is the only tuna species which may be marketed as "white meat tuna" in the United States.

Schools of albacore inhabit the west coast seasonally from the middle of June up to the end of October. Albacore prefer deep blue oceanic water and sea temperatures above 58 degrees F. Usually remains in deep clear blue tropical or open waters, warm temperate oceans and seas, including the Mediterranean, in coastal areas, closer to shore, where the ocean bottom may have sections of exposed rock. Fish live at all depths in coastal water, but most stay close to the bottom. Many feed near cover, such as a rock or a coral reef, where they can trap prey. Albacore tuna are usually found a couple of hundred miles off shore. But one a year fish can be found within 5 to 10 miles offshore. The best time for fishing is August - September.

Albacore spawn in the central Pacific right before their migration to the west coast between January and June. The first spawn when female are between 34-36" long. They release over a million eggs which are less than 1/25th of an inch in diameter. The eggs hatch within a few days. Albacore grow approximately 6-8 pounds per year. A 6 year old fish will be about 40" long and weigh about 45 lbs. A 10 year old albacore will be about 70 lb.

Fishing Methods include trolling with feathered jigs, spoons and lures (jig with chrome-plated or abalone-pearl head and natural feather or vinyl skirt size 4-10 oz.); live and whole bait fishing with mullet, sardines, squid, herring, anchovies and other small fishes (3-4 IN long are great bait), pole and line, long-line fishing, and some purse seining.
Usually fish by trolling in the ocean, close to the boat, right in the white water wake about 50-70 feet behind the moving boat. The boat usually goes about 7-10 knots (8-12 miles per hour). Good to use 6-7 ft medium to heavy trolling rod with roller tip and 4/0 to 6/0 sized reel filled with 300 yards of 50-80 lb line. Hooks 4/0 to 6/0. Live anchovies, 3-4 IN long are the best bait. The albacore is an excellent light-tackle game fish.
In the United States the albacore is probably the most valuable white meat tuna in terms of quality and profit. The Albacore caught off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California has low mercury levels, and it is high in Omega 3's.
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