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Albacore fishing

Albacore (longfin tuna) taken off Baltimore

Longfin tuna (Thunnus alalunga), otherwise known as albacore, arrive off the Irish coast in late summer, often in large numbers. They are mainly found in the south west of the country, unlike the much larger bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) which is more common farther north.

Sport fishing for tuna in Ireland is still in its infancy, but commercial fishing boats from ports in the south west like Baltimore have been catching albacore for years, along with occasional bluefin and swordfish.

As an angling species, longfin do have a couple of advantages over their larger brethren. (a) Albacore fishing does not require specialised equipment. Ordinary 20 or 30 lb class gear is perfectly adequate, although you might find you need more line than normal on the reel. Heavy big-game tackle is not required. (b) In proportion to fishing time, albacore offer a far greater chance of success than bluefin. They are a shoal fish and it's not uncommon to have more than one peeling line off the reels at the same time.

They are caught by trolling squid-type lures in the wake of the boat at 6 or 7 knots. The choice of lure depends partly on weather and sea conditions. Eight or more rods can fish simultaneously, across the stern and via outriggers on either side. Alabacore are not shy of the boat and the disturbance of the water attracts them. Teasers may be used to increase the attraction.

The tuna may be within reach at any time from late July to late September. Sea temperature is an important factor. For angling, good weather is another requirement.

Unfortunately, they tend to keep well out to sea. Most of the fishing is at least 30 miles from land. Now and then a shoal turns up close inshore, but this is such an unpredictable event that an angler would be very lucky to be in the right place at the right time. Offshore, the fishing is still somewhat hit and miss. It's a big ocean out there and albacore are fast-moving migratory fish, capable of travelling 100 miles in a day.

Lures for albacore (longfin tuna)

The world record for albacore stands at 88.3 lbs (40 kg). The Irish record was established in 2003 at 36.72 lbs (16.66 kg) and has already risen to 64.59 lbs (29.29 kg) for a fish caught from Cahersiveen in 2007. If you ever wondered what catching mackerel would be like if they grew to a decent size, this is it!

ABOVE: TRACEY NORTHCOTT WITH 15 lb ALBACORE.
LEFT: ASSORTED TUNA LURES.
© Nick Dent 2005 Email nick@wreckfish.com Tel. +353-86-824 0642

sea angling in ireland | albacore | blue shark | common skate | wreck fishing