Tonno Rosso

»Driftfishing in the Adriatic Sea«

When in the middle of the 70ies a friendly Italian told me of large Adria-Tunas, I thought, this stories were based in our increased red wine benefit. Some years later I hooked a large Tuna and three hours later my laughter had passed. Since that time friends and I caught five Tuna between 152 and 275 kg. Until today we have largest respect and attention for these gigantic fighters.

In Italy the Bluefintuna, because of its red meat is called "Tonno Rosso". Who looks for his psychological and physical load limit, should try to catch a “Tonno Rosso”. I know some very good Marlinangler, who couldn´t believe the physical load during the tunafishing. The chance to hook a tuna between 150 and 350 kg in the adria is not bad. To bring the fish on board is another chapter. It belongs to a large portion luck and experience. But alone the fight is gigantic and remains unforgotten! Today I´m like my Italian acquaintance, people looks surprised – can it be true? For the most of them, the Adria is a alga-covered, dirty Sea and nobody can believe that there are large fish. I do not want to state that the Adria is clean. The environmental problems, particularly within the northern range, are enormous and continue to rise. But, nevertheless, there is a chance. Thus, no shyness, purely in the car and over the extended weekend fishing on tuna. The distance Munich - Pesaro you can drive in seven hours.

In the Italian Adria the boats are drifting. At the same time two fodder-pure are put - one in the depth, one at the surface. Fish wastes (fresh!) increase the chance to shark. The season is from May to November. The best prospects are however in the middle of July to at the beginning of September. The tunas move each year along the coast of the Adriatic sea and hopefully you are at the right time at the right place – that´s the difficult thing… The catch areas lie between 20 and 30 nautical miles in the proximity of the oil-towers. The Italian tunaboats are smaller, but faster and more agilely than classical Big Game boats. Usually they were built particularly for tunafishing. If a Tuna is hooked, the Skipper drives after the fish, reactes to each escape and holds the boat in the distance from 50 to 200 m. The chair is at the nose (front boat part). So, the Skipper can always see the angler and the fish. The Italian Skipper convinced me of their method. The angler has to try to fight the tuna tired in the first half hour. If he miss this, or wants to play with the fish, he will repent this, and fight for hours and with large probability he will lose the fish.

Tonno Rosso 236 kg, caught with the 80lb-rod in Pesaro, Italy

Our advice

Fight the fish very hard after the first run. Tempt the fish to many long alignings! If the hook doesn´t sit perfect, it becomes difficult. The fish doesn´t have to maintain large problems to hold his normal swimming position. He will swim in aprox. 50m before the boat and you can pump larger fish to the surface. Starting from 150 kg it becomes difficult; in my view over 200kg it is nearly impossible. This fate I had during the internationally Pesaro Tournament 1997. + I lost a 300 kg fish after over seven hours by cord break - Big Game the fish won! The locally scipper are real professionals. I know Italians, who fought during their life with more than 100 tunas. Thus, always enhanced their experiences with each fish. When fishing to big tunas everything starts from the beginning! Discuss before each exit absolutely all details and the task distribution in detail with the crew. Specify before, who does what - here Teamwork is in demand!

The home of a lot of bait-fish
300 kg + Bluefin lost after seven hours hardest fight – that’s fishing!

In Italy applies

The Skipper and crew brings the anglers to the fish and gaff or release the fish. For the remainder the anglers are responsible. During the drifting you can, if wind and waves permit it fish with four rods. Even feeding is honour thing. All anglers has to do this, thus is nothing for "noble anglers". The Sardines must go down every 5 to 10 m.

As rule of thumb is considered

A crate Sardine - one hour feeding. The feeding-method is very important. Usually you take large Sardines. Let you show up the feeding exactly. The whole has a deeper sense! The Sardines are offered directly or with the ballon in 15 to 40 m depth, distance to the boat 50 to 100 m.

The “deeper sense”

One day, the saridines-fisher noticed, that the sardines in their nets tightened the tunas magically. Apparently Tunas learned that engine noise plus a net mean light booty. The explanation seems very clear: From the net continuously fall and/or slips dead Sardines out of the meshes and tumbles head over, as far visible fodder-purely by the water. Well this, angler copied. They ran there engines slowly and feeded dead Sardines to attract the tunas. My respect applies for the first anglers, who found this out and tried it with success!

Ernst Hanisch mit 275 kg Tonno Rosso auf 80er in Pesaro gefangen.

Bluefintuna – Tuna in the Mediteranean See

Since the Antique there are well-known reports over larger tuna-catches. In South Italy and Sicilia the Tunafishery with net/traps has a long tradition. Sea anglers made of France, Spain, Italy and even from our widths use the possibility for the 60's (before the entry door). The largest, in the Mediterranean Sea, from commercial fishermen caught tuna, weighed 820 kg with 4,50 m length. Reports and narrations over the last two seasons - particularly catches (Catch + the releases) of small copies in the northern Adria - make hope. The situation is difficult, but not hopeless; we use the chance. In the best weeks in the northern Adria, are probable around two Strikes per day and boat.

The moving ways

  • Southern France and Italy/gulf v. Genova, Cote d`Azur to Iles of d'Hères: August until October, the bottom drops fast on over 1000 m, Bluefin up to 100 kg and Whitetuna by 10 kg are possible.
  • Rhonedelta/Golf v. Lion, La Grande moth and pc. Marries de la Mer, Sète, Languedoc Roussillon up to the Spanish border, July until Septembers, here drops the bottom gradually on 150 m, the Blauflossenthune weighs by 100 kg, large copies 300 kg + is possible.
  • Gulf v. Lion, Costa Brava, Costa Dorada, Ebrodelta, Costa del Azahar, Kap Nao, Costa Blanca, cape Palos, Costa del Sol, Strasse v. Gibraltar... - private skipper are (unfortunately) silent. Behind reproached hand they speak from good catches. Charter boats and crews are unfortunately because of the relatively short and often "shifted" season (+/- three weeks) unprofitable. On the Balearen it looks similar; many German anglers have a bath in the summer at beaches, without suspecting that no ten miles, large Bluefin swim around. Also, you can buy in Spain problem-free to Sardines or other bait fish.
  • Sardinien/Korsika - road v. Bonifacio, a classical catch area, usually copies up to 150 kg and loners up to 400 kg are possible.
  • Tunesia/Street of. Sicily, street of. Messina, street of. Bonifacio, the "Thunatriangle". The large copies move in June/July toward Thyrreni sea, in August/September in the Liguri sea. The centers - usually private boats:
  • Marina di Cecina, Lipari islands and in the ports of Capri over Anzio to Livorno. In the Adria, the first larger fish pass in the late spring the peninsula Gagano, in order to emerge in July/August in the northern Adria.
  • In the Aegaeis and at the southTurkish coast sailors catch regularly smaller tuna. They also speak from fish, which made their roles empty and or hooks bend upward.
  • In the spring warmer, in the southern and middle Mediterranean large isotherms are formed, which drift slowly to the north; large Tunas moves too. In addition large Mackerels -, Sardines and/or other bait fish swarms. So the chances are good!

Our recommendation for the first attempt in the Mediterranean

  • Write a letter to the local sea-angling-club or tackleshop in Pesaro
  • Search the right partners (with the necessary experience and patience – Fishing for Tuna is teamwork).
  • Own equipment 80 lb to 100lb line. You have to be able to implement all knots and assemblies.
  • Feeding-material such as Sardines, Mackerels... and Chum/ Chunk – you have to be able to buy/supplied to sufficient large quantities and at any time and this has to be also still payable. Watch out - often the price rises suddenly; if possible ask a native one to buy .
  • Stable high pressure weather conditions are basic. The Mediterranean drop hoist (Bora, Mistral...) several-day-long make fishing impossible.
  • The most important is to be been at the right time at the correct place. But fort his you needs good contacts and a good nose.
200+ Bluefin before the landing

Special Characteristic of the tuna-fight

The first half hour is crucial. Who sleeps, loses. When the tuna comes to the surface, you gave all – then you won. Tuna-fishing is Teamwork and this is the basic condition for success. The Wireman (at the leader) has to give all. If he is not courageously, you will lose the fight against a big Tonno Rosso.