GET READY FOR SUMMER – TURKS AND CAICOS TUNA SEASON
Ready for Summer? The Grand Slam team surely is! While the weather here in Turks and Caicos is beautiful year-round, we look forward to the “four” seasons because each season offers different catches. Turks and Caicos tuna season is from June – September. In particular, Blackfin Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna, and Bigeye Tuna. So, we hope you’re getting ready and booking those flights! Afterwards, be sure to book your group’s private deep sea fishing charter to ensure availability for your desired excursion date. Book your charter here!
The tuna family is a large one. Often split into two tribes: Thunnini and Sardini. Thunnini, considered the “true tunas”, includes albacore, skipjack, blackfin, little tunny, yellowfin, and all three species of bluefin tuna. Sardini are more mackerel-like and include dogtooth tuna and several smaller bonitos.
Blackfin tuna are the smallest tuna in the Thunnini family; they average 3 feet long and 45 pounds. They are found throughout the western Atlantic, from Boston to Brazil. They have the typical oval-shaped tuna body with distinct dark coloring along the top. Blackfin are also commonly caught while trolling live bait and artificial lures. They put up a strong fight and make for great table fare if prepared properly. Once caught, blackfin tuna are also great bait to entice larger pelagic tuna and billfish to your line.
The Blackfin Tuna can be identified by a dark blue to black stripe across its back usually with a golden hue under it and a silver belly. Blackfin flesh is less fatty and slightly lighter in color than Yellowfin tuna. The typical size of the Blackfin we catch in the Turks and Caicos range from 7-30lbs.
Fun facts about the Blackfin Tuna:
- A five-year-old Blackfin Tuna is already considered old since this species grows fast and typically lives for a very short period of time.
- Greenpeace International added many tuna species under its seafood red list; fortunately, Blackfin Tuna were not added to it.
- The Blackfin Tuna is a migratory species that creates big schools along with Skipjack Tuna.
- Blackfin Tuna transfer to more temperate waters during summer; this species has a limited range in the US.
- Despite its wide array of food choices, Blackfin Tuna can be cannibalistic.
Yellowfin tuna are torpedo-shaped with dark metallic blue backs, yellow sides, and a silver belly. They have very long anal and dorsal fins and finlets that are bright yellow. Yellowfin can live up to six or seven years. They are highly migratory and are found throughout the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. They form schools with other tunas like skipjack and bigeye and are also known to associate with dolphins. Yellowfin tuna are able to breed year-round.
Yellowfin Tuna is what many know as Ahi Tuna which is quite popular for sushi and poke. Yum! This Tuna can grow up to 200lbs; however, the ones we do come across are typically between 60-80lbs. But in the event we come across a big 200-lb tuna, rest assured our captains are ready for the action! Turks and Caicos tuna season makes our team giddy with joy.
Fun facts about the Yellowfin Tuna:
- Yellowfin tuna are also known as ahi tuna.
- Yellowfin tuna get their name from the bright yellow color of their dorsal, anal, and tail fins.
- Female yellowfin tuna species can release up to 4 million eggs when spawning.
- This tuna species has a maximum lifespan of 7 years.
- Yellowfin tuna are known to travel in schools with different species, including skipjack and bigeye tuna.
Bigeye tuna are dark metallic blue on the back and upper sides and white on the lower sides and belly. The first fin on their back is deep yellow, the second dorsal and anal fins are pale yellow, and the finlets are bright yellow with black edges. Bigeye and yellowfin tuna look similar. In fact, it’s hard to distinguish the two species without experience. Among other characteristics, the bigeye tuna’s eyes are larger than the yellowfin’s and their finlets have black edges.
Fun facts about the Bigeye Tuna:
- Bigeye tuna can dive deeper than other tuna species and exhibit extensive vertical movements. This species exhibits clear daily patterns, moving to deeper waters during the daytime.
- Bigeye tuna is caught mostly in tropical waters.
- In the Atlantic Ocean, the record for the largest bigeye tuna caught recreationally is a 375 pound fish with a fork length of 6.75 feet taken off Ocean City, Maryland in 1977.
- They tuna are believed to have recently evolved from a common parent stock of yellowfin tuna.
- Bigeye Tuna live longer than yellowfin tuna. The big-eye tuna has a lifespan of up to 12 years reaching sexual maturity at around four years.
- The main predators of bigeye tuna are large billfish and toothed whales.
Now go ahead and book that trip to Providenciales paradise. Turks and Caicos tuna season is right around the corner! If you have any questions, contact us here: https://gsfishing.com/contact/.