Tactics And Methods For Tuna Fishing from the Montana area

General Tactics And Methods when fishing for Tuna from the Montana area include trolling with feathered jigs, spoons and lures; live bait fishing with sardines, squid, anchovies, sardines and other small fishes.

Line Test Is The Backbone Of Success in Tuna Fishing when from the Montana area

The Blue Fin, Yellow Fin, Albacore and the Yellow Tail are considered by anglers to be an excellent light tackle game fish. Light tackle is reasonable with fish under 40lbs.  Dock counts can suggest the tackle required but anything higher than 40lbs should push you to a heavier tackle approach.  The sound most often heard on deck is “Pop”, the line just broke and the angler is left speechless.  A minimum of 40lb test is considered light tackle.  Heavier line test is required for the giants.

What Are The Preferred Lure Colors from the Montana area

Prefered Lures and ColorsAt “gray light” or “dawn’s early light”, or during clouded or overcast conditions, trolling jigs or feathers or deep diving crank type baits i.e. Rapala Magnum 18 or 20’ are essential. Stay with the combination of dark purple with black strips, dark blue & black.

In swim baits, use purple or dark blue belly and a black back.  from the Montana area, the most common denominator is using dark colors in dark or low light conditions. As the light becomes more bright and or the cloud cover burns off, transfer to lighter colors, pale greens, blues, silver or gray. The preference is something along the lines of a white bellied swim bait with pale green sides and a brown back, the basic anchovy pattern. If your lure has eyes, great.  If they don’t, then purchase the 3D clear silver with black pupil.   Eyes come in various sizes but don’t depend on the self adhesive kind.  Use Super Glue!

It is not recommended to use red eyes.  When fishing with live bait, anchovy, sardines, mackerel and the like, you need to keep fresh bait in the water for not more than a minute, two at the max. If that bait has a bloody nose or red eyes, pop it off and hook up a new one. Lures that look like their already wounded are ignored.  Live bait is preferred and yields more results but you’re changing out bait often.  Less hassle is required when using artificial baits and the preference is a triangular jig with factory 3D silver/black eyes from the factory, ¾ to1.5 ounces.

The Right Rod And Tips For Tuna Fishing from the Montana area

Saltwater Baitcasting ReelFor light tackle situations in in the Montana area, trolling rigs on the sport charters are adequate with preference on the spoon or jig rod 6’6’- 7’-6” med-hvy action with a fast tip for jig casting and retrieval. Spool up with 40 lbs test. Jig color of choice in chrome and blue, blue and white with heavy wire hooks. This technique is affecting fishing in and around islands, rock piles and ledges.

“Paddy Hopping” it probably one of the more techniques using the soft plastic replaceable swim bait bodies on ¾” oz triangular jig head with 3D eyes. The bodies in the brown back, green and white belly in an anchovy pattern is always first choice bait, black back transparent green or blue with silver flake or a black back and purple body are also productive. Charter boats in the Montana area almost always will pass a kelp paddy on the port side. Paying attention to the boat position and listen to the deck hands and captain will yield bounty. Be sure to communicate with deck hands on what to anticipate.

If you’re in to really having fun, use your Bass Rod with 20 lbs test. This is an excellent choice when pounding the “Paddy’s”. The Bass Rod lends itself to more surgical casts and plenty of fighting ability; you’ll fight the fish instead of horsing to the boat gaff. Play the fish since you’re not being charged by the hour. Keep their noses up, if they drop the nose you’re losing control of your fish. And when you first “color” your fish coming to the boat, control your excitement and hang on for one more run away from boat, then when you see it the second time, yell “Color or Gaff” to get your deck hand involved. Remember with all species, the bigger the fish the more runs away from the boat they’ll make. With a 50-60 pound Blue Fin count on at least four runs, if you get in on the third great. Now this doesn’t apply to trolling fish caught on heavy jigs on feathers with 80-100 test line in Montana. Horse the fish to the boat, get them on deck and bait or lure back in the water.

Saltwater RodsAnother favorite lure fishing technique is called fishing the “Slide”. This technique replaces the 5 ½ inch replaceable swim bait with a 1.5 ounce lead jig head with silver/black 3D eyes. Fish with 60 pound test braid and a heavy stainless steel swivel to let the bait swim and when it’s really tough a fluorocarbon 3 foot leader. So while the boat is in trolling rotation, have your rod in hand and when “Hook Up” is hollered out on the trollers.  Then quickly take your spot in the Port corner of the fantail and free spool the swim bait to meet the incoming school of fish that are coming to the boat while the boat has throttled back. Your swim bait will get bit while the bait guys are elbow deep in the live well trying to catch a lively bait, which should be sport all its own. This method works well because you can put the first lure in the water column to meet the school.

And one more thing you need to know, in the summer months the tuna will hit top water poppers, how fun is that? 7-10” poppers, throw them on 80lb braid. You’ll be amazed at what will surface to strike.

Reference Links:

Kinston Lures

Tackle Direct

The Region and Landscape Of Montana

Lewis and Clark Interpretive CenterMontana is in the Western region of the United States. The state's name is derived from the Spanish word montaña (mountain). Montana has several nicknames, although none official, including "Big Sky Country" and "The Treasure State", and slogans that include "Land of the Shining Mountains" and more recently "The Last Best Place".   

Montana has a 545-mile (877 km) border with three Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, the only state to do so.  It also borders North Dakota and South Dakota to the east, Wyoming to the south, and Idaho to the west and southwest.  Montana is ranked 4th in size, but 44th in population and 48th in population density of the 50 United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller island ranges are found throughout the state. In total, 77 named ranges are part of the Rocky Mountains. The eastern half of Montana is characterized by western prairie terrain and badlands.

The economy is primarily based on agriculture, including ranching and cereal grain farming. Other significant economic activities include oil, gas, coal and hard rock mining, lumber, and the fastest-growing sector, tourism.  The health care, service, and government sectors also are significant to the state's economy.   Millions of tourists annually visit Glacier National Park, the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, and Yellowstone National Park.

The Geography of Montana

Glacier National ParkThe Bitterroot Mountains—one of the longest continuous ranges in the entire Rocky Mountain chain from Alaska to Mexico along with smaller ranges, including the Coeur d'Alene Mountains and the Cabinet Mountains, divide the state from Idaho. The southern third of the Bitterroot range blends into the Continental Divide.  Other major mountain ranges west of the Divide include the Cabinet Mountains, the Anaconda Range, the Missions, the Garnet Range, Sapphire Mountains, and Flint Creek Range.

The northern section of the Divide, where the mountains give way rapidly to prairie, is part of the Rocky Mountain Front.  The front is most pronounced in the Lewis Range, located primarily in Glacier National Park.  Due to the configuration of mountain ranges in Glacier National Park, the Northern Divide (which begins in Alaska's Seward Peninsula) crosses this region and turns east in Montana at Triple Divide Peak.  It causes the Waterton River, Belly, and Saint Mary rivers to flow north into Alberta, Canada.  There they join the Saskatchewan River, which ultimately empties into Hudson Bay.

East of the divide, several roughly parallel ranges cover the southern part of the state, including the Gravelly Range, the Madison Range, Gallatin Range, Absaroka Mountains and the Beartooth Mountains.  The Beartooth Plateau is the largest continuous land mass over 10,000 feet (3,000 m) high in the continental United States.  It contains the highest point in the state, Granite Peak, 12,799 feet (3,901 m) high.  North of these ranges are the Big Belt Mountains, Bridger Mountains, Tobacco Roots, and several island ranges, including the Crazy Mountains and Little Belt Mountains.

The Best Fishing Spots in Montana

Greater Yellowstone Fishing

Smith River
Brown and Rainbow Trout

Fly Fishing in MontanaYellowstone River
Fly fishing for Trout

Two Medicine Lakes
Brook and Rainbow trout

Lake McDonald
Lake trout and Cutthroat Trout

Gallatin River
Trout

Nelson Reservoir
Perch Crappie, Catfish and Walleye

Duck Lake
Rainbow Trout

Bitterroot River
Trout

Ashley Lake
Cutthroat trout and Salmon

Bighorn River
Bass, Trout, Walleye, Crappie and Catfish

Pick Your City in MT