Tactics And Methods For Tuna Fishing from the Illinois area

General Tactics And Methods when fishing for Tuna from the Illinois 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 Illinois 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 Illinois 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 Illinois 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 Illinois area

Saltwater Baitcasting ReelFor light tackle situations in in the Illinois 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 Illinois 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 Illinois. 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 Illinois

Chicago SkylineIllinois is a state in the midwestern region of the United States, achieving statehood in 1818. It is the 5th most populous state and 25th largest state in terms of land area, and is often noted as a microcosm of the entire country.  With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base and is a major transportation hub. The Port of Chicago connects the state to other global ports from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois River. For decades, O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and politics.

Although today the state's largest population center is around Chicago in the northern part of the state, the state's European population grew first in the west, with French Canadian colonists who settled along the Mississippi River in the 17th and 18th century, and gave the area the name, Illinois Country. After the American Revolutionary War established the United States, American settlers began arriving crossing the Appalachians barrier range in the 1810s via the gaps of the Allegheny to boat building centers in Pittsburgh, from Cumberland, Maryland via the Cumberland Narrows pass to outfit in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, from North Carolina and Virginia via the Cumberland Gap to Kentucky and Tennessee, all on the Ohio River.

With the War of 1812 Illinois growth slowed as Amerindians and Canadian forces often raided the American Frontier. After the war's end, the federal government re-established forts such as Fort Dearborn (in 1816—now the site is within Chicago) and army patrols west of the Mississippi diminished the threat from Amerindian raids, so settlers were able to move into all of Illinois from the eastern and southern emigrant trails.

The Geography of Illinois

Monroe HarborIllinois' eastern border with Indiana consists of a north-south line at 87°â€Š31′ 30″ west longitude in Lake Michigan at the north, to the Wabash River in the south above Post Vincennes. The Wabash River continues as the eastern/southeastern border with Indiana until the Wabash enters the Ohio River. This marks the beginning of Illinois' southern border with Kentucky, which runs along the northern shoreline of the Ohio River.  Most of the western border with Missouri and Iowa is the Mississippi River; Kaskaskia is an exclave of Illinois, lying west of the Mississippi and reachable only from Missouri. The state's northern border with Wisconsin is fixed at 42°â€Š30' north latitude. The northeastern border of Illinois lies in Lake Michigan, within which Illinois shares a water boundary with the state of Michigan, as well as Wisconsin and Indiana.

Though Illinois lies entirely in the Interior Plains, it does have some minor variation in its elevation. In extreme northwestern Illinois, the Driftless Area, a region of unglaciated and therefore higher and more rugged topography, occupies a small part of the state. Charles Mound, located in this region, has the state's highest elevation above sea level at 1,235 feet (376 m). Other highlands include the Shawnee Hills in the south, and there is varying topography along its rivers; the Illinois River bisects the state northeast to southwest. The floodplain on the Mississippi River from Alton to the Kaskaskia River is known as the American Bottom.

Popular Locations for Fishing in Illinois

Chicago Harbor
With so many fishing spots up and down the Lake Michigan Coast, one of the best lies right downtown. Check out the Navy Pier on the north end of the harbor or Monroe Harbor there's huge bass and salmon.

Lake Shelbyville
Flathead catfish and bigmouth buffalo

Rend Lake
Flathead and Channel catfish, White bass

Banner Marsh
Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, crappie, bluegill, redear, green sunfish and channel catfish

Sangchris Lake
Largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, channel and flathead catfish, bullhead and carp

Evergreen Lake
White and black crappie, Muskie and Sauger
 
Shabbona Lake State Park
Walleye, wiper, and bluegill

Pere Marquette State Park
Bluegill, carp, catfish, crappie, drum, largemouth bass and white bass

Lake Murphysboro
Channel catfish and crappie

Kankakee River State Park
Walleye, smallmouth bass, channel catfish and bluegill.

Lake Michigan
Perch, lake trout, smallmouth bass, carp and panfish.

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