There is no doubt that Hurricane Bank is one of the favorite areas for both long range skippers and their anglers to catch large Yellowfin Tuna. The “bank” is located 950 miles from San Diego on a southerly heading and 560 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas. It is about a mile and a half long and ¾ of a mile wide in the middle of nowhere.
Once you arrive at Hurricane Bank you need to be prepared for all methods of tuna fishing. The Bank is also exciting for the dedicated fisherman because there are more night bites here than any other area we fish. Perhaps one of the best methods is jig fishing with a PL 68 made by Sala’s Lures. This jig fishing works best from just before dark to the early gray of morning. To prevent being chewed off, and to give yourself a good chance at landing a large fish, I support using a 3 to 4 ft. 200 # leader on a 50 wide real with 130# test. Seventy five percent of lure bite on the PL 68 happen while your lure is sinking. The wrong method when you are bit on the sink is to try to set the hook. You will miss your fish every time. You simply want to put your reel in gear and wind. This will set the hook in the best way possible. Generally, I like to let the jig sink about 250 feet at a fast pace with the drag set at anywhere from 26 to 32 pounds.
The second best method of catching a big tuna at night at the bank is with a 4-to-8 pound skipjack. My rig would be a 50 wide real with 200# spectra and 200# mono. The hook would be a 10/0 to 12/0 super mutu, a 20/0 circle hook or a 10/0 to 12/0 769 hook mustad. You can catch a skipjack by using a mega bait lure or any small chrome lure with a single hook. I also like to squeeze the barb down so it is easier to remove the hook. With a crew member’s assistance, you will hook your skippy on the dorsal just in front of the anus or in the pectoral fins. I generally do not let my skippy get more than 250 ft from the boat. I will quite often pump my bait back to the boat, which is usually when you get bit. If you are using a 7691 hook, you need to set your hook very hard to get the hook out of the bait and into the fish. With the circle and mutu, you merely turn your handle and bend your rod as it comes tight.
Chunk fishing would be the third method I would try. My outfit would be a 50 wide real with 130 to 150 # test line. The hook should be a 16/0 circle 8/0 to 10/0 7691 or on 8/0 to 10/0 mutu. I would not let my chunk go more than 200 ft before winding it in and starting over. When you see your line move or feel it move all you have to do is put it in gear and hold the rod.
The fourth method at night is a live sardine or mackerel with a 4-to-8oz sinker duct taped to the line 4 ft above the hook. Do not attach the sinker with a rubberband as this can cause serious tangle problems.
Daytime fishing primarily consists of flylined sardines on 100# test line during the slow times, but 130 # when they are biting well. Fluoro Carbon is recommended. Chunk fishing is always worth an effort during the day.
Once you have been at Hurricane for a couple of days, a pattern will establish and you will need to embrace that pattern or you will beat yourself into exhaustion. Knowing when to take a nap and when to be fishing is important. The cardinal rule: never should one take a nap without making sure all his or her gear is ready.
Captain Frank Lo Preste