There have been many tuna charters I have hosted in which I end up catching dozens of fish. I am not bragging here. Rather, I want to share a long-held secret tactic I use with my readers so you too can score big on yellowfin, bluefin, and albacore tuna this season.
The tactic is known as “the doink.” It has been around for decades in saltwater circles all over the globe. But few anglers have perfected it like I have to an incredibly potent tuna-catching technique. I am going to break down the components of the doinking strategy:
In contrast to yo-yoing a classic West Coast metal jig, or “iron” as it is termed, the lure with the doink method is simply lifted—then dropped—a rod’s length of motion at a desired depth.
For example, if I am fishing with an 8-foot rod, I will start at the 9 o’clock position, and sharply lift the rod to the 12 o’clock position. In the process, I have lifted—then allowed to drop—the lure eight feet through the water column.
If I fail to get bit at that particular depth, I can either wind the lure up another 10–12 feet, or let out line so the lure sinks down another 10–12 feet. Then I will start the doink process over again, prospecting for fish at the new depth.
Over the years, I have estimated that over 80 percent of all strikes doing the doink occur on the “sink,” when the lure is falling from the 12 o’clock to the 9 o’clock position. This means you have to be hyper alert for any unusual slackening in the line with this lift-and-drop sequence.
Keep in mind the “15-fathom rule” that saltwater captains know. This rule means that most tuna species are found at 90–200 foot depths. You may see surface boils at times, but most of the tuna are stratified at 90–200 feet. The doinking strategy allows you to methodically present your lure into that prime strike zone.
Rod ‘n Reel
You will need medium weight conventional tackle to do the doink correctly. Penn, Shimano, Abu Garcia, and Daiwa all make level wind casting reels that hold 200 yards of 20-pound test monofilament line.
Because you will be doing a lot of lifting and dropping, the level wind feature will help you keep your mono packed tightly and evenly on the reel. As for rods, I recommend an 8–9 foot saltwater graphite conventional rod.
The lures I am going to suggest clearly sink faster, and “swim” better with 20-pound test monofilament. The P-Line CXX mono is a superior class line with minimal stretch, great knot strength, and good abrasion resistance. Line color is a matter of preference when doinking.
Hands down, use any lure you want to doing the deep water tuna doink, as long as it’s the P-Line Laser Minnow! The Laser Minnow duplicates, mimics, and replicates in size, shape, color, and action, all of the major natural pretty prey these offshore pelagic gamefish are feeding on. Sardines, mackerel, smelt, and anchovies are reproduced nicely in all the various sizes and colors in the P-Line Laser Minnow.
If the crew is chumming with small anchovies, I prefer a 2-ounce Laser Minnow. Switch to a larger 3–4-ounce version if the bait tank if loaded with sardines. Every color sold in the Laser Minnow produce tuna—every one. So, select the colors you have most confidence in when you stock your tackle box with P-Line Laser Minnows!