It is well-known that the ability to adapt to different conditions and variables whilst fishing is one of the most important attributes any successful fisherman can have. Here in Gibraltar, being able to do so often means the difference between going home empty handed and going home with a bluefin tuna in your hands.

Bluefin Tuna Fishing in Gibraltar

Exodus Fishing is based in the Mid Harbours Small Boats Marina in Gibraltar and is led by Captain John with the help of First Mate Sam.

Gibraltar is a unique destination to fish from given that it is situated on the European side of the Strait of Gibraltar – a narrow gap which separates Africa from Europe and where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean.

Fishing in Gibraltar is therefore a huge pastime for locals, and it is no secret that some of the best fishing on the planet happens in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Although there are many topics we could write about, we are going to focus on bluefin tuna fishing in the month of August.

Thankfully, unlike many places in the world, in Gibraltar you can be at the marina hopping on to the boat and 10 minutes later you can be in the bluefin tuna fishing grounds hooking up. Although we release 90-95% of the bluefin tuna we catch, this blog entry will explain some of the methods we use to hook these elusive tunas.

Early August

Although every year is different, there are some general patterns that emerge. The first notable one is that normally at the start of August the waters around Gibraltar swarm with Atlantic Saury known locally as “saltones” (loosely translated as “jumpers”).

These fish are famous for schooling together in large numbers and quite literally jumping out the water in huge blanket-like structures in order to avoid the bluefin tuna chasing underneath them.

Arguably, these are one of the anglers’ favourite bait fish as they indicate exactly where the bluefin tuna are.

We have found that whenever you come across these fish, if you use a slider such as the IMS mackerel or Sardine and cast it straight into the ‘blankets’ of these fish, you will often hook-up instantly. The tuna chasing them from below see the slider, think it’s a free meal and give you an adrenaline-packed battle.


Normally around Mid-August and once the “saltones” have started to move on elsewhere, the waters are then infested (quite literally) with flying fish. These flying fish, known locally as “voladores”, are quite literally tunas’ favourite meal.

You will often see scenes the sort of which you would expect on National Geographic whereby tunas will jump metres in the air to catch these flying fish.

Many times, fishermen can spend days casting sliders and sinking lures at tunas when there are flying fish around and obtain no results. We have therefore found that poppers such as the IMS Diving Popper 190 are the ideal way to attract these tunas to something other than the live flying fish.

Various techniques such as short pops, walking the dog and even erratic, violent popping are often effective in landing you a strike. Of course, the ability to cast exactly where a flying fish is going to land will almost always guarantee you a strike!

End of August

Towards the end of the August the bluefin tuna are usually feeding on almost anything and everything. There will be days when you cannot even see what bait they are feeding on but yet they will be incessantly leaping out of the water in order to feed.

In this period we have found that being able to swap different lures and mixing between sliders and poppers is often what gives the best results. Being able to catch a glimpse of the colour of the food the tunas are eating or whether they are pursuing flying fish are important observations worth noting. Such observations then mean that in a short period of time you can swap lures and land yourselves a strike.

It must be said that throughout these periods, live bait fishing is also extremely effective. However, once again, knowing when to stick to live bait and when to chase the tunas and pop at them is something learnt the hard way by experience!

Versatility Being Key

What is certainly true throughout every period in August is that fishermen have to be versatile and willing to adapt. Although there are patterns, there will be some days where the bluefin simply do not want to eat the bait or lure you are putting in front of them.

That is why being able to think on your feet, observe what they are eating and choose a lure that better matches those variables is something that will certainly boost your chances of getting a strike!

If you have any questions about tuna fishing in Gibraltar message us on Instagram @ExodusFishing or email us at