Everything You Need to Know About Little Tunny/False Albacore Fishing

What is a Little Tunny / False Albacore?

The little tunny (Euthynnus alletteratus), also known as the false albacore, is a member of the tuna tribe (Thunnus). They have a torpedo-shaped, muscular body that is built for speed, colored steel blue on top that fades to silver belly. They have wavy stripes along the sides of their body, a lunate (or semi-forked) tailfin, and eight finlets between their dorsal and tailfin.

Little tunny lack a swim bladder, meaning they must constantly swim to maintain basic functions such as buoyancy. They are also able to maintain a body temperature higher than the water they’re in, which helps to increase swimming speeds, lower energy expenditure, and survive in cooler water temperatures.

How big do Little Tunny / False Albacore get?

The average little tunny will grow between five and 15 pounds, and 25-30 inches long. However, it depends on the area they’re found in, as in the Mediterranean Sea, they are found to be on average bigger than those in the open ocean, averaging over 35 inches. Females reach sexual maturity between 11 and 15 inches long, whereas males will be at about 16 inches.

What's the biggest Little Tunny / False Albacore ever caught?

The IGFA cites the all-tackle world record for little tunny as a 36 pound, 16 ounce monster caught in La Ametla de Mar, Tarragona, Spain. Lorenzo Roca Moreno caught the “little” tunny on June 26th, 2020.

Moreno himself actually holds four all-tackle world records in the IGFA including this one, as well as one for sargo, atlantic mackerel, and bullet mackerel.

Where is the best place to catch Little Tunny / False Albacore?

False albacore can be found in the Atlantic Ocean as far north as New England and Great Britain, to as far south as Brazil and South Africa. In these regions they will be found in tropical and warmer temperate waters.

They are a pelagic species, meaning they will be found in the upper layers of the open sea, not too close to the seafloor or shore.

When should I catch Little Tunny / False Albacore?

Little tunnies tend to spawn between the months of April and November when the water is above 77 degrees. Within this time period, the peak season to fish for them is between July and August, when spawning is most intensive.

However, if you are planning to fish for them in the Mediterranean Sea, the peak season widens between May and September.

How do you catch Little Tunny / False Albacore?

False albacore are a schooling fish, which makes the most effective method of fishing for them trolling. Using natural baits such as bluefish or pinfish, or artificial lures such as spoons, plugs, jigs, and feathers, set up on multiple lines and passed through the school is the most recommended.

You can also drift fish, chum, or fly fish for them as well. No matter what method you choose, be sure to be ready for a fight, as they are tough and athletic swimmers.

Are Little Tunny / False Albacore good to eat? What are the best Little Tunny / False Albacore recipes?

Little tunny are not notoriously great table fare, as they tend to be quite fishy, however if you do choose to consume them, the best way to do so is to immediately bleed and ice them. To prepare, sear it on each side for about two minutes in vegetable oil.

Otherwise they make great shark bait!