Without question, the most exciting development within the U.K.’s recreational sea angling scene in recent times is the CHART programme. For those who have yet to hear of this, CHART stands for CatcH And Release Tagging, and is the specific programme allowing for a managed recreational fishery of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna in the U.K. across 15 approved Charter vessels. 

The CHART programme is a key step in gathering critical data on Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, which in turn will help understand more about the species numbers, possible recoveries, movements and many other habits. This whole picture is vital to ensuring the long term sustainability of the species both in our own waters and globally. Equally, socio-economic studies run alongside the programme provide a compelling argument for the benefits of the economy cashing in on a recreational fishery for the tuna in place of or in addition to a commercial sector. 

In simple terms, very soon, recreational sea anglers will have full permission to fish with rod and line for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna. These fish are undoubtedly one of the fastest and most powerful of any ocean around the world and tackling up correctly is a serious business! 

Tuna fishing rods are extremely powerful and require some serious backbone. Not only does the sheer size of a potential catch dictate this, but sudden long and seemingly spontaneous runs will put tremendous and immediate strain on a rod that could shock it to failure, especially when a fish makes that initial hit. For this reason, the rod needs to absorb sudden strain, to a point, so whereas although it does need to be powerful, it also has to be capable of cushioning the surging run out of nowhere that only a tuna is capable of. Blanks are one thing, but all guides and fittings should also be stepped up. Although it is advisable to check these features on any fishing rod, it is especially important when it comes to tuna as there really is no margin for error.  

Tuna fishing reels are often enormous, heavy and built to a very high standard. Big game tackle is only slowly finding its way to the UK and with the advent of the CHART programme, it’s time to step up your game if you’re serious about tuna fishing. Capacity is vital; the reel has to hold a huge meterage of heavy monofilament. Small reels just will not hold enough line to handle those long runs. The fact that the fish run as hard and fast as they do dictates the correct use of an efficient drag system- a key feature with any big game reel. Gearing too has to be solid, tight, packed with torque and capable of dealing with a fish that could exceed 1000lb in weight. This really is a case of spending as much as you can afford and getting it right first time.

If you’ve yet to experience any form of big game fishing, the kind of tackle you will be using will be unlike anything you have ever used before. The emphasis here is on strength. Every thing is stepped up, hooks are thick in the garage and tempered to an exceptional level. Lines are resilient, manufactured with shock force in mind and treated to prologue their life when placed under tremendous strain, time and time again. Colourful big game lures are common place and are available ready rigged on heavy monofilament traces that feature the best quality ball bearing swivels. Look out for further additions to our selection of big game fishing tackle over the weeks to come.

Tuna CHART Programme Skippers

Anglo Dawn - Salcombe

Chris Roberts - 07967 387 657

Chris is not only doing the Tuna CHART Programme, he is an active Charter Boat Skipper, Commercial Crab & Lobster Fisherman as well as volunteering for the RNLI. 

Chris has successfully tagged & released numerous Tuna