How to Fish for Tuna

Looking for The Tuna Tips

Working As a Team:

We like to work as a team for our tuna. Running two teams that will alternate tasks on the boat. Please let the deckhand know of any physical limitations. We want to offer the full experience of fishing for tuna and encourage enthusiasm while fishing as a team.

It is likely that you will only get 1-3 chances at tuna in a long 7 hour trolling day. Make each opportunity count.

Tasks for Teams:

  • Puts jigs in the water
    • Using the Clicker
      • The clicker is on the side of the reel. Used as an alarm from when a tuna Strikes on one of our jigs.
      • While dragging the jigs these will be on, Before we reel them in, turn the clickers off.
  • Watching Jigs during Odd/Even hours
    • 6am-Even
    • 7am- Odd, etc
  • Reeling in a jig bite.  —TEAM on Duty
    • During a bite the crew has tasks that need to be performed and don’t have time to reel in a tuna. So this is quite vital task to the overall success of the bite.
    •  When you hook up YELL “HOOK-up” Towards the cabin, During that time grab the line of lures that have not been bit and jig them forward and back, there is likely more tuna below that you are trying to bring up to eat.
    • After We get your fish aboard, please store the Jig Rod and retrieve your Bait rod.
  • Baiting your Hook  –ALL TEAMS
    • The Crew will be doing their best to keep hooks baited. But some times it faster to just grab your own anchovies.
    • Bear Claw the anchovies into a corner and go for the gill plate grasp.
    • Be gentle, but firm, don’t crush it. It’s difficult, but with practice you will learn.
    • If it’s TOO difficult, we got you. 🙂
  • Tying your own hook  –ALL TEAMS
    • Please Visit our Knots page to learn how to tie our recommended knot.
    • We encourage you to tie your knot, but we will when time permits.
  • Team 1 (odd) Team 2 (even)

Off Duty Team:

While the other team is reeling in the Jig rods, you will be grabbing your designated rods and heading to the bait tank.

We encourage having your bait rod in your hand. It’s one less step when we get a hook up.


Bringing Your Own Tackle

You are not required to bring any tackle, but you can. The El Matador will provide everything you’ll need. But many anglers have several rods for tuna fishing

We recommend a  6′ to 7’ medium-action rod, rated for #20 to #40

Look for life:

Birds, Bait fish, whales, dolphin and other life.  These signs of life are important indicators of feeding tuna below.  The more signs of life present the better your chances.  This is why it is important for all to be watching carefully as you fish. Spotting some birds working or fish breaking the surface off your bow,  you may have just found your fish for the day. So KEEP LOOKING FOR LIFE  while you are on deck.


Tuna Fishing Knots

Here are the knots we will be using on our albacore tuna trips. Grab Your fishing line and start practicing.

Palomar Knot

Strong and easy to tie, the Palomar resists slipping and has retained 100 percent of the line’s original strength.

We will be losing fish from time to time due to wear and tear. This can easily be avoided by learning to tie the knot correctly and checking for Frays often.


Palomar Finished

Tuna Charter Guide

Tuna Fishing Gear

So you just booked your trip and now you’re needing some pointers to prep for this journey. We are going to try and help clear up some things to help you best pack and prepare for this Tuna Trip.

2 Day Tuna Schedule

Things to Practice before your Trip:

Things to pack:

  • Sleeping bag/ pillow
  • Cooler with food and Drinks (We prefer you bring non-glass items.)
  • Warm/Wet clothing
  • Wet Boots. Change of shoes for indoor. Multiple pairs of socks.
  • Fishing License: There is no fishing license for ‘tuna.’ Beginning in 2006, a saltwater fishing license is required to fish for albacore. Anglers can purchase either a saltwater angling license, or combo license, or a multi-day stamp.
  • Sunscreen
    • Apply often, Sun bites bad out here
  • Pliers
    • Oil them or Stainless steel
  • Sunglasses
    • Polarized allows you to see beneath the water.
  • Raingear (Bibbs or pants)
    • It’s gonna be wet and bloody

Food To bring:

This is a fast paced fishery that will limit your time available to cook sometimes. Nothing like having to reheat something 6 times before you actually get to enjoy its yumminess.

So we suggest you pack power bars and tons of light snacks. At times we may be on a 5 hour long bite. You don’t want to miss that journey because you’re heating up your chowder.

So snacks for the day and a nice meal for night time.


The Crew will be securing the coolers you bring with rope on deck. We ask no styrofoam and keep in mind size of the cooler and what’s stored in it. How often will it need to be accessed? Try to link up with other anglers and collaborate food storage.

Curious about a deckhand’s life? Read more


When Can you book With Us?

Season: Late June-October
Baits and Lures: Bait fish used with chum slick; plastic squids, multi-
chains, jigs, artificial lures
Methods and TackleTrolling, chunk baits with chum; medium to heavy

Please Request El Matador Thru our popular Local Charter office


El Matador History

Piece of Westport History

“Legends of Westport”

The Westport Charter fleet has some history to share. Built in 1972 and extended in 1974. Serving Ocean Shores and Westport as the local Ferry Vessel for quite some time. Now she is serving as a charter boat here in Westport, Washington.


Marty Rogers

New Owner – 2017

Westport, WA

Captain Marty Rogers El Matador

Marty Rogers is the owner/skipper of the El Matador. He began his journey fishing with his father and brother back in the late 60’s.

As a young boy growing up, he spent his summers deck handing and dreaming of the day he would own his own charter boat.

Marty bought his first boat in 1991. As a father of four children (at that time), he enjoyed many years of fishing.

Marty put his love of chartering on hold for a while, but is now back with the Deep Sea Charter’s fleet ready to continue where he left off. Marty and the crew will be fishing for rock fish, ling cod, halibut, salmon and albacore tuna. 

Bill Walsh

Retired – Original Owner – Bill Walsh

Westport, WA

A very humble and brilliant Entrepreneur of 11150315_895255147208667_133853312099922610_n (1)Westport. The name Bill Walsh resides with everyone that has ever purchased fuel here in westport, having owned the fuel dock. Now his days of being retired and relaxing are upon this hard working man.

Westport, Wa