Blue fin popping is starting to really take off in Croatia , I plan on spending a month there this summer with my family , I will be checking all the charter boats and will also try to go out with some commercial guys as well .. The Adriatic bluefin are there year round , they also get swordfish , mahi ,dusky grouper, amberjack and other bottom fish .. We own two houses on the coast one on the main land and the other is on a island in a very small village . My wife told me you can see the tuna braking water from the beach in the summertime . This could be a great place to go popping for tuna .
The Adriatic Sea can be compared to the Sea of Cortez in Baja California, Mexico, as it is enclosed between the Italian peninsula and the former country of Yugoslavia. This 430-mile-long basin consists of two main fishing territories: the North Adriatic, from Venice to Porto San Giorgio, which has a long, narrow, sandy-gold shoreline; and the Central Adriatic, from Porto San Giorgio to Santa Maria di Leuca, which has a rocky shoreline with some short white-sand beaches.
The major angling interest in the Adriatic is the giant bluefin tuna, although considerable enthusiasm is devoted to blue and thresher sharks, albacore, mackerel, and sea bass.
The bluefin tuna was likely the first big-game species encountered by fishermen in this region. They were subsistence fishermen, however, and far removed from the sophisticated population inhabiting Italy today. History suggests that the earliest meetings between tuna and man occurred in the Mediterranean Sea. The northern bluefin began its trek toward exploitation well before the birth of Christ. More than 4,000 years ago, the Phoenicians used the first rudimentary net traps in the Mediterranean to catch this species. The design of nets to catch these formidable fish has been handed down through the centuries, and today two remaining descendants of the practice, called tonnare, are still in operation out of Sicily—living legends and the last keepers of an old way of life on the sea.
It was not until the 1970s, however, that the first giant bluefin tuna was caught with rod and reel by trolling a dead mackerel just off the mouth of the Po River in the Adriatic Sea. This discovery became a catalyst for many inshore anglers, who decided to outfit their boats for tuna. The true impetus behind Italy’s bluefin sportfishery, however, was importation from the United States and France of drift-and-chum fishing tactics.
Schools of tuna of all sizes were spotted practically all along the peninsula in every region of the country. By the 1980s and early 1990s, hundreds of giants had been caught under International Gamefish Association (IGFA) rules and Italian law. (Italy allows only one bluefin tuna boated per day per boat, except during sanctioned tournaments.) The anglers observed that each size of bluefin—small (up to 70 pounds), medium (70 to 200 pounds), and giant (up to 900 pounds)—did not intermingle and engaged in different seasonal movements. It was eventually learned that small bluefin frequent the southern Adriatic, Ionian, and Ligurian Seas; medium-size bluefin run all along the Thyrrenian, Ligurian, and central Adriatic Seas; and giant bluefin prefer the Sardinian and Sicilian water, and the northern and central Adriatic Sea.
In late spring, after having spawned in the cool waters of the Ionian and Aegean Seas, hungry bluefin scatter in two main directions to pursue huge schools of bait. One moves toward the Adriatic Sea, the other passes through the Sicilian and Sardinian Channels to enter the Thyrrenian and Sardinian Seas.
In this erratic period, the bluefin that have gone the Adriatic way will follow the warm northward surface current that passes close to the Yugoslavian coast, arriving at their final destination in the northern Adriatic in early summer. Some schools of tuna are turned westward in the central Adriatic by a frontal eddy formed around Gargano’s Promontory, so the first giants arrive in the southern Adriatic in late spring.
The majority of giant bluefin remain in the shallow waters of the northern Adriatic until early fall, when they return to the eastern Mediterranean, following the hot southward surface current that passes close to the Italian peninsula. They return to the central Adriatic in late autumn.
In essence, the giant bluefin tuna season in the northern Adriatic runs from June through November; July, August, and September are the peak months. In the central Adriatic, giants run from April through December; May, August, September, and October are the peak months. The medium and small bluefin frequent the deeper waters off the central and southern Adriatic year-round. Fishing opportunities for medium tuna peak in spring and winter, and for small tuna in autumn.
At the beginning of the fishing season in the northern Adriatic Sea, giants feed more than 30 miles offshore from Chioggia, Albarella, Porto Garibaldi, Porto Barricata, Rimini, and Pesaro. All of the northern Adriatic Sea is characterized by shallow depths (maximum of 90 feet) and by an extremely variable demarcation line between the inshore and offshore waters. For these reasons the local sportfishing boats, which are small but fast, mount their fighting chair on the bow, so the skipper can chase the big tuna during their long, shallow runs.
The central Adriatic has a longer fishing season, and giants are landed from modern marinas at Pesaro, Porto San Giorgio, Numana, San Benedetto del Tronto, Pescara, and Termoli. It is possible at these sites to charter well-equipped sportfishing boats with experienced skippers and mates who have countless giants to their credit.
Incidental catches while drifting for bluefin tuna include thresher sharks, blue sharks, and swordfish. During the off-season for bluefins, however, anglers can count on a lot of sharks, particularly blues (February through May) and threshers (year-round), together with green mackerel sharks (November through May), and sea bass (year-round). These fish are regularly caught on light drifting tackle.