Both the Skipjack and the Albacore are in the family of tunas. They both are found in the offshore waters of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. Although both tunas roam well out to sea and are in the same family, they are very different. What is a skipjack tuna vs. albacore tuna. 

Where do these two types of tuna live

Both the Albacore and the skipjack inhabit much of the same waters along the eastern United States states. 

Albacore tuna range

The range of an albacore tuna is from as far north as Nova Scotia and down through the central part of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean.

Skipjack tuna range

Although the skipjack tuna will enter Nova Scotia’s waters, it does not frequent these parts. They are found frequently found between Cape Cod and south Florida. 

How to identify a skipjack vs. albacore

Fortunately, anglers can identify both types of fish with ease. They are similar in shape but have key characteristics to differentiate the two. 

Skipjack tuna identification

When it comes to distinguishing marks, the skipjack tunas are apparent. Dark-colored stripes run along both sides of the lower half of the body from head to tail. The lines are far different than those on a bonito which are on the upper tail portion. Most skipjack is caught between two and ten pounds but can top 15 pounds. 

Albacore tuna identification

Much like the skipjack, the albacore has a tale-tell sign. The pectoral fins are incredibly long. They extend between the anal fin and the tail. The very tip of the tail is white. Unlike the skipjack, it has no markings. The albacore tuna grows relatively large. They are abundant between ten and fifty pounds. 

Is albacore tuna and skipjack tuna good to eat

The albacore and skipjack tuna are not highly sought after by anglers for the flesh. The meat of albacore is considered by most to be tasteless with the exception of it being popular canned.  A skipjack, when filleted, is dark red and appears unappetizing but is edible. Some of the best-tasting tuna in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia are the yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna, and bluefin tuna. 

How are albacore tuna and skipjack caught

Albacore tuna and skipjack tuna are targeted by trolling. However, the skipjack is easier to target than the albacore. 

How to catch skipjack tuna

The skipjack tuna is frequently found in schools near the ocean’s surface, making them easy to target for anglers who are trolling. The preferred lures include spoons and feathers. When they are feeding on baitfish, cast a spinner with a jig or plug. 

How to catch albacore tuna

Much like the skipjack tuna, the albacore tuna is also caught by trolling; however, they typically stay deep. Because albacore roams in deeper waters, they are challenging to target. 

What type of rod and reels are best for albacore and skipjack tuna

For skipjack tuna, light trolling equipment in the twenty-pound range is ideal. Albacore tuna are larger and require line weights of 30 pounds. Both types of tuna are not surface fighters. Tuna will keep themselves sideways and dive deep. Medium rods will help the angler with leverage in combating the deep dives. 

Is it worth fishing for skipjack and albacore

Neither the skipjack nor albacore tuna is worthy of specifically targeting when offshore fishing. The best type of tuna to chase are bluefin, blackfin, and yellowfin. These types of tuna are better gamefish and provide excellent table fare. Skipjack tuna and albacore tuna may be a bycatch when seeking the more highly sought-after varieties. Anglers who have the right boat and gear should run offshore for tuna fishing.