During February, Howard routinely catches fish in the 30- to 40-pound range. However, by March, the average size of the tuna he catches increases to 40 to 60 pounds. While he can't definitively say that new schools of larger tuna move in, Howard believes that a 30-pound tuna could easily gain 10 pounds from one month to the next.
"Predator fish grow pretty quickly," he said. "Obviously the bigger they get the slower they grow, but tuna eat their body weight in food a day. You can imagine them just like dolphin at an early age. That's why dolphin and wahoo have no limit on them. They grow so fast."
Admittedly, tuna do not grow as fast, but predator fish like dolphin can grow about an inch a day until they get up to about 15 pounds or so. Therefore, it's not unreasonable to think that a 20-pound tuna caught and released in February could be the 30- or even 40-pound tuna you catch during April.
"How much they grow over a year's time, I don't know," Howard said. "But we definitely see the sizes of the fish get bigger and bigger as we move on into summer when we start catching some real studs. I think the fish getting bigger has a lot to do with these tuna just growing."