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Old 08-13-2019, 09:05 PM   #1
Mark Mc
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Default If You Really Want a Big Bluefin... the Right Gear

If you want to up your odds of not just hooking....but landing a big bluefin up here in the NW....

- Big single hooks on your trolling jigs. Like the Mustad 7691 in a 7/0 - 10/0. Ditch the double hook. Double hooks are bad news on big fish.

- Heavy leaders, fluorocarbon best. Bluefin have very sharp teeth. More big bluefin are lost after a long fight because they chew through the line.

- Lots of backing on your reel. Very common for these fish to dump 300+ yards of line on the initial run. But also...after you get the fish to the boat...they do it all over again.

- Got split rings on your plugs or iron jigs? You better replace them with good heavy duty models....like the Owner versions.

- Got cheap stock hooks on your plugs? Better replace them with beefy single, or the Owner 4X trebles.

- Got assist hooks? Better be sure they are the super heavy versions. Many of the "stock" assist hooks & braid are poor quality. Again, get the good Owner or Mustad version.


On big fish, every single part of the gear gets tested. If there is one weak spot, one flaw, it will get exploited. Just say no to heartbreaks.

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Old 08-13-2019, 09:30 PM   #2
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Default Re: If You Really Want a Big Bluefin... the Right Gear

We are still wondering what was on this hook for about 30 seconds ????
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: If You Really Want a Big Bluefin... the Right Gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Mc View Post
... Ditch the double hook. Double hooks are bad news on big fish. ....

Can you explain why they are bad? Thanks.
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: If You Really Want a Big Bluefin... the Right Gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Mc View Post
If you want to up your odds of not just hooking....but landing a big bluefin up here in the NW....

- Big single hooks on your trolling jigs. Like the Mustad 7691 in a 7/0 - 10/0. Ditch the double hook. Double hooks are bad news on big fish.

- Heavy leaders, fluorocarbon best. Bluefin have very sharp teeth. More big bluefin are lost after a long fight because they chew through the line.

- Lots of backing on your reel. Very common for these fish to dump 300+ yards of line on the initial run. But also...after you get the fish to the boat...they do it all over again.

- Got split rings on your plugs or iron jigs? You better replace them with good heavy duty models....like the Owner versions.

- Got cheap stock hooks on your plugs? Better replace them with beefy single, or the Owner 4X trebles.

- Got assist hooks? Better be sure they are the super heavy versions. Many of the "stock" assist hooks & braid are poor quality. Again, get the good Owner or Mustad version.


On big fish, every single part of the gear gets tested. If there is one weak spot, one flaw, it will get exploited. Just say no to heartbreaks.
Also, probably best to have a flying gaff once you get them to the boat.

Okay, once you have the gear figured out, what are the best tactics to target them?
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:53 AM   #5
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Default Re: If You Really Want a Big Bluefin... the Right Gear

Double hooks are bad because of the fish only hooks one side of it he will open the hook also harpoon is very useful if no flying gaff can be had most all of us have harpoons for halibut and a buoy don’t tie them to a line to the cleat get buoy on it
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Old 08-14-2019, 03:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: If You Really Want a Big Bluefin... the Right Gear

We gaffed and hauled 200-350 lb Ahi over the rail with three standard Aftco 4" gaffs. It wasnt so bad.



See the Aftco standard 7' gaff? We used 3 of those. Me and 2 mexicans that weigh about 210# combined.

Last year on Shogun I watched Kevin land a 90 lbs BFT on 30# flouro, 50# spectra and an Avet MXL Raptor 2 speed.



He is 6'6" and a super good stick.

I landed one about 50- 60# on 30# flouro and 65 spectra on my Avet JX 2 speed.



I think a 40 lb albacore could drown a 100 lb BFT.

If a 100# bft grabbed my iron on my standard jig stick and Avet JX 2 speed with 40# flouro I would be confident. Or any of my troll rods.
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: If You Really Want a Big Bluefin... the Right Gear

Those of us fishing our own boats (not the cattle boats) have the advantage of being able to chase a really big Tuna... Marks advice is spot-on for those who may want to travel to San Diego where 90# BFT seem to be common these days!
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: If You Really Want a Big Bluefin... the Right Gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by garyk View Post
Can you explain why they are bad? Thanks.
Hi Gary, my headless tuna brother!

Although Puffin makes a great point (always put a tie wrap on doubles)....

the main reason to use a big single is that big fish make a lot of turns, and the fight can be a long time. A single hook PIVOTS around the single hole the hook makes. A tuna double (which is designed for commercial trolling, dragging the fish one direction) works against itself. When the fish turns and the hook tries to pivot, the hook starts to tear a bigger hole on the outside of the pivot. Then back the other way, same thing.

I hope that makes sense; you kind of have to visualize it.
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Old 08-15-2019, 07:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: If You Really Want a Big Bluefin... the Right Gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gun Rod Bow View Post
We gaffed and hauled 200-350 lb Ahi over the rail with three standard Aftco 4" gaffs. It wasnt so bad.



See the Aftco standard 7' gaff? We used 3 of those. Me and 2 mexicans that weigh about 210# combined.

Last year on Shogun I watched Kevin land a 90 lbs BFT on 30# flouro, 50# spectra and an Avet MXL Raptor 2 speed.



He is 6'6" and a super good stick.

I landed one about 50- 60# on 30# flouro and 65 spectra on my Avet JX 2 speed.



I think a 40 lb albacore could drown a 100 lb BFT.

If a 100# bft grabbed my iron on my standard jig stick and Avet JX 2 speed with 40# flouro I would be confident. Or any of my troll rods.
Although I agree with much of this, my little experience says a 100# bft is in a whole different class than a 40# albacore. Pound for pound I think the smaller blue fin fight a little better than our albies. The same rod combo my gf fought an 80# bft in November pulled in a couple 30# albies on the troll this week like they were trout. She landed the 80# bft in 5-6 minutes of constant battle using the rail technique. In low gear and freehand it was 1 minute tops for a 30# albie.

My albie jigging stuff is lighter but I think adequate for a sub 100 bft but it won't be sushi grade after that long of a fight. My buddy tried to horse what we think was a bigger bft in this week, within a couple miles of where that 92# fish was caught. On a jig rod with 40# leader and 50# braid. Snapped the leader trying to stop it's straight down run after getting it close to the boat.

The same November trip with 50# floro had the leader snapped like a twig when a deckhand sunsetted her drag with over half the spool gone. That was a big fish but couldn't get it to bite on 80# floro. Guys were taking 1/2 hour to land 50-80# bft on 30# gear that day. A very experienced guy took 1.5 hours to land a 170# bft on 60# gear, had to hand it off to a deckhand after 1 hour.

40# albies are rare for me, only landed 2 myself and seen 2 others caught beside me, they are indeed killer fights on our bait and jig gear but not in the same class as a 100# bft in my opinion. My 50-70 bft fought harder on heavier gear no doubt about it. I did take longer to land the 40# albies on lighter gear up here. All fun though.

I've only caught baby yft but it was fun on my avet single speed and trevala.
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Old 08-15-2019, 07:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: If You Really Want a Big Bluefin... the Right Gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gun Rod Bow View Post
See the Aftco standard 7' gaff? We used 3 of those. Me and 2 mexicans that weigh about 210# combined.
You are just proving my point about using a flying gaff (or halibut spear). Not all of us are a mountain of a man. I'd need like 4 100lb Mexicans to help me

I often fish with a 2 or 3 person crew. That leaves 1 or 2 to gaff. Very unlikely one guy is going to gaff a 100lb fish solo. I made sure to bring the halibut spear last weekend just in case. Probably wont ever hook something until we forget it, but hopefully some day it will all come together.
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Old 08-15-2019, 08:12 PM   #11
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Default Re: If You Really Want a Big Bluefin... the Right Gear

Pics of some of this heavy stuff....

Owner Hyper Wire split rings (better)....and the Owner Ultra (best); the ultra is so beefy, so strong, I had to buy these special split ring pliers from the east coast in order to open them.

Owner Monster stinger / assist hooks.Many 200+ lb bluefin landed on these down south.

Big singles.....you can see the standard tuna double for size comparison.

Smaller bag is a Terasima 8/0 stainless. A great Japanese hook. Special order from east coast. Also shown on the bottom of a Daiwa SK glow / chrome jig, with heavy split ring and crimped leader with chafe gear.


Pakula Dojo size 30...made in Japan for Australian company. You could hang a side of beef on these. Really.






Another view of hooks. Also shown is the 7691 Mustad. Big one is a 12/0. One on the troll lure is an 8/0. That's one of John Boyer's Eat Me lures...8 inches long. btw I really like the quality on the Eat Me trolling lures. John gave me a handful some years ago (thank you John!!). The smaller 6 inch version are really good albie lures. The one shown is more like a billfish lure, but I want to try it for our new "local" bluefin.

btw, notice on the Terasima how big the barb is. I like big barbs for challenging fish.

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Old 08-15-2019, 09:12 PM   #12
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Default Re: If You Really Want a Big Bluefin... the Right Gear

Thanks for all you guys posts for help on this stuff, I've been learning a lot the last couple years. Etonfish, the first gaff just holds the fish there, then the next gaff or two is to help lift it over the side. Just like the big boats in socal and how we land sharks etc. I sure hope I get a chance to land something like that up here.

This reminds me I need to secure the hook on the spare gaff in the boat...
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Old 08-16-2019, 10:50 AM   #13
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Default Re: If You Really Want a Big Bluefin... the Right Gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Etonfish View Post
You are just proving my point about using a flying gaff (or halibut spear). Not all of us are a mountain of a man. I'd need like 4 100lb Mexicans to help me

I often fish with a 2 or 3 person crew. That leaves 1 or 2 to gaff. Very unlikely one guy is going to gaff a 100lb fish solo. I made sure to bring the halibut spear last weekend just in case. Probably wont ever hook something until we forget it, but hopefully some day it will all come together.
I think you might be surprised. A good gaff in the head of a 100# tuna will hold him. A second gaff and two average anglers could pop them onto the deck. On the LR boats one deckhand sticks the fish and walks it down the rail (if its up front) and a second gaff is stuck and they lift it the 10' or so onto the deck.

Lots of guys here have gaffed near 100# halibut. One strong guy can do it.

OK. I might have exaggerated the Alibe versus BFT comparison. But I have caught 35# (on the scale) albies on 30# flouro, and the BFT pictured above. The Albie took a lot longer. Personal observation from experience.

Look at a 100# YFT next to a 100# BFT. The YFT has a 1/3 bigger tail. They are brutes.

I just dont think you need to make 100# BFT into some mystical king kong of a fish. With decent gear and a decent angler a lot of our equipment would handle them. Most guys around here have never seen 100 yards of line melt off the reel. So like mentioned above, they panic and jamb the drag.

A couple of Octobers ago we plugged with big grade Albies 26-35# We had 2 that scaled at 35 that day. All but one was caught on bait and 30# flouro. We never broke off a single fish that day. But they often had 2/3 of the 65# spectra off our 2 speed reels. They are super strong per their weight IMO.

Just my opinion. No scientific studies. Fish talk.
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Old 08-16-2019, 05:16 PM   #14
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Default Re: If You Really Want a Big Bluefin... the Right Gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flysnrides View Post
We are still wondering what was on this hook for about 30 seconds ????
Geez Pat....that thing had some pounds, whatever it was!!

Hope you got lots of tuna other than that one though
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Old 08-16-2019, 05:19 PM   #15
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Default Re: If You Really Want a Big Bluefin... the Right Gear

Thanks for the tips Mark. Every little bit helps, and these tips are great examples of those little bits that matter.

My biggest tuna has been about 50 lbs, in Cabo. I've seen a couple 170+ hanging down there during tournaments, but would love to land one even 70 or bigger up here!
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Old 08-17-2019, 02:01 PM   #16
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Default Re: If You Really Want a Big Bluefin... the Right Gear

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would love to land one even 70 or bigger up here!
You and every other person that goes out for tuna! Kinda goes w/o saying.
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