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I was thinking of going to SD for BFT around September. What is the recommended gear and tackle for Blues?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was thinking of going to SD for BFT around September. What is the recommended gear and tackle for Blues?
There will be two classes of Bluefin around that time of the year.

Bait for Class 1: Use baitrod #1 On top 20 fathoms will be 35 to 60 lbers and they can be wide open or picky as can be. If bite is picky use 30 lb Fluoro, maybe 25 lb if you have to... Don't need a Class 1 popper rod, if they are hitting poppers, they are demolishing bait... West coast fishing is bait centric, lots of live bait thrown over...

Bait for Class 2: Down deeper in the 20 to 40 fathom depth will be the big "boomerangers". They will come up for the kite way off the boat or ya gotta go down for them. Torpedo sinkers and rubber bands (and a mate) will help you with a deep bait presentation... nose hook a sardine if weighted.... If mackerel are in bait tank go belly hook and trim the lower tail fin a half inch or so and he will dive Use 6/0 Mutu circle hooks.

Jigging for Class 2: Jig outfit #2 method 1. Deep high speed jigging is very effective for Bluefin. Glow in the dark PL68 with Mustad 11/0 single hook, welded rings is my first choice jig, I will vary in color... and a Tady 14a heavy blue mirror/glow is a good one to. Ask the captain where the deep bommerrangs are and work that depth. Place the rod on the rail and the butt between your legs and CRANK, CRANK, and Crank. Don't stop cranking until he runs quite a bit, right through the drag.... keep cranking, no hesitations when the fish hits... then the millisecond the fish spits that steel lure the big ass mustad is in the side of his face.... GAME ON! Use the rail, two speed is a must...

Jigging for Class 2: Jig outfit #2 Method 2. Flutter/Flat Fall jigging. 200 to 250 gram class jigs... Let the wind and/or drift speed determine which specific shape to use... Tady, Shimano, many good knock offs too... Single hook, no stinger. Drop to depth... watch for a hit on the way down. interrupt the fall every few seconds... Act wounded, pitch and flutter away. A combination of high speed and fluttering is effective too. I rotate between method 1 and method 2 as my arms decide....


Baitrod #1 7 or 8 foot, 20 to 40 lb line rated bait rod (soft tip). Reel, conventional single or two speed loaded with 40 lb spectra with 25 to 40 lb fluoro top shot. This is for late season finicky Bluefin if ya gotta go light to get the bite... If casting a conventional reel with a sardine is an issue, then a 6500 series spinner will work but you will not be able to fish the rail with a spinning outfit... and that means having to pump the spinning rod up and winding down repetitively and with small hooks, circle hooks or not... that leads to lost fish... hooks, ringed owner flyliner #2 to #6/0, whatever the bait allows that wont slow the bait down. I belly hook mostly...or gill hook the sardine...it hides the hook from those big eyeballs (If they are picky THIS WORKS!)

Baitrod #2 7 or 8 foot 40 to 60 lb bait rod (soft tip), Reel, two speed loaded with 65 lb to 80 lb spectra with 40 to 60 lb fluoro top shot. For a wide open bit on top or going deep in the middle of the day where line visibility may be an issue. Topshot can go to 80 lb Fluro at night. The line weight still needs to sized so a sardine can pull you out away from the boat to get bit flylining weightless, with a weight rig, the visibility is the only concern.

Jig Rod #1 7 or 8 foot, 40 to 60 lb line weight rated Jig rod. Reel, 60 to 80 lb spectra, high speed, wide spool, two speed reel. Fathom 60 LD2 is a good choice for medium to heavy tuna jigging reel, it has a combination of high speed turns ratio and wide/big spool to maintain diameter at depth where jig retrieve speed matters. Warning: you need to fish at least 15 to 20 lbs at strike on this setup, 25 lbs of drag is preferred drag for this fishing method. hang on to that pole... and KEEP CRANKING through the strike to the run... You will feel the hook set... Oh Ya.... Game on again...

Jig Rod #2 7 foot 80 to 100 lb line weight rated Jig or Rail rod. reel 100 lb class, high speed, wide spool, two or three speed reel. HXW Raptor is a good choice. High speed retrieve at 5.4:1 in overdrive and 2.5 in drive and 1.3 ish low gear in underdrive. The high speed retrieve and wide spool makes this a top choice in my arsenal for deep water big tuna jigging. spool with 100 lb spectra and 100 lb fluro topshot. 30 lbs of drag at strike... and you get it... keep cranking through the strike...

Kite rod & foot 100 to 130 lb line weight rated rail rod. 130 lb spectra and maybe 100 yards of 200 spectra topped. Let the boat hook you up with the rigs according to the bait to be used. You can also use a boat rod for the kite, which many boats prefer (Not me tho)

A 3.5 to 5 day trip is a good length for the local blue fin. good boots, lots of socks, towels, pliars, and have a ball...

Thanks for the chance to write this up and I would love to fish with you... I'm sure i left out alot so ask away as the date nears..

D-C
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
BTW... for trips less than 2.5 days i recommend the San Pedro boats out of 22 street landing... they are closer to the Cortez bank/Clemente fishing areas the bluefin are holding in. Amigo, Truline, Freedom, Fortune... all good boats, crews and captains 22nd Street Sportfishing Fleet - San Pedro, CA . five day trips are out of Sandy Eggo and lots of choices there too... 1.5 to 5 day trips out of seaforth landing are great choices to...

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well guys, I have a lot of friends that come out for 1.5 to 8 day trips. I do my best to get them with good charter masters and good boats. If someone travels a 1000 miles to go fishing and spends 700+ bucks on a 3 day trip, they need to minimize the learning curve and maximize the catching curve... Last year my brother in law drove from Tennessee and we spent 3 days on the ocean and we got skunked... I could not have anticipated that since the bite had been wide open up until that week. The boats drove the bluefin down and they were there, but very line shy... and the bait was thick, real thick. Casting a Sardine into a massive baitball of schooled of Sardines to get one of the countless Bluefin crashing on top can be sooooo frustrating. I can't make the fish bite but I know the boats/captains/mates from Mexico to Canada... I can make boat/captain recommendations I'm certain of but I cant make the fish bite. PM me and Ill send specific names of boats, captains, trips, and landings to help you anyway I can... I keep in close touch with the boat captains and what the bite was like, Sea Surface Temps, Bait type/size, Kite fish, etc, etc...

By The Way, for the 15 guys on the Old Glory to boat 21 Bluefin over 80 lbs this early in the season... The losses were 5:1 hook to boated ratio... They lost about 120 big ones through out the day... mostly under geared for tuna caused the losses... Early season surprise...

All I will ask for is to tip the mates appropriately, they will know your a referral before you get on the boat and they will bird dog you and assist as much as they can. Anything bad the mates/captains tell you about me is a lie... fisherman lie... I didn't do it... I swear!... unless it was good...

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OK, a little more about west coast tuna fishing... The shuffle... the underhand cast... hooking bait and of course...bait well manners.

The boat will more than likely troll around unsuccessfully until the Capt marks the bluefin or yellowfin and then the Capt. will circle/setup and tell a mate over the loud speaker to dump a scoop or two of sardines overboard... while the Capt watches to see if the tuna will come up to play.... then, if some are rising, the Capt. will shut the motors down and slide up as the boat turns for the drift. The side of the boat you start your fishing on is always into the wind ... so cast in the corner and then move up the rail towards the front of the boat... keep stepping to stay directly in front of your bait. don't hang out flat footed in the corner or anywhere else. Cast the bait and start the shuffle... everybody elbow to elbow and keep stepping as you let your bait run out to die a hero's death.

Hooking the bait is important and different techniques are for different times and conditions. The west coast menu is mostly Sardines and nose hooking the sardine is the easiest and quickest method. Butt hooking them just behind the anus pushes the sardine deeper in the water column and away from pesky seagulls. Collar hooking is harder to do, especially if your using circle hooks, and as with all hooking methods you must be proficient enough to hook the bait with as minimal damage to the bait as possible.... I find the owner flyliner wire hooks with welded rings in sizes #4, #2, 1/0 to 6/0 are excellent J-Hooks with minimal bait penetration damage and helps a bait swim fast and far little bait... that is the trick. be gentle on your bait... If you get a bait that swims under the boat... ditch it... new bait... if the bait stops swimming... ditch it... new bait.... you get it.

A lot of time can be spent trying to get a bait out of the baitwell. I don't like standing behind someone trying to get the hook in their bait at the baitwell... Pick your winning bait, corner it in the bait well, grab it and walk away and then pin it on the hook. Don't be that guy holding up three or four anglers from access to the baitwell why they try hard to show patience... Get your bait and get out of the way... please.... pick a lively green bait with as few blood spots on them and with its scales intact... bigger baits are good, fast active baits are better... run Forrest run....

The bait cast is a skill to understand more than perfect... perfecting will take time. I underhand cast my baits 90% of the time, I get them out there and I try to lob them to prevent the sardine from being smacked and stunned on the water when he lands... Be gentle on your bait. the lighter the hook and line the easier it is for the sardine to run away from the boat, and you want him to swim as far away from the boat as he can.... that's where the fish, especially the bigger fish are....

The rod, the rail, and your armpit.... although I wear a compact rod belt, I do not often fight fish from the belt. The butt of my rod is under my armpit, the forearm pad of my rod is on the rail of the boat, and my knees are often on the deck, and yes i wear knee pads if we are looking at a bigger grade. I do not pump the rod, I crank the reel in low gear every time the well bent tip moves up a hair.... tip rises, I crank, tip rises, I crank. The rod tip bent always... smooth, no pumping. shock absorption is the rod tip and the smooth drag (Cals grease)... This rail rod method allows a big amount of drag to be applied and when you need it... At first cranking while the butt is in your armpit may feel clunky, but it allows rapid transitioning as you race around the boat over then under angler after angler as the reel screams and the spectra sings.... GAME ON!

Trip types are varied. I prefer the 1.5 day trips at a minimum. The 1.5 day trip will leave the docks about 7 at night and you will fish from about 4 am until 8 at night, then the boat will come back at 6 in the morning a day later. These are great for me because it leaves after i get out of work and comes back before i go to work, so only one day vacation time needed. 1.5, 2.5, and 3.5 day trips are great since your sleeping while traveling both out and back. 3 to 5 day trips are easy to arrange and pull off and offer more variety for sure. 8 days or more take a lot of logistic effort for gear and fish

Fish... oh ya, what do we do with the fish... boats trips less than 3 days will filet the fish on the boat and charge you for it, around 5 bucks a fish, and you will get whole filets in sealed baggies. Once back at the any of the docks in Sandy Eggo, you can get the fish vacuum sealed by any of three companies that will be there waiting for you when the boat arrives. I have my favorite, they are all good, do get the heavier /thicker bags, get them cut in 2 lb packages and they will last better than expected... on the longer trips the boats wont filet and you will have to take your fish gilled and gutted or have the processor cut and package.... The longer trip boats will have your fish go from their RSW to the fish processors slush bins. all the fish processors understand the airlines requirements... I do highly suggest keeping the vacuum sealed bags DRY... put the ice in yard size plastic bags and don't let the bags get wet... wet bags turn into a block of frozen tuna packages that CANNOT BE BROKEN APART.... so keep them dry, freeze them a layer at a time ot else...

D-C
 

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The butt of my rod is under my armpit,
the forearm pad of my rod is on the rail of the boat,
and my knees are often on the deck,
and yes i wear knee pads if we are looking at a bigger grade.
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
well, the water temps are staying up in spite of a steady wind... This is it, the bite is here to stay... happy hunting...

The Royal Polaris called in with Daily Limits of Bluefin Tuna with 4 over 200# with 232 being the largest, 6 @185-197#, 35 @120-140# for 23 anglers.

Boat Limits before the four big ones got gaffed...

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Wouldn't it be better to have a shoulder harness and fighting belt instead of a rail rod?

Ive never went for BF before, BUT I have seen Capt Matt on his knees at the rail fighting YFT on spinning tackle, and I know using the rail is easier on the fishermen, but wouldn't you be just as successful with the belt and have better mobility when fightitng the fish.

Just a question, Legitimately trying to learn, and save some money to not have to buy a rail rod lol
 
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