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5,121 Posts
Wouldn't it be better to have a shoulder harness and fighting belt instead of a rail rod?
Shoulder harnesses kind of work against you with stand up fishing,
more for fishing the chair.

You probably want a bucket harness and drop plate that rests on your thighs,
and some quick disconnect drop straps from bucket harness to reel lugs.
Braid makes some nice gear, look at Brute Buster for bucket style harness.
Can hang any type of plate from it.
You sit back into the harness to counter the pull from the fish/drag.
Done right, no back strain, your weight and legs do most of the work.

BUT I have seen Capt Matt on his knees at the rail fighting YFT on spinning tackle
Was he using the rod/reel upside down?
Not possible to "rail" a spinner otherwise

Just a question, Legitimately trying to learn, and save some money to not have to buy a rail rod lol
If you are targeting fish you can physically handle with a
harness, then you don't need/want a rail rod.
West coast boats have a low rail which is ideal for using a harness.
Other ports have higher rails and that makes fishing with the harness more difficult.

Funny, the place where Stand up fishing for tuna was developed, So Cal,
including the rods, and much of the tackle and harnesses,
with boats ideally setup to fish with a harness.
Couple of decades later and the fishermen in that area for the most part,
are all rail jockeys. Figure that one out. o_O:censored:
Although coming from the guys who strip their braid after every trip,
and put in the dish washer, I'm not too surprised. :rolleyes:
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155 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·
The harnesses are great if the tuna is behaving and you have him at the back of the boat... the ability to get in and out of the harness lugs and run up and down the rail with my braid bucket harness on is a challenge... under then and over fisherman’s lines while in a full Speed run down the rail... round and round the boat... over... under... straps dangling and catching gear and stuff on the way down the rail chasing a nutso tuna is hard on the crew and other fisherman as well as hard on you... shoulder straps are faster in and out of and allow you to point the rod straight down at the water using the rail while racing up and down the rails...


5,121 Posts
Fish with a proper drag setting,
and you won't be jogging around the boat to chase sub 150 lb tuna
on every hookup.

Sounds like a game of leapfrog,
run down the rail a few yards,
put rod on rail, fight fish momentarily,
then run a few more yards chasing fish,
then rod on rail again.
Poor technique is why the angler spends his time,
chasing a fish, because they lack any sort of control of the fish,
do to poor fish fighting technique and improper drag setting.

When fish runs an angler down a rail,
fish is recuperating at that time,
while wearing out the angler at the same time.

PS> while not many care, railing a rod,
eliminates any fish from IGFA record contention,
because using the rail is not considered sporting when fighting a fish.

PPS> quick disconnects exist to unhook in a second the straps
from the reel lugs.
Another set can drop the thigh plate in seconds if wanted.
No need to remove the bucket harness, as its not in the way,
and does nothing to limit angler movement to follow/fight a fish.

PPPS> a shoulder harness, when used in a fashion,
where you are railing a rod, and leaning forward to do so,
offers ZERO leverage or help to the angler in that position.

PPPPS> mandatory an angler washes his braid after every trip
otherwise the tuna won't bite on your outfit. :)

5,121 Posts
Better more expensive tackle is NEVER

a replacement or substitute for skill and technique.

Fact, end of story.

5,121 Posts
Oh, and don't forget the KNEE PADS for the game of leapfrog.
Run down rail, then rail rod, then drop to knees for more leverage on rail,
then back up, more jogging, more rail fighting, back onto knees, etc.

Fortunately, that shoulder harness is doing plenty to help angler
when he is leaning forward on the rail,
and when on his knees railing rod.

For sure, that shoulder harness is indispensable in this case.

PS> lots of ways to fillet a fish,
some do it in 30 seconds, others take 5 min to cut the same fish.
Some produce beautiful fillets, other produce hacked up cuts of fish.

Both filleted a fish.
One is obviously more proficient than the other,
probably the one with the shoulder harness on for filleting duties ;)

5,121 Posts
Shoulder harness you end up using your BACK to pull on the fish.

Bucket harness you use your body weight, leg muscles and your butt in a sitting motion
to apply pressure and pull on the fish.

Remember, never use your knees to bend to pick things up,
bend over and use your back to lift. 💪
Put your back into everything, don't use your legs or arm muscles
use your back.
Since medical science has eliminated all potential back injury with
the new pill they have,
there is no longer a concern about damaging ones back,
the magic pill solves it all.

#Shoulder Harness for rail fishing
#Color matching knee pads to use with harness

5,121 Posts
Illy, this is an interesting read and I agree with paul on most all of it...
lily, this is an interesting picture.
Its Paul the author of the article using the exact harness I recommended.
Notice, he is easily clearing the gunnel with his reel, even in the bow
where the gunnel is higher.

Paul no longer uses that harness,
and has become a rail jockey as well.

Why, first he stresses, like DC about the clips to lugs on the reel.
Quick disconnects solve that issue.
Second but main reason is, Paul is no longer physically strong enough
to handle tuna fish, standup style, using a harness.
He is 15-20 years older today, and just not strong enough to fish them standup style.
Since the idea of fishing from a fighting chair is out or not possible,
to keep on fishing, its relies on being a rail jockey.
A necessary choice for those physically unable to handle tuna or larger fish.

For anglers who are physically capable of handling fish in a stand up format,
that is far more effective,
and SPORTING when it comes to fishing,
as you are actually fighting the fish,
not using the boat as a lever to accomplish the task,
more mano a fisho

Here is Paul's comments about a harness.
"Since I started fishing the rail,
I do not use any type of rod belt or harness any more.
I can move up and down the boat faster when hooked up.
I can put the rod under my left or right arm when needed. "

Seems Paul is missing out on that indispensable piece of equipment when fishing the rail,
Maybe somebody needs to explain to him how helpful it really is. :rolleyes:

If a fisherman is going to ride the rail,
then do it in more efficient format,
put your weight into it,
and get off the knees.

PS> remember on the LR boats, longer trips,
the age bracket for fishermen on those trips skew towards senior citizen age,
why you get the advice about rail fishing from this group.

PPS> If you calculate out the daily cost of LR fishing for the longer trips,
you will find the average daily cost to go LR fishing is LESS THAN
staying at a nursing home.
Maybe why the seniors dominate that fishery :)

PPPS> also consider the source of the advice,
DC was informing us a couple of months ago
how fishermen like himself were SUCCESSFUL in keeping
MPLA's out of their waters/state.
I had to point out there are currently 126 MPLA's in his state.

5,121 Posts
. under then and over fisherman’s lines while in a full Speed run down the rail...

rail while racing up and down the rails...
Ah, more wisdom being shared.....

"Full speed run down the rail" WHY?

Normally with tuna, the fish run where you might have to follow them
occurs during the initial stage of the fight, usually right after hookup.
After the fight progresses a bit, the fish usually settles down and goes deep,
now its more of an up and down fight.

During that initial run where you might have to follow a fish,
go over or under other lines,
the fish at that point is usually several hundred feet or more away
from the boat, so the line is at a shallow angle,
and enters the water further from the boat,
making it easy to prevent any tangling from occuring.

Angler follows the fish, and goes over or under other lines
to prevent a tangle.
Now, when an angler is about to go over/under another angler,
does it matter if there is 200, 350, 500, feet of line in the water
to pass over/under?

NOT AT ALL, ZERO DIFFERENCE how much line is out,
has no effect on the over/under pass.

So, why we running at "full speed" down the rail?

Come on HJ, you're not thinking,
the fish is running line off the reel and the angler will get spooled.

Ok, full speed for average human is probably around 7mph on a boat,
lets ignore the obstacles known as humans along that rail.
7 mph is 8.8 feet per second.
LR boats are 100-120 feet, so about 13 seconds to get down the rail D-C style.

What did running down the rail accomplish when it comes to preserving
line on the reel, about the length of the boat, lets call it 110 feet.
So full speed D-C dash down the rail,
"saved" 110 feet of line.

Mr. Charlie Yellowfin Tuna is moving conservatively at 35mph,
he can swim as fast as 45-48mph,
but he is only up against D-C today, so he is only cruising at 35 :)

At 35 mph, Charlie is moving 52 feet per second,
so that 110 feet is consumed in about 2 seconds.
So that full speed mad dash to the bow,
gives D-C 2 extra seconds of watching the line scream off the reel.
A reel with probably 1200-1500 feet of line or more on it.

So, mad dash to follow gains 2 seconds for D-C,
and zero difference when it comes to over/under,
other then making it more difficult to accomplish because
the angler is rushing it at high speed,
instead of just passing over/under at a normal casual pace.

(Slow is fast, fast/rushed is slow)

Also, while the focus of this mad dash is to "catch up to the fish"
to prevent being spooled, and get to the bow, at the sake of all else.
The angler would have been far better served to stop along the way,
and apply some extra drag with fingers or drag setting,
and employ some techniques to slowdown or change direction of fish.
Which is what they will probably try to do anyway,
after their mad full speed dash down the rail to the bow,
gaining all of 2 seconds in the process.

Poor Technique, like I mentioned previously,
leads to the exact situation above,
chasing fish "round and round the boat... "
This is known as a clown show.

Improving technique,

leads to improved skills,
and better catches.

Basically, think about/analyze what you are doing,
most fishermen do really dumb shit most of the time,
that usually works against their goals.
#Stop doing dumb shit

PS> when you go on a party boat tuna trip
and the mate is discussing the trip and game plan.
They tell you to FOLLOW your fish,
nobody tells you to RUN after your fish.

5,121 Posts
How to

If you are on a boat with a low rail,
and you are fishing in a harness,
and need to pass over/under anglers.

No need to unhook from the reel lugs,
you can remain connected.
When you need to pass under,
the other angler is going to step back,
you go under and simply lean forward over the rail a bit,
you go under with zero issue,
rod is low and over the rail pointed at the horizon.

When going over,
you go behind the angler,
but before, you pull back on your rod,
and basically high stick the rod,
and you easily pass over the angler.

A common "accident" to occur during a pass,
is the angler getting passed,
gets hit in the head with the reel.
That can only happen when not in a harness.

Follow the fish, pass an angler,
STOP and apply some more drag,
do what you know how to do to start slowing down the fish.
Running after it is a waste of time if you are worried about getting spooled,
slowing it down is far more effective at delaying that from happening
Realistically, even rushing, you might be moving at 3mph to get to the bow,
while the fish is going 35, chasing it is not going to save you if its an oversized fish.
Slowing it down, or chasing it with a boat like charter/private boats do is the right move.

Doing laps around the boat chasing tuna
instead of aerobics at the nursing home,
is not the right move.

PS> when the bite is on,
you want to land your fish as fast as possible,
not go for a jog with it "round and round the boat,"
so you can get back into the water FAST,
to catch another fish or twenty before the bite dies.
Save the boat laps, picture taking, high fiving,
and all the other time wasting stupidity,

This makes the biggest difference in determining
how full your cooler is at the end of the day,

regulations aside.
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