Fighting a big tuna

Discussion in 'Jigging and Popping' started by ksong, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    I just read of an article written by a Capt of Shogun long range boat out of San Diego. I agree with him 100 percent. Many fish are lost due to unnecessary long hour fighting because fishermen don't use enough pressure or use light lines for them.
    They are talking about rod length or choice of reels, but the most important thing to shorten fighting time is to give enough drag.
    Fishermen using 9' popping rods with spinning reels can land big tuna in short time. It is mainly because they can give enough drag.

    Here is the article:


    So let me jump up on a soap box here, since we are traveling and we are done scrubbing the boat. This is not pointed at any one person, but these are things or circumstances that I see and hopefully can help you on future trips to land a fish of a lifetime. A passenger had hooked a nice fish, a big one, maybe even over 200 pounds. He fought the fish admirably, but after a time his line broke and the fish swam free.

    After a few minutes of recollection, he came to me showed me the end of his line and asked what happened, what did he do wrong. Well, I could have just told him his knot broke and have been done with it, but thats not it. That is not the whole story. The reason he lost that fish was because he didn't pull hard enough, early enough in the fight while his terminal tackle(knots, crimps or whatever) still had the strength to be pulled on. Actually what happened was that he had crimp his mono and the crimp slipped which terminally cause the line to break at the hook. He could have done a better job of crimping, but really this is beside the point.

    If he had put the coals to that fish in the first half hour that sleeve would have held fine. Now, you don't want to try and stop a big fish if he is going away from you. You won't, something will break, give him his head, let the fish go under a relatively tight drag, but not stupid tight. When that fish stops is when you start gaining line. Line should be going off your reel or coming back onto your reel. I would say that there are maybe 5% of the anglers that come out here that understand just how hard you can pull on 100 pound line, much less 130. You will say "I don't want to pull the hook", well you really don't have much choice in pulled hooks.

    Its a sad case, but sometimes luck isn't in your favor and the hook pulls, really it doesn't have to do with how hard you are pulling on the fish. This is more with the size of hook you are fishing, bigger the hook the less often they pull. A good comparison is that when you hook that big yellowfin a timer has started. When that timer goes off is when your line breaks, because its going to break eventually and the longer you are on that fish the bigger the chance you are going to break something. Then I had another instance, the fish is just outside of deep color, its been there doing circles for fifteen minutes, I suggest that we should push the drag up. I got this answer "its already at 33 pounds".

    I don't care if that drag is at 133 pounds if you aren't moving that fish and standing there watching him wear a hole in it mouth its time to increase the drag! That poundage number is over rated and should only be used as a mark nothing more. 33 or 23 pounds means nothing if you can't gain line when you need to. Its great to use a scale to set your drag, but don't let that stop you from increasing the amount throughout the fight. Towards the end, as that fish gets close you will almost always be bumping your drag up in small increments, to keep gaining line.

    There are very few times that you can't move that fish or it hangs at deep color doing circles. Each circle is one more closer to your line coming apart. Be smart with the amount of pressure you are applying, have respect for the fish, use the proper tackle for the size of fish you are angling for, and most of all have a good time.

    Sometimes it takes a few trips to land that fish you have set your goal at. Many very good anglers have made trips for year after year before they got their first 200 pounder. They deserve our respect.
     
  2. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    the skill of fighitng big fish cannot be learned on the internet. it has to be learned from fighting big fish. while i like to think of myself as pretty experienced and skilled in fighting fish, i have a lot to learn when it comes to fighting huge fish and how to do it. i hope to learn in a couple months :)

    everyone is always learning. its best to take advice from captains like this who have seen it done many times. this is a good read for everyone
     

  3. gman

    gman Senior Member

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    great article and good read. i would agree with heavy pressure the longer the fish is in the water the more chances i will lose it
     
  4. Sea Crappie

    Sea Crappie Senior Member

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    Here's another vote for big drag on big tuna. The longer the fish is on the line, the more things can go wrong.
     
  5. rtran

    rtran Senior Member

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    The faster I can get it in the boat the happier I'll be!
    I've learned to not rest on a fish. Always work it and gain line back when you can.
     
  6. lite-liner

    lite-liner troll enforcement Staff Member

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    " I got this answer "its already at 33 pounds".

    I don't care if that drag is at 133 pounds if you aren't moving that fish and standing there watching him wear a hole in it mouth its time to increase the drag!"

    that pretty much puts it in perspective for me.....

    very good article. if you're not winning, you're losing. pretty simple.
     
  7. peterk814

    peterk814 Senior Member

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    i guess when i jam my fingers into the spool when a fish is taking drag im doing the right thing =)
     
  8. CClassic28

    CClassic28 Junior member

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    Something I live by on my boat, when fighting a fish, either the fish is taking line or you are retrieving it, no rest...boat 'em as fast as possible.

    Lost a 200# plus bigeye this season from an extended "light" drag battle... boated 3 others that day though... (All of those fish caught on heavier drag pressure) 188# 189# & 234#
     

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  9. cubanfishermar

    cubanfishermar Senior Member

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    peter becareful if you r using spetra or anythig like that;)
     
  10. canyondiver

    canyondiver Guest

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    peter becareful if you r using spetra or anythig like that;)
    Why?
    I use it on a few of my heavy outfits, and I put the screws to a fish once it settles down. I run an 80 lb rig that can max out at about 55 lbs of drag, That's not enough to break 80, so I will max it whenever I can.:)
     
  11. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    Something I live by on my boat, when fighting a fish, either the fish is taking line or you are retrieving it, no rest...boat 'em as fast as possible.

    Lost a 200# plus bigeye this season from an extended "light" drag battle... boated 3 others that day though... (All of those fish caught on heavier drag pressure) 188# 189# & 234#
    You definitely need to give pressure when fighting big bigeye.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. lordhell

    lordhell Moderator

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    You definitely need to give pressure when fighting big bigeye.

    [​IMG]

    Holy cow, that is a monster Kil! Where at and what did u catch that beast on? :eek:
     
  13. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

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    I just read of an article written by a Capt of Shogun long range boat out of San Diego. I agree with him 100 percent. Many fish are lost due to unnecessary long hour fighting because fishermen don't use enough pressure or use light lines for them.
    They are talking about rod length or choice of reels, but the most important thing to shorten fighting time is to give enough drag.
    Fishermen using 9' popping rods with spinning reels can land big tuna in short time. It is mainly because they can give enough drag.

    Here is the article:


    ... I could have just told him his knot broke and have been done with it, but thats not it. That is not the whole story. The reason he lost that fish was because he didn't pull hard enough, early enough in the fight ...

    ... Now, you don't want to try and stop a big fish if he is going away from you. You won't, something will break ... a relatively tight drag, but not stupid tight ...

    ... bigger the hook the less often they pull ...

    ... if you aren't moving that fish and standing there watching him wear a hole in it mouth its time to increase the drag ... Towards the end, as that fish gets close you will almost always be bumping your drag up in small increments, to keep gaining line.

    ... Each circle is one more closer to your line coming apart. Be smart with the amount of pressure you are applying ... use the proper tackle for the size of fish you are angling for ...



    (Ksong) has written many times about the virtue of drag in successfully fighting large fishing. He has tens of years and hundreds of hours fighting big fish of many different types. So I guess we should take that input as a given.

    And since I'm not out there fishing with a rod & reel that's really a winch (or rope in a bucket like a friend of mine has for giants), but with the spinning gear ksong mentioned, the question's not is his advice right, it is. The questions I see:

    1. How much drag can my spinning reel put out and for how long?

    2. What is the maximum pressure that my line system (line, leader, knots, crimps, hooks, etc.) can achieve, before it's worn down by a fish.

    3. How physically prepared are the fishermen on my boat to apply drag near the maximums (as needed)? Do they know what those pressures feel like, and under what conditions their equipment can take them? (e.g. No "high sticking" at max drag.)

    4. When the fish is below the boat, if I palm the reel (locking the spool) and keep the rod within a range of angles, can I pull 100% without breaking the line or rod? (In the case of me and my equipment the answer is yes. I "max" out.)
     
  14. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    i think one of the most interesting points he makes is that your gear will fail on you at some point. whether the hook pulls, line breaks, knot slips, etc....it'll happen eventually so its best to get it in quickly to try and avoid it.
     
  15. rtran

    rtran Senior Member

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    4. When the fish is below the boat, if I lock the reel and keep the rod within a range of angles, can I pull 100% without breaking the line or rod? (In the case of me and my equipment the answer is yes. I "max" out.)

    You have to just fish. Match your rod and lines and know your limit. There are too many variables to consider to put all this info in your head. It's good to be prepared but most of these aspects you bring up can easily be learned by just getting on the water.

    I use 1/3 rule for rod and line rating and then set my drag accordingly. Sometimes I set drag a few lb below what I want it to be at and turn it up during the fight after fish has made initial strike. Bring gear for what your fishing for. Don't expect to bring a boat outfit to fish for cow and hope you have a chance.

    To answer your question, if you lock your reel and risk over testing your line and rod it will break, simple as that. "Locking" or maxed drags/reels are unecessary if you know your equipment and limits. Why would you risk locking up drags on low rated lines or why even if your rod cannot handle that amount of pressure? Why bring equipment not suitable for fishing what you are fishing for? If your fishing right gear you would never have to totally max or lock your drag.

    If your gear is maxing out I'm assuming you have reached maximum drag and your rod and lines still have plenty of room for more. How much drag are you trying to apply?

    The article is right, after you feel you have hooked a big fish. A timer should start, I felt that sense of urgency after the first few times I went offshore. Knots/lines will probably weaken after a long fight. Most typically we are using very thin lines and a prolonged fight is not what we want. They could get damaged or lines could be slightly flaw in some areas which would greatly depreciate the strength of the line. We put the hurting to them and get them in the boat so we have less chance of loosing the fish.
     
  16. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

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    ...To answer your question, if you lock your reel and risk over testing your line and rod it will break, simple as that. "Locking" or maxed drags/reels are unecessary if you know your equipment and limits. Why would you risk locking up drags on low rated lines or why even if your rod cannot handle that amount of pressure? Why bring equipment not suitable for fishing what you are fishing for? If your fishing right gear you would never have to totally max or lock your drag.

    Let me turn the question around. When you have a large fish directly below the boat, what is the maximum pressure you are physically able to put on a fish given you, your rod and your reel?
     
  17. rtran

    rtran Senior Member

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    Let me turn the question around. When you have a large fish directly below the boat, what is the maximum pressure you are physically able to put on a fish given you, your rod and your reel?

    If it's straight down, the amount of drag you initially set. I'm not going to juice up my drag if my gear cannot handle it, it makes no sense. When I scale my drags I am holding it 45* and the rod tip is pointed straight at the floor.

    If the fish runs below the boat to the other side is a different story, that scenario you will prob be bent over or rod in arm trying not to high stick and break your rod.

    That's why you bring the right gear for what your fishing. IE 50 lb class, 100 lb class. You don't bring a 50lb class outfit to fish for giants jus to put in that perspective.
     
  18. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

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    If it's straight down, the amount of drag you initially set. I'm not going to juice up my drag if my gear cannot handle it, it makes no sense. When I scale my drags I am holding it 45* and the rod tip is pointed straight at the floor.

    If the fish runs below the boat to the other side is a different story, that scenario you will prob be bent over or rod in arm trying not to high stick and break your rod.

    That's why you bring the right gear for what your fishing. IE 50 lb class, 100 lb class. You don't bring a 50lb class outfit to fish for giants jus to put in that perspective.

    So just to be a little argumentative for a moment to illustrate a point:

    --The author of the original article favors increasing drag as you go to reduce the fight.

    --When a couple hundred yards of line get peeled off a spinning reel the drag goes up 40-50%

    --If I started at 25# that means it might get to 35-40# with the line out.

    --Why wouldn't I be willing to find a way to apply that much drag with the fish below the boat?

    --And what if you go fishing for 100# fish and get lucky and hook a 200#er? Isn't it good then to know what your true maximum numbers are?

    Thanks for your thoughts,
     
  19. rtran

    rtran Senior Member

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    So just to be a little argumentative for a moment to illustrate a point:

    --The author of the original article favors increasing drag as you go to reduce the fight.

    --When a couple hundred yards of line get peeled off a spinning reel the drag goes up 40-50%

    --If I started at 25# that means it might get to 35-40# with the line out.

    --Why wouldn't I be willing to find a way to apply that much drag with the fish below the boat?

    --And what if you go fishing for 100# fish and get lucky and hook a 200#er? Isn't it good then to know what your true maximum numbers are?

    Thanks for your thoughts,

    Sure, I get what your saying. If your rod/line is rated for it do it. As I said, that's where the general bracket of outfits come in. And I agree, know your equipment max.

    On another note, the author probably sees people fish very heavy rod and lines and know the reels most of the time max out in drag so he tells them to turn it up.
     
  20. rtran

    rtran Senior Member

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    I've studied a bit about my tackle before deciding whats for me (jigging/popping).
    Simply, know your max of your gear and know how much you can turn it up but don't lock it unless you like a unlimited class rod and high test.

    Some examples.
    My popping outfit. Rod can do 30lb max drag so I matched lines to the rod. The reel can do more than that but I don't want a super heavy rod to cast all day and one that can't work lures well to match it. I would never do over 30lb as the rod will break if the fish ever decided to take off at bad angle so I'll never need to put anything over PE6 lines as it's unecessary. I fish this at 22-25lb of drag so I have room for more.
    My jigging outfit. PE6 max 30lb drag rod, reel has max 25lb drag. Fished at 25lb, if the fish is big doing circles I can apply a bit of pressure with thumb here. Small mis match here with reel but this is my medium jigging outfit.
    Heavy jigging, PE8, 30kg over max drag rod, reel max drag 40lb-45lb. Fished at 35lb with more room to go.

    As to the original post of Kils. I agree turn the drags up during the fight but know your limits.