How to Avoid a Trophy Fish 7/13/09

Discussion in 'Tackle and Rigging' started by pametfisher, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

    Knowing how hard it is to find fish, entice them with some kind of artificial meal, and then land them, I try to prepare ahead of time and get things right. Before my trip to fish CC Bay yesterday I: went over the boat and gear from top to bottom, carefully set the drags, inspected the line and leader, found that the leader I had used in the prior outing was chafed at the tackle end ... and where the fish's tail had contacted it 6-7' upstream, and replaced it. All systems go.

    A couple friends (Paul and Kil) accepted a very late invite and drove overnight to make the 4:45 a.m. departure. The winds were higher than forecast and my 22'-er doesn't make great headway in four foot seas so it took 90 minutes to make the fishing-area-du-jour. It took an hour or so to locate a few fish who seemed to be cohabitating with whales and then another half hour or so to get a strike. I was lucky, and it was my rod that got the strike, right beside the boat. As a result, we got an excellent look at what was a good-sized fish--certainly one worth keeping.

    Kil, ever the optimist, ran for the gaff--still securely stowed, Mistake 1. If the gaff had been more ready, we might have snagged the fish.

    Paul, quick to help, shouted, "where's your belt"--safe in the bag under the leaning post, Mistake 2.

    Next there was a first run of about 30 yards while I distracted myself pointing out the gaff and modeling while Paul fixed the belt. Another tug and the fish was gone--pulled hook. It turned out to be one of only a few decent shots at fish--one of those days.

    At first I chalked it up to the luck of the draw. As I reflected on it, and then looked closely at my lure to see if a hook had bent. I saw a different story. Let me say first that I had already caught a few fish on this lure (photo below). Of the two Owner ST66 treble hooks there were six points--only three had full barbs (photo below), Mistake 3. Just to be clear, this was not a catch-and-release outing.

    And to add the icing to this cake, this was one of those fish that didn't head for the hills immediately and it wasn't far from the boat for at least 30 seconds. I've asked for, and received, great advice on a harpoon. This would have been the easiest fish in the world to "stick". But have I yet bought one? No--Mistake 4.

    So the result was that we came back empty handed. If I were to honestly say what happened, we worked hard, cast a lot, and connected with the one fish we were to find on this day. My distraction at unleashing the gaff and putting on the belt probably led to a momentary slack line and the lack of barbs on half the points sealed the deal.

    I got the result that should be expected given that I left the last 5 percent of preparation to chance. Now I'm wondering what else I haven't learned, the hard way, to prepare for.

    Attached Files:

  2. rtran

    rtran Senior Member

    tough break.
    i tend to care about nothing else than to set the hook at hook up
    all else i figure out later ha

    the barbs on the hooks is a hard miss. live and learn and now i can take that with me from your experience to check those before an outting also.
    thanks PF

  3. gman

    gman Senior Member

    The learning never stops and you have taught me a lesson today ...

    The fish that got away. Those are the best because your mind can wonder about what could have been. Those are the ones that keep us coming back. Roger what happened to you happens to us all. Its when you least expect the bite to happen it does

    4 times this year we were aimlessly casting into a school of blues or stripers bailing them at record pace only to have 4 fish over 64" hooked blindly in the middle

    As a school of thought from the moment we get to the waters my belt goes on BUT i do not place that rod into the belt until the first run is over and the hook is firmly set. I will fight that fish under the arm. Transition is where most lose the fish

    My lesson learned is I dont check my hooks enough and that is the lesson Im learning here as long as you keep heavy pressure barbless hooks work great as they use them for GT fishing.

    Sorry for the loss but I have several this year no worries you will get into them again soon. Harpoon is a must up there no doubt about it
  4. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

    Thansk for the invite. I had a great time to fish with you.
    I was going to drive alone and I called Paul to borrow a cooler just in case.
    When I met him at Dunk' Donut at Fort Lee, NJ at 10:00 pm, he cautiously asked me whether he could join the trip and I said yes though I did not ask you as it was too late to call you.

    The buoyweather report was right. Though local marine weather forcast called for 5 - 10 knot, BW forcasted 15- 20 knot in the morning before it became calm around noon.

    When you hooked the fish, I thougt it was a bluefish or striper as it didn't take any line. The fish came up to the surface within a minute and it was big tuna in mid 60" !!! The sharp hook must touched critical weak point in the mouth. :)

    Paul and myself enjoyed greatly even though we didn't have any tuna.
    Paul was just happy to have an opportunity to fish in Cape Cod while watching whale show, and he was in awe to see tremendous amount of sand eels on the water.

    I could relax on this trip and it gave me opportunity to experiment some new lures. When you hooked up the fish with Shibuki, I was testing Carpenter's BC-Y small lure. When I was told this lure is better than Shibuki, I had to grab a few though I paid over $50 per piece. :)

    Then, I tested my custom sluggo with a head of Shimano's Lucanus jig.
    It looked great, but damn bluefish cut it in half. :(

    The last lure I tested was a custom 3 1/2 oz pencil poppers. I got to love action of the lure and casting distance. Birds also love the lure too. Everytime I casted it out, several seagull followed it constantly attacking it.
    It must have right action to fool birds. I could cast it at least 20 - 30 yards farther than other lures I had. I am going to experiment it for yft in Gulf of Mexico soon. It should be an excellent lure for yft as it give long distance and action is so lively.
    Thanks Roger again.
  5. fishingeek

    fishingeek Senior Member

    You taught all of us a valuable lesson today!! As Gman mentioned I also put my belt on before we start fishing but NEVER check my hooks....that will change as of today!! Thank you for the education:)
  6. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

    You might think I'm a little extravagant, but I replace hooks now after every fish. Once you bend one and straighten it out, it becomes half strength. I, like you, have learned a lesson the hard way. I also now take the time to re-tie my braid to mono knot after each fish or every hour of casting.

    Getting lazy can cost you a fish. We all believe in "the longer your lure is in the water, the better chance of hook-up". The problem with me and most anglers, is discipline. You know what to do, it's just a matter executing it.

    A fish will always hit when you least expect it. You change lures, your buddy hooks up. You make a sandwich, all rods bend over. You grab a beer, the line starts screaming. You take a leak, all clickers start sounding. It never fails. .
  7. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

    A fish will always hit when you least expect it. .

    I jigged several hours for nothing when I fsihed Baltimore Canyon years ago, I went to bathroom to take a leak while putting my rod on rod holder. When I came back. the rod were bouncing with tuna on. :eek: That was the only tuna caught on that night.
  8. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

    Thanks everyone ... I got another lesson in Murphy's Law.

    In hindsight, there was no hurry to get the belt on. Had I been patient, waited till later to put the belt on and let Kil find the gaff on his own, who knows? Anyway, I've lived to fight another day.

    The best things in life are free ... but the best lessons in life are expensive.
  9. nxtbgctch

    nxtbgctch Senior Member

    Seems the barbs are the weak point on ST66s. I guess with the steel being so hard and them being thin they are brittle and prone to breaking. I dont have a load of experience with them but Ive seen some that look just like yours. The barbs seem a little shallow/ small in my opinion too.