how to fight big tuna with a long popping rod

Discussion in 'Jigging and Popping' started by ksong, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    We are having great season for big bluefin on poppers in Cape Cod this year. Fighting big blueifn in 150 lbs - 200 lbs on long popping rods are not a joke as some experienced already.

    Here are my advice how to fight big tuna on long popping rods based on my experiences and observations.

    1. keep your pace
    I observed that first time tuna popping fishermen try too hard initially as if they land a big tuna within a minutes.
    Slow down your motion and keep pace expecting long fight. When you get tired, slower your fight. Some around you will urge you to continue to fight by saying 'if you rest, tuna rest'. Don't pay much attention to it either. :) If you get tired, let rod tip and drag fight for you. Not to try overpace yourself and not to try more than you are capable of.

    2. take time
    Some claim the they land a 200 lbs in 10 munutes. Don't pay attention to it and take your time and enjoy your fight.
    If someone actually land a 200 lbs tuna in 10 mintues, they are extemely skillful to handle heavy drag and are trained like a machine. But I know I can't. :)
    If you take 30 minutes to get 150 lbs tuna, don't be ashamed. You got to respect the sheer power of big tuna and it is normal to take time to land a big tuna. To land a big tuna as quick as possible doesn't do anything good to you. As I said, keep your pace and enjoy your fight.

    3.use your legs and upper body
    Beginners try to pull the rod with hands/arms, but it only make you tired easily. Use your extended arms as a guide and leverage, and work your legs and upper body for popping and gaining lines.

    4.keep your gimbal position lower
    I see many fishermen use small fighting belt around their waist. It really can hurt your back and you can not fight effectively.
    Bucket style harness with drop down fighting belt really can help you.
    The use of back supporting belt is highly recommended.

    5.set proper drag
    I usually use 22 - 25 drag for tuna jigging and popping.
    I experimented with 18 lbs drag this year and I found I could land a pretty big size tuna with ease with 18 lbs drag.
    Depening on your skill and strength you can set the drag from 18 lbs to 25 lbs, but I don't recommend more than 25 lbs drag unless you can handle such a high drag setting.

    6. shorten rod length
    I fought bluefin from 8' to 9' rods.
    No matter what rod manufacturers claim, go with shorter rods to fight big tuna in 150 lbs - 200 lbs effectively. 8' rod and 9' rod made a huge difference for me.
    There are times you have to throw small lures far and you need longer rods, but if you can use 3 oz or heavier lures, go with shorter rod like 7'9" - 8'. Even 7'6" is not bad when you don't have to cast too far.

    Some might disagree with me as it is my subjective opinions, but those things listed above worked for me.
     
  2. Fishhead56

    Fishhead56 Senior Member

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    Really good points.

    Would you suggest casting all day or night with small belt and plate and then change to bucket harness if larger fish is hooked or just be prepared and cast with bucket harness? This question is more to GOM party boat casting.
    Not Center console charter casting.


    Thanks
    Kev
     

  3. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    Really good points.

    Would you suggest casting all day or night with small belt and plate and then change to bucket harness if larger fish is hooked or just be prepared and cast with bucket harness? This question is more to GOM party boat casting.
    Not Center console charter casting.


    Thanks
    Kev

    Kevin, who care what kind of belt you use for tuna under 100 lbs. :)
    I even don't use any fighting belt for them. :)

    I found Smitty Spyder harness is simple and light for all day use and there are many choices of fighing plates for it.
     
  4. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    another one is that IMO you need to lean over the rail when the tuna goes vertical, using your body as a rail. that whole squatting thing and high sticking the rod not only puts more pressure on the angler, but can also bust the rod. might make for a flashy photo but isnt a good way to fight a fish.

    nice write up kil :)
     
  5. Albiemanmike

    Albiemanmike Senior Member

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    I have my doubts about the reported 10 min. 200 lb. tuna landings as well Kil. I think that is a bit of exaggeration than anything else. I would sure like to see someone land one of these larger tuna that fast as I could seriously learn something from that. I think 20-30 min. on a fish this size is well within reasonable time frame. I was just reading something on another site where a guy who fishes commercially said fish landed really fast are all burnt up and will fetch very little in the market, as well he said fish that take forever to land tend to be all burnt up and full of lactic acid. He said that when a tuna is fought really hard and fast it doesn't give them the opportunity to keep a lot of oxygen flowing over their gills during the fight and causes them to build too much lactic acid in their muscles which could lead to mortality if released. So he said landing them really fast is doing nobody any good so your advice rings even truer now.
     
  6. Milton

    Milton Senior Member

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    very helpful!
     
  7. Custom Canvas

    Custom Canvas Member

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    Awsome information from one of the best! Thanks for the info Kil

    Why don't you go to panama with us in Jan!

    cc out
     
  8. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    Awsome information from one of the best! Thanks for the info Kil

    Why don't you go to panama with us in Jan!

    cc out
    I am planning to go to GT popping in Jan.
     
  9. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    kil, we have other trips :)
     
  10. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    kil, we have other trips :)
    But I have my own trip. :)
     
  11. masonboro

    masonboro Senior Member

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    Thanks Kil,
    Hopefully will put this info to use in a couple of weeks.
     
  12. gman

    gman Senior Member

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    I have my doubts about the reported 10 min. 200 lb. tuna landings as well Kil.

    did someone actually state that they fought a 200 pound tuna in only 10 minutes? That is just crazy god bless if they can
     
  13. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

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    One big factor to consider is water depth. All the bluefins so far up East have been caught in water around 125'. That's shallow. Easy for the fisherman. Tuna caught in deep water (1000' or more) are harder to fight with long rods. Even a small 75# YF will run down to 350' if you are using 20#s of drag. A triple digit tuna can run down to 600' if you don't apply enough drag pressure on his first run. I like to limit his first run and keep my spool as full as possible.
    I might use 30#'s of drag, but it will save you from cranking a bunch of line with a long rod. If you rod won't handle that much drag, just point the tip towards the fish until his run is over. Then loosen the drag to the rods capabilities and go for it.

    Pumping a fish up from 90 degree angle in deep water is tough for even the experience fisherman. One must also remember that not all tuna fight alike. Fish are like humans. Some are mean, some are pansies.

    Heat is a big factor. Cranking up a tuna in 100 degree heat is a energy drainer. This is where you can separate the men from the boys. If you're not used to the heat and sit in an AC office all day, you will suffer. Standing on your feet all day while working in the heat will be to your advantage. The fish has the advantage when the angler is dripping wet in the hot sun in high heat. He's down there in deep water where it's cool.

    Other than that, I think Kil made some good points. Your body will tell you with time how to fight the fish. We're all different. The more fish you bring to the boat, the more you learn. Self-taught fishing is best.
     
    fathom likes this.