Max drag for 100 plus lbs tuna

Discussion in 'Jigging and Popping' started by ksong, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    I observed many local tuna fishermen in Cape Cod use light line (50 lbs) and light drag (14-15 lbs) for them though majority of bft this year is around 100 lbs or bigger. I suggested on the other site that heavier lines and more drag are desirable to catch a tuna over 100 lbs. They think it is norm to catch a 100 lbs tuna taking over 40 - 60 minutes. I like to use light stuffs for tuna jigging. I was criticized to use 3/0 size reel with long rod for big tuna jigging in the past, but I always used 80 lbs with 22- 25 lbs drag for them.
    When school blufin showed up in Cape Cod a few years ago, charter boats enjoyed to catch them with light spinning tackles or fly rods as they are about in 30 - 50 lbs range, which influenced many fishermen who started to catch school bluefin there. However they got bigger each year and we saw 100 plus lbs bft this year, but many guys don't change their gears for them.

    When popping, they tend to use light line to increase casting distance. You lose a little casting distance with 80 lbs braided line instead of 50 - 65 lbs braided line, but you still can cast 60 - 80 yards with 80 lbs which is good enough mostly.

    I can land a 100 lbs bft with 80 lbs braided line and 25 drag in 15 minutes. 15-20 minutes is enough time you enjoy fighting. Besides, tuna quality decreases if you fight 40 - 60 minutes for 100 lbs tuna. When you cut tuna, you'll notice meat get mushy when you fight long.
    As the regulation of bft is only one between 47 inch and 73 inch, you have to release all bft once you landed one. There is no reason to fight long with light drag which could kill tuna even though you release them.
    They are talking about no damage of gear or knot they use even fighing a 100 lbs tuna. With 14 - 15 lbs drag, you don't see much problem no matter what gears you use or what knots you use.

    This post is not intended to offend anyone who enjoys light tackles, but I just want to express my personal opinion as I believe right tackles are needed to land a 100 plus tuna within reasonable time.

    I'll be a speaker of jigging sessions at Canyon Runner's fishing seminar at three different locations on the East Coast next winter and I plan to talk about this issue at the seminars.
     
  2. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

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    Is the rule of just one bft between 47" and 73" just for private boats?

    I won't fish with people that use light drags when targeting large fish. It's not right to spend forever on a fish that causes the boat to drift off the main bite. Some people are set in their ways. The west coast guys are all hung up on this (30#, 40#,50#,etc outfits). One quality popping rod with a nice spinning reel loaded with braid would take care of most West Coast fishing except big cows.
     

  3. Sportfisherman

    Sportfisherman Senior Member

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    Hi Kil ,



    We don't have BFT in my area but we have YFT in good size above 100 lbs. , most of us use PE 4~6 rated rod , my own outfit is a Carpenter TN87 + Stella 8000HG filled with PE4~5 line with initial drag set at 6 kg , big YFT around 150 lbs. may take 200m on the initial run but the fight will begin doggedly at 50m straight under the hull of the boat .

    Too high an initial drag set will tear the mouth of the fish upon a strike but once lodged , higher drag can be tolerated . Clear water tend to produce more fight in the YFT than murky water or so it seems and not one YFT behave the same , I have boated a 67 kg YFT in just a 5 odd minutes but have been stretch by 40+ kg YFT to exhaustion . Upon multiple strike , the angler with higher breaking strain line must try to boat the fish in as short a time as possible lest tangles will occur which results in broken line .

    Casting distance is paramount in order to reach the school on the surface using 40 ~ 80 gr. lures such as Tuna 80 n Skipjack 60 as well as stickbait such as Waho 60~80 and Ulua 60 . The need to jerk the rod repeatedly upon a strike to drive the barb of the hooks into the fish mouth is important .

    Last but not least , we use PE/Braided line exclusively + mono leader .

    Good luck in the seminar .

    Jon .
     
  4. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

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    I observed many local tuna fishermen in Cape Cod use light line (50 lbs) and light drag (14-15 lbs) for them though majority of bft this year is around 100 lbs or bigger. I suggested on the other site that heavier lines and more drag are desirable to catch a tuna over 100 lbs.

    ...

    I'll be a speaker of jigging sessions at Canyon Runner's fishing seminar at three different locations on the East Coast next winter and I plan to talk about this issue at the seminars.

    I think you have made some good points, no offense taken here. Some people are thinking that next year, there will be SBFTs between 150 and 200 pounds in Cape Cod Bay. Assuming for a minute that happens, what drag settings would you suggest and which are the best spinning reels for that level of sustained drag?

    Where will the seminars be held?
     
  5. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    Is the rule of just one bft between 47" and 73" just for private boats?

    I won't fish with people that use light drags when targeting large fish. It's not right to spend forever on a fish that causes the boat to drift off the main bite. Some people are set in their ways. The west coast guys are all hung up on this (30#, 40#,50#,etc outfits). One quality popping rod with a nice spinning reel loaded with braid would take care of most West Coast fishing except big cows.
    You can keep one bft between 27" and 47" and one bft between 47" and 73". In addition to it, you are allowed to keep one bft over 73" for a whole year.
    The regulations apply to recreational fishing boats including charter boats and party boats.
     
  6. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    Hi Kil ,



    We don't have BFT in my area but we have YFT in good size above 100 lbs. , most of us use PE 4~6 rated rod , my own outfit is a Carpenter TN87 + Stella 8000HG filled with PE4~5 line with initial drag set at 6 kg , big YFT around 150 lbs. may take 200m on the initial run but the fight will begin doggedly at 50m straight under the hull of the boat .

    Too high an initial drag set will tear the mouth of the fish upon a strike but once lodged , higher drag can be tolerated . Clear water tend to produce more fight in the YFT than murky water or so it seems and not one YFT behave the same , I have boated a 67 kg YFT in just a 5 odd minutes but have been stretch by 40+ kg YFT to exhaustion . Upon multiple strike , the angler with higher breaking strain line must try to boat the fish in as short a time as possible lest tangles will occur which results in broken line .

    Casting distance is paramount in order to reach the school on the surface using 40 ~ 80 gr. lures such as Tuna 80 n Skipjack 60 as well as stickbait such as Waho 60~80 and Ulua 60 . The need to jerk the rod repeatedly upon a strike to drive the barb of the hooks into the fish mouth is important .

    Last but not least , we use PE/Braided line exclusively + mono leader .

    Good luck in the seminar .

    Jon .

    Hi Jon,
    Yes, depending on where you fish or what sizes of tuna you target setups should be different. When I fish around floaters in Gulf of Mexico, I use 65 lbs braided line with Stella 8000 as majority yft there is rarely over 120 lbs and I feel I need to cast farther. Besides it is fun to use lighter 8000 instead of Stella 10000 or 20000. I found I get many wind knot using heavy lines on a light spinning reel.
    Cape Cod area is different. There are many fish over 200 lbs. Though one boat landed a 200 plus lbs tuna on a popper, several tuna over 200 lbs were lost this year. Two nice bft estimated over 200 lbs caught on jigs were lost on the other boat last Sunday as line got broken though they used 80 lbs braided line
     
  7. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    I think you have made some good points, no offense taken here. Some people are thinking that next year, there will be SBFTs between 150 and 200 pounds in Cape Cod Bay. Assuming for a minute that happens, what drag settings would you suggest and which are the best spinning reels for that level of sustained drag?

    Where will the seminars be held?
    When they started to catch school bluefin on poppers in Cape Cod several years ago, I tried to get info as much as possible as I always believe local knowledge is very important. without exception, they use light popping rods like St. Croix rated to 30 - 40 lbs with 40 -50 lbs line as they believe tuna feed on small bait and they have to use very small lures to get them bite.

    When I introduced the bluefin fishery in Cape Cod to Randy of the Anglers Proshop last year, I suggested to use very small lures. But fortunately he disrepard my recommendation and used normal big poppers/stickbait with great success. :) It made an enormous impact on the tuna popping in Cape Cod as the use of heavy/big poppers/stickbait enabled to use heavy setups and heavy lines/heavy drag. We got to give credit to Randy for the new discovery. :)

    Tuna caught this year will be back next year with gaining more weight and I expect the average tuna will be around 150 lbs range.
    I use around 25 lbs drag for them when they make run and step up to 30 lbs drag when they make death circle under the boat. I caught several tuna over 200 lbs on jigs with 25 lbs drag.

    In my opinion, the minimum standard of spinning reels for them is Shimano Saragosa. I lost drag of my Stella 20000 when I fished Cape Cod last Sunday and I have to send the reel to Shimano for repair. When the quality reel like Stella has such a problem sometimes, I don't want to use any reels cheaper than Saragosa for big tuna.

    We had a senimar in Newport, RI last year, but they changed the location to Mohigan Sun in Ct.
     
  8. Sportfisherman

    Sportfisherman Senior Member

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    I found I get many wind knot using heavy lines on a light spinning reel.


    Hi Kil ,

    Have you tried PE line sprayer ? I find this spray to reduce wind knot considerably , the liquid from the sprayer once dried will coat the PE line and make it smoother . You only need to spray the top layers of the line in the spool where the it matters while casting to avoid this " wind knot " or " guide wrap " .

    Jon .
     
  9. rtran

    rtran Senior Member

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    I've been brought into this fishing world reading about boating fish in timely manner and I'm with Kil. Optimum drag for big tuna should start at 22-25lb and increase if possible when tuna does death circles. If it's a big tuna and you are not on small boat that can manuever you'll stalemate with the tuna with low drag.
     
  10. Eastern Tackle

    Eastern Tackle Senior Member

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    Hi Kil ,

    Have you tried PE line sprayer ? I find this spray to reduce wind knot considerably , the liquid from the sprayer once dried will coat the PE line and make it smoother . You only need to spray the top layers of the line in the spool where the it matters while casting to avoid this " wind knot " or " guide wrap " .

    Jon .

    Do you have a web link?



    Kil, I have many opinions from my experiences fighting very big tuna about fight time/meat quality and drag pressure. If you want to contact me you are welcome to.
     
  11. Sportfisherman

    Sportfisherman Senior Member

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    Do you have a web link?



    PLAT

    Jon .
     
  12. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    Hi Kil ,

    Have you tried PE line sprayer ? I find this spray to reduce wind knot considerably , the liquid from the sprayer once dried will coat the PE line and make it smoother . You only need to spray the top layers of the line in the spool where the it matters while casting to avoid this " wind knot " or " guide wrap " .

    Jon .
    When I have 80 lbs braided line on 10000 or 20000, there are few wind knots, but I got too many wind knots when I used 80 lbs braided line on 8000. I'll try PE line sprayer. Anyway, I was thinking to carry PE line sprayer for my shop. :) Thanks.
     
  13. Sea Crappie

    Sea Crappie Senior Member

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    Water depth and boat type are very important variables to consider. Popping for large tuna on a private boat in relatively shallow water requires much less drag than from a dead drifting party boat in 4000 ft. of water.

    It's not the long runs you need heavy drag for, it's to cut off the circles and pull the fish up once you have him under the boat. I am with Kil on this one, 20+ lbs to start, and for fish in the 175lb class and higher, you better be able to put 30 lbs on them.
     
  14. miles

    miles Senior Member

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    Hiya

    I fish primarily with 20-25lb's of drag, for tuna from 100-220lb's. I've found that using higher drag settings, like 30lb's+ results in alot more hook-pulls as well as being dangerous for an angler who is strapped into a harness.

    The softer drag settings has allowed me to land numerous tuna that were poorly hooked, where heavier drag settings would surely have meant a lost fish.

    If you really want amusement, you need to come watch our off-shore league anglers. They fish for YF in the 100-220lb class, with 10kg IGFA rated line (yes, 20lb mono!!), with 7lb's of drag!! 6 hours fights on 200lb YF is common!!:eek: :eek: :eek:
     
  15. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    haha no thanks for 6 hours. i like under 10 minute fights, then flopping the fish on the deck nice and green :D

    miles....what is your peak season? how much would 3 days of fishing cost? your yellowfin fishery seems awesome. airline tickets are what is most prohibitive.
     
  16. miles

    miles Senior Member

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    October to December is the best for larger YF. They average 120-130lb's with PLENTY of 180-200lb'ers. They weather how-ever is very unpredictable during that period.

    March to June/July offers better weather, but the average size tuna is smaller, with 100-110lb size fish being the average. There are still numerous 180-200lb'ers around, but ALOT more 100-120lb'ers.

    During BOTH seasons, a fairly good day would be 15-20YF on my boat, with a exellent day being 20-30 YF, with a GREAT day being 35-50 YF, all in the 90-200lb class.

    Albacore offers PHENOMINAL fishing if the YF aren't around. Taking 80-100 Albies on poles, in the 30-70lb class in 40minutes is quite normal. When they really turn on, you can pretty much fill the boat in less than 2hours. Just depends on how big your boat is!!

    Costs. Your ticket is the most expensive part. Everything in SA is VERY, VERY cheap!!

    Charter boats normally charge about US$1000 per day for 4 anglers. So, it works out to about $250.00 per angler per day.

    How-ever, if you're coming down to SA, you're most welcome to come fish with me. I normally fish only 3-5 crew, of which only 2 or 3 are anglers, so theres ALWAYS space for another 5 anglers. My boats registered to carry 10 people.
     
  17. rtran

    rtran Senior Member

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    October to December is the best for larger YF. They average 120-130lb's with PLENTY of 180-200lb'ers. They weather how-ever is very unpredictable during that period.

    March to June/July offers better weather, but the average size tuna is smaller, with 100-110lb size fish being the average. There are still numerous 180-200lb'ers around, but ALOT more 100-120lb'ers.

    During BOTH seasons, a fairly good day would be 15-20YF on my boat, with a exellent day being 20-30 YF, with a GREAT day being 35-50 YF, all in the 90-200lb class.

    Albacore offers PHENOMINAL fishing if the YF aren't around. Taking 80-100 Albies on poles, in the 30-70lb class in 40minutes is quite normal. When they really turn on, you can pretty much fill the boat in less than 2hours. Just depends on how big your boat is!!

    Costs. Your ticket is the most expensive part. Everything in SA is VERY, VERY cheap!!

    Charter boats normally charge about US$1000 per day for 4 anglers. So, it works out to about $250.00 per angler per day.

    How-ever, if you're coming down to SA, you're most welcome to come fish with me. I normally fish only 3-5 crew, of which only 2 or 3 are anglers, so theres ALWAYS space for another 5 anglers. My boats registered to carry 10 people.

    Your reports have been amazing. SA would be a great place to try big tuna on jig. How far do you have to go out?
     
  18. miles

    miles Senior Member

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    Hiya

    Its a 10nm trip to Cape Point, which is a very sheltered run, from the marina. Then its usually 10-30nm off-shore. Generally, 20-25nm from shore is where i work.

    Charter boats normally charge about US$1000 per day for 4 anglers. So, it works out to about $250.00 per angler per day.

    Sorry for the confusion, the above-mentioned is the rates which normal charter guys charge. Just to give everyone and idea of what the going rates are.

    I'm fully commercial and DO NOT do charters. If you come fish with me, just chip in for the fuel and i'm happy!!:D :D
     
  19. rtran

    rtran Senior Member

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    Hiya

    Its a 10nm trip to Cape Point, which is a very sheltered run, from the marina. Then its usually 10-30nm off-shore. Generally, 20-25nm from shore is where i work.



    Sorry for the confusion, the above-mentioned is the rates which normal charter guys charge. Just to give everyone and idea of what the going rates are.

    I'm fully commercial and DO NOT do charters. If you come fish with me, just chip in for the fuel and i'm happy!!:D :D

    Miles we may have to do this soon!

    Rich
     
  20. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

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    When they started to catch school bluefin on poppers in Cape Cod several years ago.

    ...

    I don't want to use any reels cheaper than Saragosa for big tuna.


    Thank you for such specific helpful info. If Saragosa is the minimum what would you say would be the top reels? I'm thinking of the Stella SW 20K but would appreciate alternatives.