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I got my first 80 lbs bluefin on a popper out of Cape Cod yesterday.
Fighting a decent size bluefin with a spinning reel and 9' surf rod without a fighting belt is not a joke.
I've fished 30 years in the US and I didn't catch any tuna on poppers until this year. It is unreal to catch yft on a popper out of LA last month and one bluefin on a popper out of Cape Cod, MA yesterday. :)
Longfin on a popper next month ? :)

When Capt Dom launched his boat at Sandwich town ramp, I was surprised to see some private boats were equipped with spinning gears and small poppers for tuna. I know they catch bluefin on poppers or small jigs for years up there, I didn't know they have been enjoying extensively for years.

I'd like go back for popping tuna again, but it becomes tough decision as tuna jigging is so hot out of Cape May yesterday.

-rod: Shimano 9' Tiralejo spinning rod (TRS-90MH2)
-reel: Stella 16000F
-line: Tuff braided line and 12' 60 lbs Seaguar fluoro carbon leader
connected by Mid Knot
-lure: Yozuri Hydro Tiger (F) with replaced Owner Split ring(#8 ) and Treble hooks (3/0 and 4/0)



 

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Nice Job!!! Well, I have found I like to jig awhile- then when it gets boring, I throw the popper until it gets boring.... keeps me awake when the fish arent coperating.
 

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Ksong, nice fish on popper too!! Good workout on the 9 footer? Can you tell any taste difference from the flesh of the Bluefin and Yellowfin? Which you prefer?
 

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Looks like the boat you were on had triple 225's. What kind of boat?

It's funny how sometimes the tuna love those little chrome poppers. That must have been tough bringing in that tuna with that 9' rod. How much drag can that rod handle? Without it, you probably couldn't have cast that little light weight popper the proper distance in the first place.

We might have to call you "King Popper" instead of "King Jigger" if you keep catching tuna on poppers.:D
 

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Ksong, nice fish on popper too!! Good workout on the 9 footer? Can you tell any taste difference from the flesh of the Bluefin and Yellowfin? Which you prefer?
I seldom eat cooked tuna and I don't eat yellowfin for raw sashimi regularly. :)
For sashimi, bluefin and bigeye.
 

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Looks like the boat you were on had triple 225's. What kind of boat?

It's funny how sometimes the tuna love those little chrome poppers. That must have been tough bringing in that tuna with that 9' rod. How much drag can that rod handle? Without it, you probably couldn't have cast that little light weight popper the proper distance in the first place.

We might have to call you "King Popper" instead of "King Jigger" if you keep catching tuna on poppers.:D
The boat is 31 ft Contender with twin engines. I decided to go with the Capt. though he had to trail his boat from RI because he loves fishing as much as I do and has absolutely no attitude problem. :) We left dock in Cape Cod around 6:00 Am and came back to the dock by 7:30 PM only because I begged him to go home. :)

Even with 9' rod and without a fighting belt, I didn't have much problem.
As I used 60 lbs leader line, I set the drag lightly (15-17 lbs).
The fish took at least 150 yard at the initial run and I knew immediately it was a decent fish. I got to admire guys who use spinning reels for big fish.
The spinning reel doesn't have cranking power as conventional reels and I had to pump to gain lines . I pumped while putting the rod butt between my legs as I didn't use a fighting belt. :) When the fish started death circle under the boat, I thought the real figiht would start. But surprisingly the fish came up easily even I used 9' rod and it saved lots of time. Capt. told me it took around 20 minutes to get the fish to the gaff.
 

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Way to go ksong!! I had a first on our trip to Venice last week....I caught a couple of blackfin on topwater poppers...<grin>. I enjoy catching yellowfin on topwaters more than any other method....it's a blast!
 

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Hi Kil ,

Congratulation with your first Bluefin Tuna with popper , you won't troll for them anymore from now on and most likely will target the really big one with stronger more powerfull rod + higher capacity reel .

I prefer " pencil popper " than surface chugger because when we have to move fast to chase the " boil " , with pencil popper I just lift the rod tip high and retrieve the lure , by this time the captain wud be gunning the engine to position the boat upwind from " boil " so distance casting can be achieved without spooking the school , at least that how we do it in my area with YFTs .

Jon .
 

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very nice catch Kil.

how far out did you catch was the bluefin?

It is only a few miles off the beach. We fished 130 - 150 ft water.
 

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Hi Kil ,

Congratulation with your first Bluefin Tuna with popper , you won't troll for them anymore from now on and most likely will target the really big one with stronger more powerfull rod + higher capacity reel .

I prefer " pencil popper " than surface chugger because when we have to move fast to chase the " boil " , with pencil popper I just lift the rod tip high and retrieve the lure , by this time the captain wud be gunning the engine to position the boat upwind from " boil " so distance casting can be achieved without spooking the school , at least that how we do it in my area with YFTs .

Jon .
Hi Jon, I need trolling to rest and sleep. :)

We did what you described. We went the other direction, turned off engine and waited until the school came within casting range. As there were only a few boats scattered, we didn't have any fishing pressure.

Experienced guys use small pencil popper called 'Salty Needle'. I had them on the boat, but I didn't try them as the Hydro popper worked so well.
The most popular technique for Salty Needle here is 'twitch, pause, pause'.

I choose the light rod as I had to cast one or two oz poppers. It is a dilemma that I have to use very small and light poppers and otherwise they wouldn't touch it though there are some monsters. We saw 200 + lbs bluefin cruising under our boat.

As jigging bluefin tuna is hot and furious out of Southern NJ, It is tough decision whether I go up to Cape Cod, MA for popping tuna and go down to Southern NJ for jigging tuna. :)
 

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Hi Jon, I need trolling to rest and sleep. :)

We did what you described. We went the other direction, turned off engine and waited until the school came within casting range. As there were only a few boats scattered, we didn't have any fishing pressure.

Experienced guys use small pencil popper called 'Salty Needle'. I had them on the boat, but I didn't try them as the Hydro popper worked so well.
The most popular technique for Salty Needle here is 'twitch, pause, pause'.

I choose the light rod as I had to cast one or two oz poppers. It is a dilemma that I have to use very small and light poppers and otherwise they wouldn't touch it though there are some monsters. We saw 200 + lbs bluefin cruising under our boat.

As jigging bluefin tuna is hot and furious out of Southern NJ, It is tough decision whether I go up to Cape Cod, MA for popping tuna and go down to Southern NJ for jigging tuna. :)

Hi Kil ,

I think popping is more exciting than jigging , for tuna especially because you can see the strikes and the rest is pretty much the same during " circle of death " bout , however jigging rods should be always available should the big ones cruise under the boat , as you described .

It's good to hear that smaller lures score better than bigger lures for tuna , on another forum somebody told differently but then the guy is a complete beginner in this fishing technique but just like to argue so can sell his GT lures , he will change his tunes soon .

Good luck with whatever decision you eventually will make as for to jig or to cast for those tunas , myself I am getting ready to go into the jungle of Borneo for freshwater fishing expedition , we will sleep in a tent without electricity for 4 days !

Jon .
 

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Hi Kil
A few familiar names popping up here.
Congrats on the tuna don't suppose I'll get to try it soon over here in the UK.

Hi Jon
Are you the Jon I know from 'Caranx'?
If so 'Jungle Fishing' what you after - peacocks or one of there family like the ferocious 'Nguini Black Bass' - I don't know much about Borneo fishing ?

regards to you both
Jeremy
 

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Hi Kil
A few familiar names popping up here.
Congrats on the tuna don't suppose I'll get to try it soon over here in the UK.

Hi Jon
Are you the Jon I know from 'Caranx'?
If so 'Jungle Fishing' what you after - peacocks or one of there family like the ferocious 'Nguini Black Bass' - I don't know much about Borneo fishing ?

regards to you both
Jeremy

Hi Jeremy ,

We meet again ! The species I am after is Hampala ( latin name ) , they grow to 5+ kg in the rivers of Borneo and we may take a side trip to catch a few Giant Snakeheads and Arowanas . Hope we catch fish there !

There is no peacock bass there , it's a South American species and Nuigini Black Bass occurs in a diffierent island altogether .

Jon .
 

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Hey Jon!

Glad to see you sharing your experience here!

TJ and I were discussing the Arowanas this past week at ICAST!

Freshwater used to be my passion, but might still be if we had Hampala, Giant snakeheads, and Nuigini here in our lakes and rivers! :eek:

Good luck and post a report here when you return!
 

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Hi Jon
That is one ugly mother of a fish - I love it!!!!:p
Did a 'google' on the name and it apparently a member of the carp family and related to those pretty barbs that are sold by aquarists.
I wish you luck old friend - I hope the fight and attitude matches there 'good' looks. :eek: It looks like a real bruiser.
Are the other 'carpy' type fish a sub sp. of masheer, the scaling, mouth shape and sleek overall shape make it look so ?
I'm well jealous about the 'toman' too.
regards
Jeremy
 
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