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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,
Brand new to the board, have lurked a for a while trying to learn a bit about tuna fishing. Cut my teeth on Gulf of Mexico yellowfin and blackfin last fall and I don't think one can ever go back to normalcy once that happens.
My short history with yellowfin tuna....I got lucky. Had never been tuna fishing before and did not know what to expect on my first trip last October. I know, now, that I was undergunned fishing a Penn Jigmaster with a Roddy Hunter 7' rod, but I didn't have my own tuna tackle aboard and it was the only boat rig I could find that I thought would cast. I managed to land three yellowfins from 62 to 65 pounds each in a row after first losing quite a few by trying to muscle the fish once they were in sight under the boat. I like the quote I saw here about a tuna fight being a marathon, not a sprint. All the muscle approach got me was a tired back and a blistered thumb from trying to add drag pressure....that and a bunch of break-offs.
Going again this fall and am putting together some tackle of my own to bring along. I have purchased a Penn Torque 200 and am planning on spooling it with 50-60 pound braid with a topshot of 40 or 50 pound mono. Looking for a good rod match for the reel. Can't drop $200 for a rod, so I'm looking for an inexpensive match for jigging/casting. I'm new to this, so please correct me if my reasoning is fouled up.
If I'll be fishing a 40 pound mono topshot, then a reasonable drag setting will be 12 or 13 pounds. Will this be sufficient for yellowfins of average size in the Gulf? Would a 100 pound fish be uncontrollable with this combination? And last, the rod. I'm guessing that a 5'6" to 6' rod with a fast tip, plenty of backbone, and a gimbal butt is the way to go. Your combined wisdom would be much appreciated here...
I saw that Cabelas has their Salt Striker jigging/casting rods on sale for $60....does anyone have any experience with the heavy or x-heavy versions of these with a drag setting of 12 or 13 pounds? I'm more interested in a casting combo with the Torque 200....pitching a bait out in front of the fleeing flying fish was a blast last fall. Of course, if the yellows aren't chasing, I'll be jigging with this rig or chunking with one of the boat's rods. Saw the references here to the Daiwa Saltigas and am considering that one, too. Guess I need to buy a few and see how they stack up under a 12 pound load....can you guys give me a few rod suggestions to start my search?

Thanks to all of you who have posted....a tremendous amount of valuable information is contained here.


FM
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow, thanks for the link A.W.
Are most of the rods you've tested available in conventional versions, too? I just purchased a Penn Torque 200. I found a Trevala 6'6" medium action used for a reasonable price, but when I put the reel on it and a scale, the rod seems maxed out at around 7 pounds of weight/drag force. That's quite a bit less than I was expecting from the Shimano specs....oh, well. The reel foot doesn't seem to go very far into the rod seat, either.

FM
 

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for under 200 i would look in the classifieds and get a good used rod. but if a hurry any conventional rod 30-50lb rod will work. bass pro, cabelas brands, star rods, shimano tallus etc. many available for less than 200.
as for jigging rods: lamiglas tropic pro, sea magic drangonfly, f series trevalla xxh
i would save up a bit and get an oti or similar rod. buy once.

i would also use at least 60lb topshots.
 
G

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with that reel id use 60lb braid and 60 topshot like brian mentioned.

honestly there are/were some awesome deals on OTI rods lurking around. Under $200 for an almost brand new rod. Unless you need a rod within a couple weeks I'd hang tight and check the forum to see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your thoughts, Kid and Bret. I'd happily bump the line and topshots to 60 lb....that'll allow me to start with a drag set of 18 pounds, right? That seems like a more appropriate drag setting for yellowfin than the 8 or 10lbs.(guessing here) that I probably had on the Jigmaster last time out. I would like to "buy once", as kidflex mentioned, but I need to buy first a mortgage payment and food/clothes for a houseful of kids. Maybe I need to dust off and sell a motorbike or two...
Do you guys have any idea why rods are not marketed with approximate drag settings? For offshore stuff, that seems like the most relevant number. The Shimano rod I mentioned is rated for 30-80 pound braid, but my scale test had it bent as far as I was comfortable at 7 to 8 pounds. Not close to even the lower end of manufacturer's rating. Is this typical across the board?
I'll poke about and try to locate a quality used rod. Thanks again.

FM
 

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I fish with Ugly Stik rods. If you get them on sale, as low as $50. I use 30-50# rod for 40# line, and the 40-80# for 60#. I like a longer rod (6.5') on the partyboats, as it lets me get my line a little further away from the hull when the tuna circles under the boat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks, Jig. I've read some of your earlier posts on the subject and they have been very helpful. Went out a couple of days ago and bought 8 different rods to try out this week. I'll return all of them but the one I'll take to the deep blue. I have a 6 and a 6'6" Ugly Stik 1140 boat rods in the group....the store I went to did not have a single 1160 in stock. Picked up a Trevala XXH, too. Both of the U-Stick 1140s held up pretty well with 15 pounds of scale pull on them last night, as did the Trevala. Ordered the two heaviest Cabela's Salt Striker brand jigging rods last night, too. They are on sale for 60 bucks each.
I think I'd like about 18-20 pounds of drag force on my new Torque 200 if I spool up with 60 pound braid and 60 topshot. Does that sound about right to you for an all-round jigging/casting rig for yellowfins? I can only justify purchasing one rig this year, so this one has to do double duty for casting topwaters or subsurface baits and jigging(if I do jig at all). If we wind up chunking, I'll use one of the 6/0 rigs on the solid glass rods that the trip operator provides.
Now I just need to choose the right rod from the handful I've purchased. Will probably pull on all of them with my scale to see if they'll handle 18 pounds or so and then take them to the local pond to see how they cast. I'll post up what I find...might help another rookie.

Dandy AJ in your avatar!

FM
 

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I don't use mine to throw topwaters, but I do use it to throw bucktails around rig legs. It casts okay, but thats with a Avet LX (on a 6.5' 1140) or an Accurate 665w (on the 6.5' 1160). I like the 1140 for 40# line, but the 1160 for 60# line. The 1160 has plenty of backbone; I've caught YFT up to 90ish pounds and AJ to maybe 65#. I use it for jigging, chunking and bottom fishing (but for deep drops and targeting grouper).

Never fished a Penn Torque, but sounds like a decent match for the 1140 or 1160.

You are doing the right thing. Regardless of recommendations and line class ratings on the rods, there is no substitute for putting the desired drag on there and seriously yanking on it. It either feels good or it doesn't.
 
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