Strike Pro Tuna Hunter Poppers for Giant and not so Giant Tuna

Discussion in 'Jigging and Popping' started by fishordie, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. fishordie

    fishordie Senior Member

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    G'day all,

    I have been using the Tuna Hunter poppers rigged in various manners for the last several years on big Yellowfin tuna. Though No cows yet some big fish have been hooked and landed with a great hookup to land ratio. On my last trip I got some Tuna Hunters with the newly rigged VMC forged trebles which I believe come standard now and seem even more suited for big tuna than the previous non forged hooks. Some fishermen have looked at these hooks and decided to stay with the Owner Stingers but I feel these new VMC's will hold up. More time on more big fish will tell.

    These are by far and away my favorite big fish poppers due to both the internal harness between the eyelet and both hook connectors being more than substantial enough for cow size tuna as well as the
    combination of large mouth and weighting of the popper leaving a great pattern and splash in the water. The best I have seen or used.

    I even left one or two on the Excel, a couple of trips ago, as Justin... or was it Jason... loved these things and they are both great popper fishermen. I have caught fish in the cow zone on each of my last several trips. Some were bigger and some were smaller but never did the jig break or hooks bend out even though some of the fish were foul hooked (One of the great advantages of trebles on poppers is even if the fish crashes on the popper and the hooks miss the mouth they can still hook up on other parts of the body and do damage). Additionally no other poppers I have used have seen the bodies and associated finishes hold up so well regardless of how many times they have been bit.

    In the past I put on Owner Stinger hooks or Mustad J hooks but now I believe these VMC forged trebles may be up to the task.

    As a note, in every case, the popper hooked fish seem to come in faster and easier than bait hooked fish and of course the visual of a big tuna crashing on a popper does not compare to anything else in fishing and better yet the visual is shared by others who are watching. Who says fishing is not a team sport??

    I am using mine now on my full 10'Super Seeker Ulua matched with an Accurate B2-665 wide reel. I can cast the things a ton and have a reel that is up to the task of bringing them in. I must admit, I would love for Accurate to come out with an Extreme version of this reel but so far the reel has held up beautifully and of course the rod is a beast and can man handle the tuna especially when placed on the rail.
    Talk about a great time.

    Jamie
     
  2. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    how big of yellowfin are we talking that you're getting? you mentioned that they were not cows, right?
     

  3. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

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    Have they started making the Tuna Hunters out of wood? The injection mould or "Tech-wood" ones weren't worth but one fish until they broke. I quit buying them a couple years ago because they didn't hold up. They were effective for one fish.
     

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  4. fishordie

    fishordie Senior Member

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    Hi Bret,

    So far YFT up to around 175 pounds but most in the 30 to 120 price range.

    I am not sure what the base material is on these things as I have not opened one up in several years. However I have poppers with dozens of decent size tuna caught on them and for me are still in fantastic shape. For this fisherman definately not one hit wonders.

    This last trip was a real pick bite and I was happy getting one on the popper for the short amount of time I fished it and though the fish was by no means a giant, the popper, even after the fish flopped it around on deck, came back almost unscathed.

    For me, it is the first popper I pull out when in the cow zones. Since I fish Jigs and bait alot poppers are not the first thing I go to in order to get fish on the boat but they are by far and away the most fun and I always spend some time using them. Sometimes the bite is much more wide open and then they are just a blast.

    Jamie
     
  5. kidflex

    kidflex Senior Member

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    this is what happened to my tuna hunter. the vmc hooks are not up to task.
    Here is a pic ot the tuna hunter popper. it had the stock vmc treble hooks. the fish damn near pulled the whole assembly out of the wood. i was using 18-20 lbs of drag on 65lb. izor braid
    [​IMG]
     
  6. fishordie

    fishordie Senior Member

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    Hi Kid and Bill,

    I am a bit surprised a forged hook can bend like that and it does look like the sides are flat so I can assume it was a forged hook. I will start doing my own testing on these hooks to see if the heat treating is up to snuff. I happen to own a Aerospace manufacturing firm so I have plenty of good stuff to test them with. I am also curious about the eye pulling so far out of the popper. I will have to ask the folks at Strike Pro.

    The fish on the last trip was a two gaff model on a long range boat. I use 100# Hollow Jerry Brown Spectra and my strike is set around 26#'s on that Accurate B-2 665 Wide. No Problems at all and the fish was in very, very quickly. I wish I could say the same about the cow I got on bait. That sucker was just plain mean and worked me good.

    Bill, what the heck bit that chunk out of the jig like that. Tuna do not have a tooth pattern that small. Also curious, the one you show that busted in half, did that have a wiring harness running through it and if so how heavy a gauge did it appear to be??? Thank you for the info

    Jamie
     
  7. fathom

    fathom Lifetime Supporting Members

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    For the same price as strike pro you can get O.T.I. Komodo
    popper. hardwood body, 300lb. swivels, owner #10 split rings and owner st-66 4x hooks. Fare superior to strike pro hooks. Komodo popper is aprox. 3/8 shorter but has bigger cup size for more pop. and who doesn't like bigger cup size?
     
  8. kidflex

    kidflex Senior Member

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    i have a couple tuna hunters left. i replaced the hooks with owners. the 6x vmc hooks that i took off can bend with pliers pretty easy. i do like the shape and action of the TH. but wish they put more weight in the rear of the lure. the lure rotates a good bit on cast.
     
  9. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    Hi Bret,

    So far YFT up to around 175 pounds but most in the 30 to 120 price range.


    Jamie
    175lb tuna on a popper is a great catch :)
     
  10. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

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    Bill, what the heck bit that chunk out of the jig like that. Tuna do not have a tooth pattern that small. Also curious, the one you show that busted in half, did that have a wiring harness running through it and if so how heavy a gauge did it appear to be??? Thank you for the info

    Jamie

    Tuna attack caused the marks. Injection foam isn't real tough. Both the Tuna Hunter and the OTI Komodo are proven tuna killers. They are both great lures. There is a difference on how they are made and the size of them is also a little different. They are also priced about the same. Just look at the pictures below.

    You have built up my curiosity. I just went though a couple hundred poppers to find the old and new Tuna Hunters. Since the Tuna Hunter and the OTI Komodo have been discussed so far, I took some pictures for you to compare. I have both the older and newer Tuna Hunters.

    If someone dares me, I will bust them up in the morning and take pictures of the results. We'll find out if the new Tuna Hunter is made of wood. I will run over them in a diesel truck, hit them with a 36 ounce framing hammer, then if any thing is left of them, I will burn them to expose the through wiring.:D
     

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  11. fathom

    fathom Lifetime Supporting Members

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    Exellent photos Mr. Bill. the difference in size of the thru wire and weight @ the dead end of the lure along with 300lb. swivel on belly hook is superior design. and did I mention cup size?
     
  12. SkeeterRonnie

    SkeeterRonnie Senior Member

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    Mr Bill... I DARE YA!!! ;)
     
  13. kidflex

    kidflex Senior Member

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    the one i have is made of wood, and is through wired.
     
  14. fishordie

    fishordie Senior Member

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    Hi Bill,

    I love the way you think but a Mac truck might be just a smidge over the top... But only a smidge. LOL. It looks like the OTI Komodo is a two piece unit. Is it injection molded or ??? Do you know what gauge the internal wiring harness is on the OTI??? Always looking for new poppers but the reason I like the weighting of the Tuna Hunter is you can get a great path underwater with light bubbles but a very nice phosphorescent (Maybe not the right word) trail as well as a great splash depending on the technique used. The popper underwater also seems to have a lot of crazy movement I really like when used in combination with the top water splash.
    I have not found that combination in other jigs however I have never used or seen the OTI and based on the pics they look very similar so the only question will be on the weighting and how it travels under water as I am sure the top water action will be great. Thanks for the Pics.

    I am also hearing more about the VMC forged hooks bending so I will do a
    hardness test on them to see why they are bending instead of busting under a heavy or light load.

    Jamie
     
  15. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

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    I have no connection with either Strike Pro or OTI, so I will take the dare and do some demolition tomorrow and post results. I believe the OTI is made of a hardwood. Probably Basswood. Basswood is light not real hard and easy to machine. Cypress is another favorite among lure makers. It's also light but requires more sanding do to its fuzzy nature. It is not as stable as basswood. Old growth cypress (red tide) is the best, but those trees were all cut down about a hundred years ago. You need to find a old building being torn down to get it. It's five times as expensive as the new growth cypress. The new Tuna Hunter might be made of wood also. I'll do a water floating test before I destroy them.

    Bubble trails are very interesting. A small lure (6") trolled correctly will make the appearance of a 8 pound bonito. On casting poppers, it all depends on your retrieve. Learning to work a specific lure correctly will get you more fish. I have to admit, that I am a sucker for the large marlin lures (massive collection) and have spent thousands of hours watching those bubble trails while waiting for fish to arrive and attack. I could talk for hours about trolling lures, but no one here is interested in trolling. There is an art to presenting any lure, especially trolling lures. It's the difference between going on a long boat ride or bending a rod.
     
  16. rtran

    rtran Senior Member

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    strike pro are great looking lure but I have old style which consits of weaker looking hooks. have not straighten them on tuna yet but they are stored away. oti and cubera are my current goto poppers
     
  17. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

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    Since I was going to destroy a couple of lures I made the decision to add a couple more to the list. I demolished four popular poppers this morning.
    1) Tuna Hunter
    2) OTI Komodo
    3) Yo Zuri GT
    4) Braid popper

    I first placed them on asphalt and ran over them three times with a Ford F350 Diesel truck. The front end only. It's the heaviest part with the engine. Probably around 4000 pounds. The lure all stayed together. The Braid was the only one that had a small crack line through the whole lure. Most of the damage was dents from getting squashed into the asphalt.

    Below are pics of the truck test before and after being run over a few times.
     

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  18. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

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    Next test was the hammer test. I used a 24 ounce hammer with a 18" handle. I beat the lure on concrete. I repeated this test on all four poppers.

    First test was the Braid. It was the easiest to smash. Foam injection core was found inside. It was not as dense as the others to follow.
     

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  19. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

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    Next victim in line for the hammer test was the Yo Zuri GT. It also had a injection foam core but it was dense and harder to break than the braid.
     

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  20. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

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    My next popper to smash was the Tuna Hunter. It was also a dense foam injection core. This is the lure I called "New" in an earlier post. I bought it about a year ago. They might have a wood core now, but this was not the earlier version marked "Technic GT Monster". It was also a foam injection core. The core was harder than the Braid and about the same density as the Yo Zuri.
     

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