I am being asked what items folks should bring on the trip in addition to your well used Jigging and Popping gear, windons, changed out hooks, terminal tackle, etc. Please make sure the hooks and artificial baits you bring are up to the task of giant tuna. Bait fishing is the norm on these trips though many of us are going to put as many hours as possible towards popping and jigging. Here are a few suggestions for trying live bait fishing West Coast Style. Before you snicker at live bait fishing I am confident most all of us will be bait fishing for at least part of the time with some fishing bait most of the time so please be prepared. Blind casting when fish are not boiling can be tough on most any Popper fisherman. Dropping Asian style jigs for most of us non professional types, can be grueling so please consider you may be doing some bait fishing.
Hooks: An assortment of J and Circle hooks. I prefer them ringed but this is very much a personal decision. I would bring a minimum of 30 - 40 Hooks.
Contact Guy at Ringed Hooks .com http://ringedhooks.com/
for any questions regarding long range hooks. He has them all at excellent prices and great customer service.
Here are a few of the favorites
6/0 Owner Super Mutu (Circle Hook)
7/0 Mustad 4X strong Demon circle hook
8/0 or 9/0 Eagle Claw 2005 circle hook
5/0 - 7/0 Owner Gorilla J hook
5/0 - 7/0 Mustad Hoodlum J hook
Mustad 7691 Big tuna J hooks. 8/0 thru 12/0. These will be used to make kite rigs and to use on big baits such as skipjack or small yellowfin. These do not need to be ringed.
Mustad 39960 20/0 circle hooks no ring necessary. To be used on the kite. You only will need a couple of these monsters
Chunking hooks: Very much a personal decision and since I am not really a chunker (I do not care for it) it is open for discussion. There are times chunking can be any excellent way to go. With Chunking, getting a nature sink rate which will follow the path of the non hooked chum/chunks seems to be the best way to go. There is much discussion about going with longer lengths of mono vs. flouro as to which seems to provide the best sink rates. Some folks like the swiveled hooks, some like to put a swivel between the main line and their leader material.
Top Shots/Wind ons:
Make your own, contact Basil and BHP tackle http://bhptackle.com/index.php
, or John at JakNKona http://jaknkona.com/
, Call the Excel and see if they will make windons on the boat.
The following is a minimum amount but remember in a wide open bite you will use more and a pick bite less. Go figure it is fishing after all. Just remember you do not want to be out there and run out of stuff. The following is in addition to your Spinner gear.
100 Pound flouro or Mono 25 feet. 6 minimum
130 Pound flouro or Mono 25 feet. 6 minimum
150 Pound flouro or Mono 25 - 50 feet 2 minimum for big bait usage
Kite rigs For those who wish, call the boat and see if they will be providing kite rigs at a nominal charge. You will need at least 3 heavy swivels to attache various types of kite rigs to.
200 - 300 pound Mono 10 feet 2 minimum for kite useage
200 - 300 pound mono 50 feet in a coil, not a top shot, to make double trouble rigs or other bait rigs for kite useage
Connections: Crimp or tie. If you choose to crimp use some sort of line protector such as a chaffing spring or appropriate size plastic tubing. Test your ability to crimp or tie on board as we will have some spring scales setup.
1/4 oz, - 2 oz, sliding egg sinkers with toothpicks to hold them in place 6 of each.
4 oz - 8 oz torpedo sinkers with rubber bands to attach to the line.
If you like to drop big baits down low then a bigger sinker may be needed such as 16 - 20 oz. I am not big on this so I do not bring too many heavier weights but it certainly can work.
Rods: If you are coming from out of state and do not wish to ship or travel with your rods and reels the Excel has a nice assortment of rigs you can use.
Please place your order well in advance. I believe there is no charge for this service and you will only pay for top shots you purchase from the boat. If you have your own top shots I do not believe there is any charge for using the boat's gear. Please call the Excel in this regard.
If you wish to bring your owns rods and reels for bait fishing:
There are numerous manufacturers of rods and reels but make sure you bring stuff set up for the toughest of creatures. We will not be chasing down your big tuna..... Well, there could be a skiff trip or two for some of you, but most of the time you will need gear tough enough to place 30 pounds of drag or more for long blistering runs. Just because a reel is rated for it that does not mean it will hold up. Two speeds are mostly what you will see. Some favorites are:
Accurate ATD 30 and 50 Topless
Okuma Makaira 20SE and 30 SE
Penn VSX 30 and 50
Avet 30 wide Pro and 50 SDS
For those of you wishing to push the envelope with smaller reels. Please think about this before considering as it can be a bad idea for many. Line capacity tends to be a big issue. You can step up hollow spectra to get your maximum usage:
Accurate ATD 12
Penn VSX 16
Rods are a very personal sort of thing. For this angler I like a 6 ft. 9 to 7 ft. 3 inch rod such as the Super Seeker 6463 XXXH, XXXXH and 2 X 4, Calstar Graphiter 770XXH or XXXH. Some are really liking the Phoenix rods which again I would go with a stiffer type rod. Very much persona preference. Both the 2 X 4 and the 770XXH are a bit soft especially when you go to 130 pound test but they are fine sticks which some folks are more comfortable with. That said I always bring my trusty old Cal Star Graphiters 755XXH which I have had for years. Note: Ringed guides which are designed to hold up to Spectra are preferred to the old roller guides for ease of casting or lobbing a bait.
Rail Rod vs. Harness. For those who will be on their very first West Coast Long Range trip I highly suggest you try the rail rod technique. It is easy to learn and really gives some leverage to the angler as well as not having to wear all the harness stuff. I Happen to fish out of both the harness and use the rail but this is very much a personal preference sort of thing. I just suggest to leave yourself open to the idea when fishing conventional gear.
Harness for the spinners: For those of us intending to use spinners for casting poppers or even deep jigging for these cow size fish consider using a harness with appropriate length straps and D rings which can attach to your spinner rod. I prefer quick release hooks over snap in hooks as you will certainly have to get in and out of the harness rather quickly when going up and down rail or over and around other anglers or the bow. I happen to use the Braid Power Play line of plate, drops straps and bucket but any harness rated for the largest critters will work.
A good 40 - 50 pound rod (Usually rated 30 - 60 by the Manufacturer) with a decent stiff tip for casting. I like 8 foot rods but you guys traveling may go smaller. Casting long distances for Wahoo is not required as they generally are closer to the boat.
1 good lighter stick to fish 30 - 40 pound string using lighter wire
Wire to make leaders with inexpensive hooks. Nothing fancy needed for wahoo. You can use single strand, coated 7 strand, uncoated 7 strand or any of the newer tieable wires such as Knot2Kinky. You can crimp your wire or make a haywire type twist to make your connections. Some like a swivel and some do not but most like some sort of a ring to tie your main line to the wire leader.
Whatever works at home should work here. I have listed a few of my favorites. Straight tied to mono seems to get bit better than a wired jig but with the high cost of these jigs it is up to the angler. Most of these come with Siwash J hooks which I tend to close up the gap of the point on. Treble hooks are not favored due to the difficulty in the crew getting their hands too close to the fishes razor sharp teeth when removing the hook.
125G and 150 G (200 gram light) Gold Raider jigs
4.5 Oz. Gold Hopkins Jig
Bombs which usually come wired.
Medium and large size Marauders with J hooks and swivels. Wired to the main line. Please note, large tuna have been known to grab these things so please attach to a reasonable sized reel and rod. Some folks use their trolling rods for double duty such as switching over to a large bait rod when your rotation is not near.
Catchy Tackle spinner jet lures in larger sizes.
There are other trolling lures which may work for you back home. Bring them and lets see how they work out here.
Heavy drop jigs:
Salas PL68 heavy in the glow paint and tuna style J hook is the preferred jig out here however I am really looking forward to seeing how the Asian style drop jigs will do in the hands of master jiggers. Some folks are going with a slightly lighter Salas or Tady glow jig in order to get more of a flutter. Hopefully we will be able to get a real feel for what is superior for at least this trip.
I already mentioned squid jigs and Sabikis in a previous post which everyone will need.
Anyway, this is a start. Please do not rule out or come with a preconceived notion of what West Coast long range is about. Be prepared to change up your style and technique and go with the flow. Of course if you only want to throw poppers or drop jigs you may fish any way you wish. We really want to see what works in the way of artificials but we will have plenty of time to fish bait as well.
West Coast Long Range is a chance to fish hard and relax hard. We should have plenty of fishing time as many places you can fish 24/7 so pace yourself and do not deny yourself the chance to have an adult beverage... in moderation or to sit back and watch the action. There are usually lulls in the action during which you can choose to take a nap, read a book, hang out or ?? Enjoy this as a fishing vacation.
See you at the docks. If you have any other questions please PM me and I will give you my phone number.