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Fish of a life time??? lost at color

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#1 fishordie

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 07:21 PM

I have been trying to figure out how to write about this but I figured F...K it, I will write what I believe to be true though there is simply no way to prove my statements. I do not lie, intentionally, so these are my accounts of the issue.

I am on the fantastic Excel/Mikkelsen big fish charter and am havlng a great time with this wonderful gang of long time long rangers and incredible skipper and crew. We have been picking away at tuna at the usual long range locales and I have been trying every artificial bait known with little luck except a few on the new JRI glow jig and PL 68. I have also been fishing bait on and off. Nothing, not even a sniff, on the poppers, but that is just the way things are in a pick bite even a steady pick bite.

HOWEVER, yesterday, I believe, I hooked into the fish of a life time (Giant Yellowfin Tuna) on my Blackhole Cape Code Special, 80G, Popping rod, and Shimano 18K spinner. I finally gave up, changed out my artificial lure from the rig and put on a 8/0 Eagle Claw ringed hook from Guy and Annette at Ringedhooks.com. I pinned on a sardine and almost immediately I am hooked into a tuna. I set my drags for a spinner around 24 pounds so I could get over and around others but almost immediately cranked the drags down as the spool started to thin out. I had on a standard 18K spool and not my Yumea Max 20K spool so I was either going to bust my 90 pound flouro or stop the fish.

I have never been spooled before or taken a skiff ride, but this looked like it might be the time and place. When one of the great crew members asked if I wanted a backup my replay was Naaaw. The fish finally stopped its massive run just in time to allow me the chance to work my butt off for the next 1.5 hours or so. I knew it was a good fish due to the giant tail beat but I had and still have no idea just how big it was but I have a very good guess as do others who saw it.

35 pounds of drag during most of the fight was enough for this fisherman to get this big fish to move though most of the time I was rail rodding my spinner just in order to keep that kind of pressure on this behemoth. Yes folks, you can turn the reel up just enough to clear the rail and use the rail to advantage. Anyway, I had just stepped down to 90 pound flouro from my usual 130 pound mono so I have to admit I was a bit worried. Okay, more than a bit. 90 pound is fine for most cows but not the line I would go to if I was at the upper end of the weight spectrum. None the less, it was what it was.

As I noted, this fish had the tail beat of a monster, bigger and badder than anything I had felt in over 50 years of long range fishing, and this beast was more than ardent in its quest for freedom but 35 pounds is a ton of pressure especially when it was away from the boat where I could use my step back and wind forward technique with little endurance loss. This technique works whether the rig is a spinner or conventional as you can really feel the fish's head being pulled towards the boat so I can wind in as I step forward. Clearly, since I had a roughly 6 -1 Spinner, I was not going to just crank against the fish.

Those of you who have taken the time to read my blathering in the past know I have been wanting to land a giant on spinner gear for ever without the use of the thunder down under device I created some time ago. My previously caught cow tuna was fraught with all sorts of problems and though I landed that big fish it just did not seem to be as satisfying as it could have been. So, once again, I was on my quest for the fish of a life time on a spinner and popping rod regardless the cost to life and limb (mine that is).

Fortunately, after a fair amount of time (At least 1,2 hours) I did get the giant to color. Unfortunately this fish was smarter than me and used its giant girth to stall me in my efforts to sink a bunch of gaffs into it for another 15 or more minutes. This bitch (Bitch has may definitions but in this case it refers to a fish who refuses to give up to what I believed was superior fire power) continued to pull against what was now 40 pounds of drag and some interesting techniques to rail rod my Blackhole (Sorry Kil, but I have destroyed the fore-grip but it was well worth it) and I was gaining perhaps a couple of yards of line every minute or so. Clearly not as fast as I would have liked though I was putting the wood to the fish even at the end. I also do not doubt had this fish been the usual sized cow tuna I would have landed it much quicker but that is pure speculation and perhaps some ego speaking but alas I will have to wait until the next time to prove out my theory as the big fish portion of this trip has now ended.

Could I have landed this thing by going into low speed with a conventional reel??? I have no doubt I could have landed it in a reasonable time frame with a two speed reel but that was just not an option as my speeds and gear ratio's with my spinners are dictated by how hard I could pull and wind. Here is where I probably should have given more credit to my connections as they held up beautifully but after 1.5 hours or so on this giant my almost 59 year old body and 84 year old innards were hoping this battle would end soon. Perhaps I could have stayed with 35 pounds of drag pressure or perhaps just waited out this endless circling with the giant fish at color but I have seen too many fish circling too long, winning their freedom because the angler just did not get line on the reel. Again, no doubt, had I had a low gear i could have gathered line when the rod was not fully bent but that was just not something I could do with a spinner.

At the end, my line parted as we watched the giant, very slowly, swim away, having deservedly won it's freedom through shear will and and strength of heart. After a moment of my bitching about an extra ordinary amount of other folk's line inadvertently finding its way onto my fish (About 300 yds), I came to the correct conclusion this is what long ranging is all about. Very rarely does anyone on a big fish get a way Scott free from other folks not paying attention or not realizing their baits were not where they thought they were. We all are and have been guilty of getting into a tangle now and then... Gasp. It is part of the sport yet we are lucky to have such great crew members help us out of precarious situations. Sometimes, even these great guys cannot get rid of the ungodly tangled lines we manage to pick up along the way.

Before the geniuses of the internet fishing forums come on and give their brilliant renditions of how dumb it is for an angler to take a pea shooter to a gun fight there are those of use who just want to challenge ourselves and our gear to go beyond what is considered sane and normal. I have been told all my life certain things could not be done which only spurred me on in attempting and usually proving them wrong. I am still fairly certain the world is not flat. This post has nothing to do with what is the most efficient means of landing a giant tuna from a long range fishing boat as no doubt I would have landed this fish if I had a two speed, conventional reel but I have to say I am very satisfied that I pushed myself to my human limits and did everything I could do to put it on the boat. Nor do I state that every angler should try targeting giant tuna from a long range boat with a spinner as unless you have the endurance and technique I highly suggest you keep the spinner work to non giants or cow tuna. On this day the fish simply prevailed and I applaud his or her effort. No doubt both of us were tired but both of us had a reason to succeed. Luckily my down side to losing this battle was not death nor a bunch of gaffs in my side and a bat to my head rather my down side was a wonderful Scotch and great cigar to celebrate the battle lost. Kudos to the winner and kudos to the loser.

So, will I try again on the Bob Sands 14 day charter in November??? Lets just say there will be at least one pea shooter at the cow fields with this infidel attempting to finish the job I started some time ago.


#2 acvnaa

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 08:14 PM

Great story dude! Obviously means a lot to you to have write in such detail. I like how you applauded the fish for it's ability to out do you and swim away with it's freedom, than have several gaff hooks through its head and body. I agree with you on having a "pea shooter" although i use perhaps something a tad up from that, but still in no way a shotgun, and really enjoy having hard long fights instead of skulldraggin to an etend fish in. We never land the "fish of a lifetime" that's why we keep fishing! We'll not entire reason but is one that helps us coming back.

Enjoyed the read, Cheers!

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