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Gear Suggestions for San Diego Tuna run....

Discussion in 'The Great Outdoors' started by AZShooter, Jul 22, 2017.

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  1. AZShooter

    AZShooter 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Hi All!

    My buddies and I are chartering a boat in late August in SD for a 1.5 day Tuna run. The boat heads out to International waters off the coast of Mexico targeting Yellowtail, Yellowfin, Bluefin and Durado.

    I have done plenty of ocean fishing....big game down in the Sea of Cortez and party boats around the channel islands for mostly varieties of bass, sheephead, half moons, rockfish, etc...

    I have a nice Eagle Claw 10ft surfcaster pole with the notches at the base that will do the job. The question is reels....Currently I have it set up for a 20lb test max spin reel, but looking to pick up a decent, not overly priced bait casting reel for this trip.

    For the price, I have seen a lot of Penn models, in particular the Fathom lever drag....

    Are there any advantages to a lever drag over a star drag? Do I really need gears? I'm thinking 30 to 40lb model with 50lb braided to a 20 or 30lb fluorocarbon leader...does this sound right for live bait off a boat? Am I over thinking this? Any thoughts or suggestions?

    Thank you!
     
  2. AZShooter

    AZShooter 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Haha! I guess there's not a lot of Salty Dogs out there.

    So I settled on a Penn 2spd Lever Drag 25N....pretty smooth reel so far!

    I'm trying to decide on doing a 65lb braid with a topshot of 40lb mono or fluorocarbon at 150 yards....

    OR

    Just do straight 40lb mono with a 60 flouro leader at about 6-8ft on to the tackle. I'm really only planning on live bait or jigs....

    Any thoughts for West Coast tuna? Thanks for reading!
     
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  3. Blazooki

    Blazooki five-0 Premium Member

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    what size live bait are you using? You casting or trolling? I know its easier for live bait to tow braid around..so the smaller bait doesn't get as tired as fast. Can you guys chase a big fish or are you gonna be stuck in one spot/slow to catch up? I'd prob go with the first choice..more line on the reel really helps if you hook a bigger one and have to play catch up.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  4. longbedder

    longbedder 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    In a normal year for a 1.5 day boat out of Fisherman's Landing, I take three rods: 2x with 20-lb setups and 1x with a 40-lb setup. All star-drag baitcasters with mono. A spinning rig will not be any use on a tuna boat.

    The above works just fine for football tuna, yellowtails, and dorado with live bait. It pretty much replicates the rental gear there, with the 40# setup thrown in for a wide-open bite.
    2015 and 2016 were wild, unprecedented, historic years with big tuna waaay up north, and that gear would be marginal (at best) with a big tuna. I don't know what this year is doing.

    If you don't know what you're doing on the rail and slice through a bunch of others' lines with braid on an open boat, they might throw you overboard.
     
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  5. runamok151

    runamok151 1 ton status Premium Member

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    10' is too long for boat use. Boat poles are usually less than 8'. You want something easy to maneuver around on a boat but still enough length to keep the tip away from the side of the boat. I prefer the 7' lengths for up to 40# rigs and get shorter as the weight class goes up. Your gear depends on what type of fishing you'll be doing and how big the species can be. Chumming and dropping down bait? Go w/ the shorter/heavier tuna sticks. Jigging a diamond jig? You'll want something longer and much lighter in the 40-50# class. Also, tuna have excellent vision. You can get by w/ an 80# flouro leader at night but you'll need to drop down to 40# once the sun comes up. Are you only expecting the little speedsters or can you hook up w/ a monster? Are you going to be on the troll, anchored, drifting, chumming? Ask your captain what type of fishing you'll be doing and what gear he recommends.

    I go out on head boats off the NJ coast. We anchor at the edges of the canyons, chum and drop down bait fish w/ the hooks buried inside and can use up to 3 lbs of egg sinkers. Most of what we see are schoolie long fins to 60 lbs and yellow fin to 100lb. I need a stick that can winch a tuna up as quickly as possible because there's 20 other people on board and your lines get chaffed a lot (you'll have a lot less of that on a charter). My main tuna stick it a 5'6" 130# Penn International w/ a 9/0 Senator reel spooled w/ 80# Momoi mono. I'd like to get a International 50 SW but they're $$$. The lever drag is a very nice feature to have, especially if you're live lining or dropping bait down w/ a couple pounds of weight. The Senator does not have a lever drag so I have to leave the reel in free spool and continuously hold my spool to keep it at the correct depth. I would not buy another level wind w/ out the lever drag.

    I recently bought a 7'6" Tsunami, fast action and a Penn Squall LD40 spooled w/ 40# power pro to use as a jigging/ day time rod. It's less than half the weight of my other stick so repeatedly yanking the thing up over your head is much less work when jigging. The longer length lets you pull a jig up higher so it drops longer, which is when a strike occurs. I can also use if for other fishing like live lining for stripers or bottom fishing for sea bass or tile fish. The two speed reel lets you fight a big fish or change speeds and take up a lot of line faster. Last time I went out, a couple of the mates pulled out their own rods to fish a little. They both had 2 speed LD Avet reels on small graphite rods. I was amazed at how light and strong these little reels were, all machined aluminum, half the price of Penn or Shimano and made in the US. I would guess something in this 40-50 lb range would probably handle most of your tuna needs for this type of trip.

    Sometimes we'll stop off and cast at the giant commercial lobster and crab pot bouys that hold mahi on the way in/ out to the canyons. We'll flip 1/2 oz. bucktails and diamond jigs as we drift by. 20 lb line is plenty for this fishing. Get a 6'-7' spinning stick to go w/ your 20 lb spinning reel and leave the surf rod at home. Many charters will not let you cast overhead (again, check w/ your capt.) so you may need something short enough to flip out underhand.

    You may also want to bring a light 6-10 lb spinning rig and get a squid jig (white, pink or green Yo-zuri Ultra). The boat lights draw squid up to the surface at night. You jig for them and use them as live bait. They're aggressive as hell and fun to catch. And if you have any left over you take them home for calamari.

    My biggest so far was a 300 lb big eye tuna and I'm glad I had a heavy stick for that and not some 40# class rig. It would have spooled me in a heartbeat. It still took me 50 minutes to crank it in.

    Here's a 90 pounder I caught a few years ago.
    tuna04.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
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  6. runamok151

    runamok151 1 ton status Premium Member

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    And Longbedder made a good point. Many captains will not let you use braids on their boats because it slices through everything when it's under tension. It's much more dangerous for the mates to handle and it can slice through an anchor line in a heart beat if the fish happens to take a loop around it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
  7. AZShooter

    AZShooter 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    WOW!! This is fantastic information! Thank you!

    I settled on a Penn Lever Drag, 2 Spd Fathom 25N. This is my first big tuna run but I often get out for bottom fishing off these charters and I wanted a reel that could do both.

    There are some monster bluefins ranging up to 250bs, but rare. The majority target will be in the 30-80lb range.

    The boat can handle up to 32 people, but we are only bringing 16 so there should be plenty of room. Also, it's a private charter so they'll be a bit more lenient on types of lines used.

    No trolling, unless I'm doing it by hand as we move from spot to spot. We'll mainly be moving from spot to spot, dropping anchor and likely chumming the waters.

    I want to set up for using the sardines in the live bait well, as well as some jigs......just picked up some Shimano Flat falls.

    Here's what I'm trying to figure out....(The reel can hold up to 65lb braid or 40# mono/flouro)

    1) 40# Mono with a 50# Flouro leader, length of the pole to tackle
    2) 40# Mono to tackle
    3) 40# Flouro to tackle
    4) 65lb Braid to 40# Flouro 100-150yd topshot to tackle
    5) 65lb Braid to 40# Flouro leader, length of the pole to tackle....

    Suggestions??

    Thank you !
     
  8. AZShooter

    AZShooter 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    PS...

    RUNAMOK!!! NICE CATCH!!!
     
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  9. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    i'm no help on the gear, but i grilled fresh yellow fin on the grill last night... ;) my boss and the boys killed em out at the Canyon friday night... 6 60 lber's,.. 36' Albamarle, nice boat..
     
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  10. runamok151

    runamok151 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I prefer mono on boats simply because there's a much greater probability that someone may have to grab the line at some point and braided line can slice through skin too easily. It's so damn thin it hurts to grab the line even w/ kevlar gloves. I save the braid for surf fishing or freshwater where I'm right down on the water and can just drag a bass into a net.

    I don't think there's any real advantage to spooling up a whole reel w/ fluro, unless you like spending a lot of money on line. Use a good mono w/ a 6'-8' shot of fluro for a leader. The weight of the leader depends on what you're fishing for and how much abrasion resistance you need. I've come to really like the Momoi. They under rate their line strength so you have some built in fudge factor. Plus, it has good abrasion resistance, yet it's still flexible and ties a good knot.

    I'm only seeing the Fathom 25 as holding 240 yds of 30# mono. You could be fishing w/ 100+ yds of line out and and extra 140 yds may not be enough to stop a 60-80 lb fish. 30 lb line is only going to let you set your drag around 10-12 lbs. I'd rather see you spend an extra $20, go up to the Fathom 40 and get 315 yds of 40# line. Put some 40 lb Momoi on and set your drag to 15 lbs. And I'd stick in on a 7' Penn Carnage II
    http://www.cabelas.com/product/fish...-reg-carnage-ii-boat-casting-rods/2133437.uts

    Don't forget to get a good fighting belt. A gimbal end is useless w/out it and jamming the butt of you pole into your groin while you fight a tuna for 25 minutes hurts. . . a lot. . . in places you don't like to hurt.
     
  11. AZShooter

    AZShooter 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Done. Thank you. Ordered the belt, Penn Fathom Lever Drag 2 Spd 40N and off to Bass Pro Saturday to pick up some line and a 7'-er.

    Last question....

    With 40# line, what test Flouro leader to use? 50?
     
  12. runamok151

    runamok151 1 ton status Premium Member

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    We use 80# floro leaders at night and switch to 40# once the sun starts coming up. Tuna have very good eye sight and can see the thicker line. The leader doesn't have to be heavier than your main line. You could stay w/ 40# of Seaguar Blue for what you're doing. I use Gamakatsu octopus circle hooks in 5/0 to 9/0 depending on presentation and time of day. Black if they're going in a bait fish, red if they're exposed (live lining a squid). http://www.cabelas.com/product/Gama...Vh42zCh311wA-EAQYBCABEgK_PfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

    Are you planning on taking a spinning combo for the mahi and other speedsters?
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  13. AZShooter

    AZShooter 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Durado's big this time of year. I'm bringing 2 poles, a 25N with 30# Ande Ghost for the durando and yellowtail on live bait and if we run into yellowfins and blue's I'll switch to the 40N with 40# Ghost to the Flouro leader with some jigs....just picked up some of the new flat-falls. I'll post a bunch of pics when I return...heading out next weekend!
     
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  14. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    they slaughtered em again thurs, another limit run of 60's.... 10 more lb's of tuna for my freezer... ;)

    damn good tuna fishing this yr compared to the last 3 or so.. not as good as 5,6 yr's ago tho.. those days they'd come home with a 1/2 doz 100 lb'ers.. it's good, it put's my psycho boss in a good mood, lol...
     
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  15. AZShooter

    AZShooter 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Holy Moses! I just did an independent test of the Ande Ghost 40# line. I tied one end to the K5 and tied the other to a spring-loaded fish scale that maxes out at 28lbs. That line snapped every time....I also tried Berkely Trilene Big Game, which is cheaper and it was my knots, not the line that would fail unless I pulled way past the scale's max. Time to re-spool. Do not buy this junk mono, FYI...
     
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  16. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I work on 55 Vikings and Albamarles every day, but I'm a freshwater guy, go figure! braided stuff for me..
     
  17. AZShooter

    AZShooter 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Yeah, about that....let's talk knots....

    I did some tests....1) because I don't want to lose a big blue and 2) because I'm a total nerd.

    Regarding leaders:

    My plan is to connect fluoro leader to mono.

    I tested the Crazy Alberto, Blood, Double Uni, Triple Surgeon etc.... Every time I pulled I received the same result, if my knot was true, of the line snapping up next to the knot.....probably 70-85% line strength.

    The strongest rig I tested was simply using Palomars tying a barrel swivel in between the main line and the leader.....actually bent the swivel I pulled so hard and used the full, 100% potential of the line.

    Any thoughts or experience here?
     
  18. AZShooter

    AZShooter 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I should clarify....the point is I would rather use a long leader that I can real in through the eyes of the pole rather than a shorter leader with more gear. Does this make sense?
     
  19. longbedder

    longbedder 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    You're overthinking it, IMO.

    #20lb mono to a hook via Palomar. I've never been on a San Diego boat that didn't flyline live mackerel bait on floating kelp pods. They troll the boat rods while looking for the kelp. Once it's wide open, stick with your same rig if/until it breaks, then shift to #40.

    If you get tangled or cut off, just snip a fresh end and tie on a new hook lickety-split.

    Keep your bait fresh, fresh, fresh - it's "free." If your mackerel is tired or has red spots anywhere get rid of it and get a feisty one.

    I've gone fish-for-fish with guys tying flouro leader and getting fancy...and I've won the jackpot a couple times.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017 at 11:23 AM
  20. runamok151

    runamok151 1 ton status Premium Member

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    You will lose 10-15% of line strength due to knots. That's why you only set your drag for about 1/3 of you line strength. 30 lb line should have a drag set at 10-12 lbs as it comes off the rod tip, not a straight line pull.

    Take your line and slip on a plastic bead to protect your knot from the rod tip or egg sinkers if you use them. Connect the swivel w/ an improved cinch knot. I like cinch knots w/ mono and leave the palomars for braided line. I just think it holds the mono better. Make sure you make it plenty wet (spit) as you tighten the knot. Tightening down a dry knot burns the line and greatly reduces knot strength. Attach your leader to the other end of the swivel w/ another improved cinch and tie on your hook. I was shown a little trick a long time ago. Tie your knot and leave the tag end about an inch long. Quickly melt the tip of the tag end w/ a lighter. It will create a little bead in the mono that prevents it from slipping through the knot. I have never lost a fish from a faulty knot since doing this.
     

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