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Warren 07-31-2007 05:15 AM

Rigging for Tuna
My friend & I are rigging up for Tuna. We have 14 wt rods and big expensive reels, 80 lb Sufix braid for backing, tuna permit for the boat etc....

There does not seem to be much information available regarding line selection for the heavy stuff. My question is what do we use for lines. I have ordered a 600 gr Rio Leviathan sink tip as a starting point, hoping it will be heavy enough to put a bend in the rod.

Will it work or do I need something heavier? The next heavier offering from Rio is a 1000 grain shooting head line which conventional thinking tells me is too heavy for such a rod, but I am also assuming conventional thinking may not apply here.
I did not see where Sci Angler & Airflo have a line targeted to tuna or other large fish except Tarpon and not many lines designed for a 14wt rod

striblue 07-31-2007 07:19 AM

Warren, Assuming you have the fly line rigged to the backing and the butt section attached to the other end of the fly line all you need to do is get maybe 30 to 40 pound flouro....about 6 to 8 feet. Tie a perfection loop at one end and attach to the butt section loop. Then a simple non slip mono loop to the fly and your good to go. If you don't have, say, the butt section attached to the fly line you should call Nat or Derrick at First Light Anglers who use a 60 pound braided loop tied to the fly line with the use of piano wire and several steps which include a bimini. You should see how that is tied since I can not explain to make it clear. I have the Leviatan also which you saw at CAC. Naturally , there are other ways to make these ties which also work and are preferences for others, But I go with First Lights ties simply because thoase were the first I did..hope this helps...John

Warren 07-31-2007 10:45 AM

Initially I was more interested in what line others are using on 14 wt set ups, but I suppose I better give some thought to leader connection as well. Thanks for bringing that up. I saw that braided loop on the end of your set up, it looked pretty stout.

sean 07-31-2007 10:47 AM

The 600 grain line will most likely be fine. You may even prefer the light 550 or 500 ones as well, depends on the rod. 1000 grains is way too much for most any single hander I have seen.

Sean has been using my 550 grain rio outbound intemediate on his 14-17wt TFO with good results.

John's terminal rugging advice is great and we had good luck with a 50lb braided sleeve double nail knotted to the fly line and then straight 40lb fluoro from there.

One thing which some may not agree with is the amount of backing one needs. I had 425 on my reel and would say at most 200 was ever out at one time. Seems if you fight them agressively( and have a good guy at the helm that can chase em down for you) you could get away with as little as 300 yards and be fine.


Smcdermott 07-31-2007 11:49 AM

One additional thing to consider on the line is line management. Here are a couple thoughts I have on the subject.

Personally I have not had good luck with the bluewater type lines from RIO. I have had the Leviathon and Deep Sea lines. I have found the running line core to be very stiff and have a lot of memory. This made it tough to get the line to shoot through the guides cleanly when you need it the most. To that end I have had the best success with traditional lines that have more tradtional cores. I may learn to regret it one day but if you can land 200lb tuna on 20lb tippet why the need for the 65lb core? Like Sean said I have been using his RIO Outbound with good success. I understand they don't make that line anymore so I am also looking around for a substitute. I like the SA Clear Tip line but they only go up to 13wt so I am not sure if it will load the TFO Bluewater HD.

I use a basket to store the line between pods but not during the actual presentation to the fish. Keep some water in the basket to help keep the running line lubricated so it won't stick to itself and tangle. However, don't try and put it back in the basket when you are presenting to the fish. Strip the line onto the deck so you can concentrate on getting tight to the fly and making the right retrieve.

Not line management related but I think it will prove usefull if you are new to casting the big rods. When making your back cast lock the rod butt against your forearm. This will help give you the leverage you need to power the cast. These are big rods with heavy lines and you will get tired in my experience.

Good luck.


BigDave 07-31-2007 03:05 PM

500 grain Leviathan is a perfect match to my 14wt. Also very castable on a 12.

jimS 07-31-2007 04:56 PM

Sean, the Leviathan lines are tropical. I think if you stetch them the memory should go away for our coldwater fishery.

Boat/trailer up and running?

Smcdermott 07-31-2007 05:16 PM


Originally Posted by jimS
Sean, the Leviathan lines are tropical. I think if you stetch them the memory should go away for our coldwater fishery.

Boat/trailer up and running?


I no longer own the leviathon but will try giving the bluewater line a more robust stretch. I have given it the under the foot two hand treatment but maybe just a little more pull is neccessary with the beefy core.

Sore subject on the trailer but hopefully it will be ready tomorrow. The outer races they gave me with the axle and hubs were the wrong ones so the mechanic had to order a set today. 3 weeks and running trying to get this thing back on the road. Thank god the fishing hasn't exploded or I would have.


Warren 07-31-2007 06:20 PM

Good stuff guys, Once again, Thank you very much the guidance

After a more in depth search I found that Scientific Anglers also has a some interesting line that I missed in my initial search.
Bluewater Express in 500, 600 & 700 gn offerings. With the following line to Rod recommendations

500Gr/12-14 rod
600Gr/13-15 rod
700Gr/14-15 Rod

Says here it is:
Formulated for better shooting
Stiff Tropi-core design minimizes Tangles
Extra strong core for Tuna & other big game fish.
Best thing since a pocket in a shirt...Buy some today & the fish will jump in the boat.....Yada yada yada :)

So it looks as if my initial guess of 600 grain might be OK after all. We shall see how it casts on this lance I have here. I also found a 500 grn Airflo Depth finder line in the pile of lines at the Fly shop. So I have that as a option too. I will test it out as well

Hopefully it will all come together by the end of the week. If my boat captain & the weather hold together I could be Tuna fishing Monday:D

josko 07-31-2007 06:45 PM

I use a Cortland 625 gr line with a 14 wt to good effect. For the line to backing connection I tie a 40-turn bimini in the backing, and then albright the loop to the fly line. I have not had a single failure at this knot to date.
I have been spooled (by a marlin) on an Abel 5 reel with 400 yds of backing, so now make sure I have 600 yds. I hope to never need all that, but it gives ma a bit more peace of mind.
sierra trading post frequently has heavy fly lines and heads at great prices. I keep an eye on their website and stock up occasionally.

I think heavy rods all load up, more or less, with 625 gr lines. I've used a Redington DFR 15 wt, Sage Rplxi 14, TFO TiCr 14 wt, TFO Bluewater heavy duty, and a couple others with the Cortland 625, and they work fine. The T&T 8'6" heavy rod was the only one I tried that wouldn't load (for me) with a 625 grain head.

Warren 08-04-2007 04:58 AM

I have finally collected all the pieces together for my Tuna rig. The 600 gr Leviathan is not here yet. But I managed to find a 500 gr Airflo depth finder that I can get a decent cast out off. It seems a little light but I can shoot it 25-30 yards. I think a heavier line would be better.

Which brings me to the question of attaching the backing to the line. I used 65 lb sufix braid for backing. In the event I wanted to change lines quickly, I tied a Bimini in the backing and a whipped loop at the end of the running line and did a loop connection. What I do not like is the thin backing pulling against the loop , I am afraid under strain it may cut the running line. Should I or can I tie a nail knot connection with this braided line? Or am I worrying about nothing and just go fishing?

Looks like Sunday, myself & my friend Capt'n Carp are heading out weather permitting to look for Tuna up here. Probably have to settle for some blues but one never knows where the tuna roam

josko 08-04-2007 06:34 AM

Just pass one loop through the other multiple times. This is called a 'cat's paw knot', and distributes the loading nicely. If IS a little harder to undothan a single loop-to-loop, though.

vtloon 08-04-2007 08:20 AM

Braid Loop to Loop
Anyone have any experience with say 50-65# test braid loop to loop (i.e. braid to braid?). I use a doubled over hence two loop braid tied with an Albright (again doubled over) to the butt of my running line.

Bigcat 08-04-2007 09:57 AM

I keep making things simpler all the time, I used to bimini this and bimini that.
I now triple surgeon a loop in my 50# power pro and albright it to my line, 550 Teeny saltwater.
This has held for a few fish, if a fish is going to spool me he is going to have to take it all.
I have 100% confidence in my knots,and feel the less the better:)

jimS 08-04-2007 12:39 PM

Backing to flyline connections for the big boys have to be spot on, or you'll be replacing fly lines. The backing knot is a bimini with a two-turn surgeons double loop. Use a 30-turn on dacron and a 60 on gsp. This knot is close to 100 per cent and makes it easy to change fly lines if you use a loop in the fly line. The coated gsp is not 100 per cent because of knot slippage, but 65lb gsp backing, even at 80 per cent gives you 52lb strength. A 100 per cent loop for the fly line can be gained with a 50lb braided loop. This is a double catch loop with an eight-turn nail knot at the end of the braided loop.

Fly line to leader connection can also be loops. A 50lb braided loop on the fly line and a kreh loop in the leader gives you 100 per cent. Kreh loop or palomar for fly to tippet.

Lots of other rigging ways, but those are the ones that work for me.

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