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JimW 09-17-2002 12:38 PM

It's a Tuna
1 Attachment(s)
Story to follow.

BigDave 09-17-2002 01:14 PM

Way to go Jim! What a fish :whoa: Hope you didn't hook into that thing in your kayak :hehe:


pmflyfisher 09-17-2002 01:20 PM

Wow you actually catch tuna that big on a fly rod ? That must be like bringing up "Red October" from the bottom. :hehe:

Dble Haul 09-17-2002 01:24 PM

You've really raised the bar for tuna at the Hardtail Clave.

Way to go! :cool:

juro 09-17-2002 01:53 PM

That's the biggest bonito I've ever seen ;)

Nice BBF dude! Sushi's on Jim!

Roop 09-17-2002 01:55 PM

Awesome, awesome, awesome!

You said you were going to do it and you did!!

Nice job.


striblue 09-17-2002 02:36 PM

Hey Jim...what are you trying to pull here... that's a plastic blow up fish....... Just kidding..great job.... love it....Jim? what fly? If on a fly rod.

Hawkeye 09-17-2002 04:31 PM

Way to go Jim!!! I want to hear the tale especially if it was on the fly!!!!!! You are in for one of the best fish dinners you've ever had! (except perhaps the grilled bonito at the boneclave. ;) )

Penguin 09-17-2002 06:54 PM


I especially like the way you made it look...
by holding it closer to the camera with arms outstretched!!!

At what part of the tussle did you ask yourself...
Who's in charge here!?


Adrian 09-17-2002 08:42 PM

Awesum dood! You da man!!!!

JimW 09-17-2002 09:23 PM

Sorry guys, That’s the proverbial one that got away. I should have held off on the pic until I wrote the explaination. Hey somebody had to hold it. I hooked up on the first cast and was on for ~5 min, which consisted of the fish pulling ½ the line off the reel and chasing it with the boat. The power these tuna have is amazing.
Here’s the full scoop:
6am - leave Green harbor: Mike Sullivan from Old Salt is taking me out for BBF in exchange for some work I did on his website. There is fog and a bit of a chop that makes for a bumpy ride. But we make good time and get well offshore in no time.
6:30am - We are somewhere in the middle of the bay and start searching for tuna. The fog is lifting but it remains overcast. Having never seen these beasts I’m pointing out diving birds and such. Mike says there is no mistaking them; you’ll know when they show. He wasn’t kidding WOW!
7am- I spot a serious commotion about a half-mile away – 3 O’clock TUNA! I’m going to try to post some low quality video that does not do this sight justice but you’ll get the idea, I've got to get it on another server first. Some of the fish come right out of the water and they are not small. I was awestruck by the sight but didn’t hesitate to cast into them. Bang! I’m on, Holy $$&* who’s got who. Well that lasted about 5 minutes when the tuna ran back at me, I could not keep up with it and maintain tension OHHH! Nooooo. I replace the leader and take off 25 yds of line thinking that Mike had rigged the leader with a blood knot I use the same to attach the a new leader (mistake). We quickly came upon another pod of fish, I have a momentary hookup while cranking in to make another cast, a fish comes right out of the waster about 20’ from the boat and tries to tackle my lure, but I lose another. Rich gets whacked too but no hook up. We encourage Mike to fish and he takes us up on it. Mike hooks up and is on solid for about 10 minutes with the boat just drifting and not chasing the tuna peels most of the line off the reel, after a time some line is recovered. Mike’s fish runs to rejoin it’s pod and pulls us along. Now we’re in the melee again with one fish on. Rich hooks up on the rod I rigged; now we’ve got double tuna. Another 10 minutes goes by and the tuna stay more or less on opposite sides of the boat and then Mikes starts to sound. We almost have the lines cross, Mike says if the lines touch each while under extreme tension one or both lines will just snap. A couple of near misses I call who’s over/under who and everything is looking good, then Rich’s line breaks probably the blood knot although there was no curlyQ , looked like a clean break.

I stated in an earlier post that we would get one of these monsters using any tackle necessary and then try for one on the fly rod. The fish I am holding was caught by Mike on spin gear, since I was gaff man and had a fish on for a while I decided to take a pose with the fish, 47lbs if it. In hindsight I would have gone to the fly rod much sooner as the bite died off after 8:30. We wanted to boat a fish and I didn’t want to hog the boat. I did cast the 14wt Abel right into the middle of a couple of schools and that was exciting, no hookups but the spin gear Rich was using did no better at that time of day. Mike says the best bite has been ~7:30am and then they start to get skittish. I fish 99% using a flyrod but this is the 1% that a spinning rod wasn’t so bad. I realize this is a fly fishing only site and would like to keep it that way but I wanted to share the story with the group.

Here’s what I learned, maybe it will help someone else land one on the fly:
The fish have been biting best between 7 and 8am.
Watch the knots, everything needs to be perfect to withstand the stresses placed on the line.
I would not recommend using a 10wt or a reel that does not have anti-reverse and a damn good drag, you may be injured.
There is a certain look to a pod that is aggressively feeding and you are much more likely to hookup on one of these pods than one where they are all proposing on one direction.
It worth the price of admission to go with someone who knows what they are doing.
Tuna tastes very good!

I'll be targeting these on the fly rod at some point, hopfully next year if I don't get back out there this season.

Philster 09-18-2002 01:00 PM

"Here’s what I learned, maybe it will help someone else land one on the fly:
The fish have been biting best between 7 and 8am.
Watch the knots, everything needs to be perfect to withstand the stresses placed on the line.
I would not recommend using a 10wt or a reel that does not have anti-reverse and a damn good drag, you may be injured. "

Ha! It's funny, everytime you get into tuna, you learn something! The following is all personal opinion so feel free to disagree. With Mexico Yellowfin, I've learned that up to about 15 to 20 lbs. a ten weight can work. Up to about 35, a 12 weight can work. Over 35 lbs I take out the 14 wt. or even better, I hook up on one, land it or lose it, and go find something else to catch :chuckle: I realize your Blues get much bigger

Knots are important, but you can usually do without a shock leaders on 10 and 12 wt. fish. 16 lb fluoro works great, and 13 lb is perfect for what we call "footballs" on the West Coast. Makes life easier!

Anti-reverse may work for some, but they have one major flaw with tuna IMO. When the tuna is running they're great, but when it comes down to pumping the fish up from ye olde death spiral, an A/R gives me fits! If I put the drag way up, even a 3 second lunge from the tuna can either pop you off, or pop the rod! I'd rather leave the drag alone and lock down on a direct drive reel. The ability to pump a fish up is what seperates the 20 to 45 minute tuna fight from the 2 hour one. If your fingers are critical to your livelyhood (musician, surgeon, etc.) and you can't afford a broken finger, go for it. Otherwise, you've probably learned what you need to know about using a direct drive safely on other saltwater fish. If you haven't... Well, get a Pate Marlin with A/R, or fish for something else until you have learned!

saltydog 09-22-2002 02:23 PM

:D good looking.
PHILSTER, have you been out, he bay is loaded, was out Saturday till the wind picked up, we were into 90LB class fish,lots of casts to them but no pick-up even had one look at the fly while comming by about 6' from the boat while I was looking at him, a good solid 90lbs at least. was a beauty lots of swirl around but no hook up, will try againg soon.

Philster 09-22-2002 09:26 PM

Yo Dog! I want nothin' to do with a 90 lb yellowfin... I don't have that kind of time :hehe:

Haven't been to the "Sur" in nearly two years due to major life changes, including moving the Pacific Northwest and becoming a stay at home dad to two toddlers. I do have 4 solid days in a super panga alone from October 25-29th at Punta Colorada! It should be absolutely epic! Roosters and Tuna and Sails! Oh My! Roosters and Tuna and Sails! Oh My! Roosters and Tuna and Sails! Oh My!

Forgive me if you know this, but when they are bustin' right at the boat, slap your fly right on the boils a couple times, then on the third or fourth one, let the fly hit, then sweep your rod horizontally as far and as fast as you can, while making a major strip. Sometimes those "six feet away" fish will nail that zipping fly before it travels 3 feet. The coolest part is you can see the take, and while you know Tuna are fast, you don't really realize how fast until you see something like that. :eyecrazy: I actually do the turbo strip at the end of all retrieves. I get more hookups there than at any other time during the retrieve. Of course I also have 90 feet of line in the bucket to deal with.

Once again apologies if this is old hat to you. Couple of things to try on those fish that won't take. 2 to 2.5 inch white belly, black back fly on a super stout size 2 hook. Aki or Flyliner. anything from rams fleece to Puglisi fibers, to any of the new "polar" fibers. NO FLASH! With a quick sinker line let it soak for awhile, then bring it back with long slow pulls. If that fails, go to a real small, size 6 or so fly of ALL flash. Fish it the same way. When I say 2 to 2.5 inches, I don't mean 2.75 to 3.5 inches. Seriously, keep it small. Sometimes I even cut the small black and white fly shorter, mark the cut edge with a red sharpie, and really let it soak. The strike is literally painful if one takes a "chunk fly".

When things are really bad, and you are fishing as described above, don't retrieve all the way back, bring it back half way, and then shake out the line you retrieved (and any line you couldn't cast) and let it soak a bit, then repeat the process a couple of times. As you know the bigguns are almost always deeper and this will gain you some real depth. I also carry small largemouth bass style worm sinkers to assist getting really deep for when you need to get under skippies and footballs.

None of this is original to me. Of the 25 or so "Killer" techniques I've been given over the years, these 3 or 4 are the ones that have proven themselves over and over again.

Man, it's going to be tough to wait until the end of October!

Roop 09-23-2002 07:22 AM

Rich - sorry to hear you guys didn't hook up.

Personally, the tuna fever has had me blow it with the fly several times.

A friend hooked up with a 4/0 Sar Mul Mac Saturday.

Based on confidence my tuna friend has and the success I've had with a certain plug - to duplicate it I would humbly suggest a 6/0 fly that stays on the top with an orange bottom. No joke. I've seen fish slam this plug!

Philster all good points - thanks. My latest issue on the fly is the braided running line I used for my 420 grain floating head - One cast awesome, second cast - yeah baby! Third cast ----- SPIDER NEST that stuff SUCKS!!

I'm just splicing it right to the 50# mono I have in front of my backing.

Good luck!

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