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.