I thought this was a pretty good overview of what is going on down south and it seems to be a consensus of the fleet is regard to fishing cows
Take a look and if it helps you then all the better.......I hope this is not considered spam as that was not my intent but rather an exchange of information from the guys that do it for a living to those of us fortunate enough to try our hand
From the American Angler website
Sun. Nov. 18, 2007
Before we talk about tackle, we must first talk a little about the style of fishing that we do. There have been bites on the anchor at various shallows but majority of the bites have happened while drifting in deep water.
We fish these fish much like "Albacore Style" - where we look around with our sonars while the crew is in the mast or on the wing burning with binoculars for birds, breaking fish, jumpers, and sometimes mammals in order to get us in the right zone. The importance of our code boats is key in narrowing down the 50 mile area that we fish. As with most things there is a learning curve for all of us but as a fleet we seem to be making more sense of things and are figuring out patterns. Once these areas of life are pinpointed is the time when the anglers must be ready to go at a moments notice. Quite often when we slide into these stops there are 150-350lb fish busting water all around the boat. To slide a sardine or mackeral in the water when this is going on, is definitely the apex of sportfishing. During the slide is the time when we hook our first round of fish, at times bending half the boat. After the boat "settles in" is when we start drifting with everyone on the windy side of the boat while on the other side there are kites or other flying apparatus being deployed. When in the zone we have never seen a better chance at hooking a cow as it is not uncommon for more then half the fish hooked to be over two.
With this in mind, we must touch base on a sometimes touchy subject. My partner Sam Patella's uncle made the famous saying that "everybody kisses their wife but everybody does it different". We do not wish to offend any "sewing circle", we just would like to give our suggestions on tackle based on a" hand's on" point of view. Before writing this, not only was the crew of the American Angler asked for input but I also talked to many of my fellow captains whose opinions I not only trust but also live by.
The fact that the targeted species are big tuna, we will try and help navigate through all the information out there and try to customize your tackle to specifically fish for these "cows".
Because of the before mentioned reasons, a "50" sized reel is the minimum size reel that is recommended. Even though there have been plenty of big fish caught on "30"sized reels, or the fact that they are souped-up or turbo-charged, they have an application.....and it is not here.
A "50" sized reel or larger, has the necessary line capacity which is very often an issue and it also has the necessary guts and torque necessary for doing the job. As far as brands, we don't represent one specific brand but instead stand by most of the higher end reel manufacturers because they all put out a quality product.
The Accurate 50, Penn International 50 VSX, Avet 50SDS, and Shimano Tiagra 50 are some of our favorites. The wide versions have the line capacity advantage with the drawback being a little more cumbersome to handle. Although they work fine out of the box, the enthusiast might take their reels to Ken's Custom Reels (760) 967 7335, or our sweetheart for life Nancy Sheets at Cals, and there are other reputable tackle establishments for ultimate freespool and beefier drags.
All the reels should be filled to within 80-90% full capacity with 200lb hollow core spectra. Ifyou have 130lb spectra please do not take it off, as a length of 200lb can be spliced on top. Recommended topshots of 130lb mono should be at least a boat length long. This has been a controversial subject in the past, but once again the crews and captains of most of the long range boats have found this to be the practical length. For the average angler, a short topshot does allow the "give" necessary when fighting a big cow close. Too long a topshot is not preferable because it makes it a little tougher to properly soak a bait. We use Izorline on the boat due to our familiarity, but we also back all of the major brands of line because they are all quality as long as the angler always is fishing with "fresh" line. Tracy from Blackwater sent us some 130lb Flourocarbon top shots that seemed to be "coincidentally" getting more then its share of bites and although relatively new, we're sure it will work fine because everything they make is of the highest quality.
When it comes to connections, every boat has a little different method. Because we are talking about the big gear we will only talk about the big line connections. The 30 turn Albright connection is good with the right guides, the loop to loop connection, or the traditional splice finished with a crimp, overhand knot or whipped, are all accepted methods.. Our guys on the AA use the Sato crimp stlye exclusively bonding the 200lb hollow core spectra with 130lb monofiliment.
For those of you riding with us, this is done for a nominal charge because we are not in the tackle selling business, we only want to have our guys prepared for the bite of their dreams.
Like all different aspects of gear, there are many high quality rods on the market. Cal Star, Seeker and Loomis are some of the many fine rods that are available. These rods should be 6 to 6 1/2 feet with high quality rollers. Our personal favorite is an old style, all glass 6 1/2 foot rod although we have been seeing more graphite, graphite composite rods on the rig and they have been doing the job. The longer rod helps keep the line away from the boat on the tuna's inside part of the circle and the longer rod also provides a little more shock absorption in the modern-time-shorter-topshot era.
When it comes to hooks, all of us are in agreement that there is not the perfect hook. Like connections when each hook is under this extreme amount of pressure no one is foolproof. The Eagle Claw 2004 and 2005 in the 8/0 and 9/0 version, Owner super mutu in 6/0 and 7/0, Hayabusa magnum 6/0-8/0,and some of the tuna hooks designed for big fish by Mustad are the hooks we most commonly see. All these types are fine although no hook is foolproof as some bend and some break under the extreme pressure. A pulled hook is not a reason to throw a certain brand away or quit fishing - it is simply bad luck so keep a good attitude and stay away from Vegas.
The most commonly forgot item that is left behind is the proper state of mind. Booking a 10 day trip only under the premise of catching big fish might leave you disappointed. Remembering that it is a fishing vacation should be first and foremost because we all are here because we love to fish. Having a down attitude because of a lost fish or lack of bites might start a snowball effect, so having a good positive attitude equals more bites. Keeping things in perspective can be very tough because there is so much media around a 200lber, it sometimes leaves the beautiful hundred pound class fish unappreciated.
An open mind is the most important part of any angler's arsenal. The crew members that work on these boats are here because they love to fish. The personal self gratification of helping an angler land a personal best is definitely another important reason. As an angler, it would be wise to use this resource as it is available on the decks of all the boats during the two day travel down to the grounds, so ask questions!
If you are coming out on a future trip or just thinking about it, and the thought of the overall expense seems intimidating , don't buy anything..On the AA we have loaner rods available for the cost of line. Therefore you can come test the waters and see if you like this style of fishing and get your own "hands on" experience and what kind of tackle is for you. Also don't worry about a kite rod because on the boat we always have at least five of them ready to go.
I am writing this on our first evening of travel up from the grounds listening to the day's final fishing reports. My old roommate Randy on the Star reported in with 10 fish out of his final drift, 6 of which weighed over two with one over three.
He also said that they had several other "heavy, like they were hooked to the bottom" type giants hooked that they lost where the 250's that were landed were small in comparison.
Hoping This Clears Some Tackle Questions Up,
" Hook em and Cook em...........Death from Above."
Wow, great post. A must read for those going on thier first hunt for giants and a heart pounding reminder of days of unexplainable excitement in the past for those of us fortunate enough to pull on cows before.
Sure hope they hang around for my christmas trip with my son. This has been a year of many fishing firsts for him. Even the possibility of cows on his first 10 day would be special. I will definately have him read your incredible summary of what to expect.
The spectra to spectra connection is 100% percent and almost unnoticable. The 200lb spectra is for abrasion resistance and that extra margin of error when your drag is hammered with the fish at deep color...
The cuff connection from spectra to Mono is 100% if crimped and glued or served and glued..
__________________ Retired and living in a free state.
"If you have 130lb spectra please do not take it off, as a length of 200lb can be spliced on top."
Dumb question, what's the point of this? Isn't the weakest length still the 130# spectra and mono? And now you have two more connections to worry about...
what ifishnxs said
that 200 lb helps mentally, make a little mark where the 200 lb starts, with a sharpie, once you get 3 or 4 good wraps on the reel you get that "Youre Done" mentality and really stop being timid with it.
One of my 130-200 conections has a short serving of 30lb red JB at the point where the Spectra tucks into each other to let me know where the splice is. The other two 50's have a section of yellow JB 130 spliced in before the white 200.