The primary rig of choice for the majority of trips you will go on right now is a flyline rig. Whether you are paddy hopping off Dana, down at the 302, or fishing for yellowtail up in the 805 area; fishing 30-pound on a flyline setup is going to be your meat and potatoes presentation.
My standard rig has been the Shimano Tallus 80H (rated 50-100-pound Power Pro), with a 2-speed Avet MXL. The MXL has 300-yards of 65-pound braid on it and then I topshot it with 30-pound mono. Sometimes I may even use 40-pound mono. My initial setup is to tie-on a 3/0 ringed circle with a double San Diego knot. Then I nose hook the bait…pretty basic stuff. It’s been working well for me, but there have been times where I wasn’t getting bit, while others around me were. I notice that for a lot of other anglers on the boat, the immediate reaction is to drop to 20-pound.
While dropping line class is certainly a consideration, it’s not the only thing to do. Here are some other ideas you might want to consider first…
Hooks: Tips on Size, Type and Placement
The reason why I go ringed and double San Diego is because the knot is very strong. It has never failed me. Be it tuna or yellowtail, the knot will withstand the rigors of a fight with these prized adversaries. I like using a ringed hook in this case because the double SD is a big knot and I think ring allows the bait to swim more freely, which usually translates to getting bit better. I’ve been going 3/0 lately because the bait has been bigger.
When the bait is nice and healthy, the extra weight of the ring isn’t an issue. However, as I mentioned in a previous article, the bait hasn’t always been so great this year and that little extra weight could actually make a difference. So what can you do? Well, one of the quickest and easiest things that will change your presentation, is to tie on a different hook.
Try one without a ring. Try a smaller sized hook. Personally, I prefer to use circle hooks for this application because a “corner of mouth” hook set is going to prevent the line from getting chafed by their teeth and breaking off. I really like to use circles when fishing for tuna and dorado. However, if the fish are responding to a different hook placement (butt and shoulder hook are my go to change-ups), I find it easier to use a J style hook.
If I’m still struggling to get bit, and I’ve already taken the ring out of the equation, maybe that double SD is being too restrictive. A Palomar Knot is still a really strong knot, but less bulky. If I’m really getting desperate to get bit, I may even try a Perfection Loop to try and get the action of a ring, without adding the weight.
Fluoro or Not Fluoro?
Fluorocarbon line is great for a couple reasons. One beneficial quality of fluoro is that it is more abrasion resistant than monofilament line. If I am calico fishing in the kelp, the kelp cutter rig (straight braid to a short topshot of Seaguar Fluorocarbon) is my go to setup. Generally though, if I’m fishing mono flyline, I’ll try to avoid going immediately to fluoro because I don’t want to introduce another connection (and thus additional potential point of failure) in the chain. However, as I discovered last weekend, yellowtail fishing in the 805, fluorocarbon made a huge difference in whether or “knot” (pun intended) you get bit. I like to use the Seaguar knot to make the line-to-line connection of mono to the leader.
If you try all of the above and you’re still not getting bit, then dropping line class is your next move.
However, hopefully you now have some other tactics you’ll try first before you do. Also, if you are in the heat of battle, taking time to re-tie may be the kiss of death. When you are fishing offshore, the windows of opportunity can be very small. For this reason, having multiple setups already tied and ready to go is something you are going to want to do if you have them.
Good luck out there.