Nice fish. good report. I like to bridal my large flat falls with a 9/0 circle hook.Fished our annual charter on the Cortez with Captain Jim Hughes over the weekend. It was a 2.5 day charter trip (fished Friday and Saturday). I caught this beast on a 250 gram glow-in-the-dark flat fall just before gray light using an Accurate 665H 2-speed reel spooled with 80# braid connected via a San Diego Jam knot (6 turns) to a swivel that is connected to a 2 foot long 130# flouro leader with crimp-ons at both the swivel and the jig end. Keeper hooks upgraded to wire connections instead of factory braid connections.
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It taped out over 140 lbs and weighed in at the processor at 140 lbs after it had been gilled and gutted, so I'll go with 150 lbs (processor estimates 15% loss when gilled and gutted).
I'd like to make a note about flat fall fishing:
I hated it.
Every trip I have been up at the hairy butt crack of dawn and dropped and reeled in endlessly for nada. Never a bump nor a bite. I've seen people get hooked up on them, heard about people getting hooked up on them, but they have never worked for me. I was starting to think the whole thing was a Shimano marketing scam... until Saturday morning.
After about 30 minutes of working the water column between 10 and 15 fathoms I got picked up on the retrieve. Felt like I was snagged, reeled up tiny bit of slack to load the rod and did one quick hook set. Got him right in the lip.
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I almost missed him. It's amazing how hard you can pull on those lips. It was a short fight, thanks to the crew, Kyle and Tanner. They helped me horse him in by keeping the rod on the rail and wouldn't let the fish run down the rail. Kept the fight straight up and down. I barely moved during the 15 minute fight. I feel like if the fight was any longer or if he took me around the boat, I would have pulled the hook.
Post-catch inspection of the jig and leader reveals teeth abrasions about 12" up the leader, 6" up the leader, and teeth marks on the jig. This means he inhaled the lure right away, and took a couple of chomps as I took up the slack and set the hook.
I am seriously considering rigging my Flat Falls with a single hook connected directly to the jig with a split ring or with the keeper hooks attached to the top of the jig. This was pretty close to NOT landing the fish of a lifetime. I'm not really sure what I could have done differently in terms of rigging or setting the hook that would have given me a better hook placement.
Anyways, I hope this post helps others better understand how to target and fight these fish. Have the right gear along with the right crew and you have a fighting chance! And there's that thing about persistence because it is bluefin fishing after all...
I made a conscious decision to wear black socks on this day. I wore white socks the day before and got skunked, so I wanted to see if the socks would change my luck. I need to go buy some more black socks.
Here are the bite marks on the leader and lure. Shows he inhaled 15" at first. Again, it was on the retrieve so there wasn't much slack in my line when he hit. I started winding and set the hook once pretty much right away. I can see how they could inhale the lure much deeper if it's on the fall and the angler takes a few extra seconds to realized he's bit. This is why these fish get gut hooked. Anyone ever try a wire leader like a Wahoo setup?
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I have only caught tw posto fish over 100lbs with this setup. Nither of them caused damage to the flurocarbon leader. The circle hook does it's job and hooks in the corner of their mouth.What has been your experience rigging that way?
As far as hook up rates, I can't speak to that. Had two chances in two years. Both successful.Thanks, I have found that a single beefed up hook like a 9-0 Jobu will interfere with the action and I like the idea of marlin rigging it, but just didn’t know if it affected the action or decreased hook up rates.