Offshore 6/11 Bluefin Report + Lessons Learned

ryanhead

Almost A Member
Oct 19, 2009
161
1,046
San Diego, CA
Name
Ryan
Boat
24' Skipjack Flybridge
After failing to catch a big bluefin on at least 20 trips over 5 years, we finally put one in the boat. I never touched the rod, but after this experience I really understand that landing a big bluefin on a private boat is such a team effort that everyone deserves a lot of credit. As far as I can tell, landing a fish this size solo isn't in the realm of possibility. After the report, I put in some lessons learned and how-to's for big bluefin fishing. I'm certainly not an expert and I'm sure many of you have more to contribute, but I'll point out some things that I wish I had been told before I started this adventure and hopefully some of you who have more experience can add to it.

fish.jpg


We wanted to make sure we didn't miss an early morning bite so we launched at 0130, baited up and caught some macs and got to upper hidden at gray light. We wandered south toward lower hidden but there were no marks, no birds, no paddies and we were dead tired. By 1000, there were boats everywhere and everyone was striking out except for few paddy yellows and a lone yellowfin that our buddy boat got on the troll. We decided to nap for a while and hoped the bite would pick up in the afternoon so we moved into a random spot between upper and lower hidden without any boats in sight, shut the engine down, and fell asleep. My buddy woke me up after an hour saying that someone on the radio called in a 250# fish several miles west of us. I looked at the sonar and there were marks under us, so we started a steady chumline of sardine chunks and the marks became pretty consistent. I think being shutdown away from traffic for such a long time made the fish less wary of our boat. We put the frozen flyer up under a balloon and 30 minutes later we were bit. We called in our buddy boat and they landed a nice fish too, also on a frozen flyer, about 1/2 mile away. Unfortunately it's very hard to hide a balloon going down and the chaos of 3 guys dragging a massive fish into a small boat so we were quickly surrounded by 20 boats and our nice sonar marks completely disappeared. The stupidity was incredible. As we were putting our balloon back out, some guy parks his boat 100 yards directly downwind of us, right where our balloon is heading. He then proceeds to launch his own balloon so it's not that he didn't know what we were doing. We gave up on that spot, quietly idled a mile away from the crowd that had formed, put the balloon back up with a steady stream of chum and got bit again after 30 minutes. This was a much bigger fish based on how much drag it was taking, but the hooks pulled. I think every boat would have caught a few fish if we had all quietly spread out at least a mile apart from each other. The crowd started heading home and few boats thought it would be a good idea to pass by our balloon at full throttle and several others buzzed our boat on the upwind side where we were long-soaking baits. I yelled and waved at a few of them because they were dangerously close to running over a flyer on a bobber and getting a bunch of 200# braid wrapped around their prop, but they just waved back. Again, the stupidity was incredible. No one vigorously waves "hello" to strangers for an extended period of time. On the way home, we ran into yellowfin several miles SW of south island. They were 10-15# and it looked like they were eating microbait. We chummed hard and threw small jigs at them for nothing.

371, 425 and 43 were reported to be dead. 302 had some paddy yellows and a few bluefin in the afternoon. Coronados sounded ok but the seals were bad. Someone called out some yellowfin and a dorado on the North 9 in 66 degree water. When we came across the 9 in the morning I was saw an odd sonar signature that looked like an intense thermocline so maybe there's something funny going on down deep that there would be dorado up in US waters this early?

It seems to me that the bluefin and yellowfin are wandering a massive section of water from ~10 miles below lower hidden up to the 371/425, as far east as the color break and up to several miles west of the 371. They're not hugging any breaks and they're sitting pretty deep so they're hard to locate. Maybe we just got lucky setting up with no marks, but I think if everyone just setup in that zone, spaced pretty far apart and chumming steadily, we would all have a nice steady bite going. This is very different than last year when there were massive schools of fish and a bunch of boats could work one school and all get bit. The sonar marks we saw were primarily 1 or 2 fish, sometimes we'd see 3 or 4, but never more than that. If I went tomorrow, I'd get below upper hidden, skip a yummy for a few miles, but if we didn't see any marks, I'd shutdown, put up the flyer, throw sardine chunks every minute or so and wait for the fish to come to me.

Lessons Learned and How-To's

Rods and Reels
: Until last week, I was using a Fathom 60 with 100# braid on an off-brand 50-80# roller rod. I loaned it to a friend who hooked a big fish and the rod snapped 2 hours into the fight and he said that he almost got spooled several times. On this trip, my friend brought his Avet EXW50/2 on an Okuma PCH XXXXH and we got our fish to the boat in less than 10 minutes, maybe closer to 5 minutes. It was nice knowing that we would never run out of line or have to use our thumbs to get more drag. Also, I used to think it was stupid to use a long rod, even if you could use the rail, but if you have a soft 5' roller rod hanging over the side of the boat like a wet noodle, it's impossible to keep the line from chafing on the hull and you'd never get the rod around a swim step or outboard if the fish were directly under the boat. At 40# of drag, you have very little control over the rod and having a longer rod helps keep you out of trouble. I ended up buying an Avet EX50/2 with a Graftech Railrod for $580 out the door, which is more than I wanted to spend on a setup, but not unreasonable. If you're into long fights, a Fathom 60 on a cheap rod could get the job done apparently, but I'm very happy with the Avet EX on a railrod so I'm not worried about my choice of setup while trying to get my first few big fish.

Flying Fish: They are surprisingly hardy and can be slightly thawed and refrozen without significantly damaging them. You can use them for a surprisingly long time too. On one trip, we used a flyer for a few hours, came back to dock, gave it to our friends who used it the next day and they got bit on it more than 24 hours after we had originally thawed and rigged it. If you come back to dock with a flyer that didn't get bit, give it to someone who's going out. The Karma flyers seemed to be handled better than the G-fly flyers as the wings on the G-fly flyers were pretty beat up. Karma flyers were also cheaper than G-fly: $28/each for Karma, $110 for 3-pack of G-fly. From my very limited experience, it seems like you should bring 6 flyers on a trip, but don't thaw them until you need them. It only takes about 3 minutes to thaw a frozen flyer for rigging because you only have to thaw the wings to spread them out.

Flyer Rigging: I've seen several methods of rigging flyers, but so I bought all sorts of rigging floss, doll needles, staples, aluminum wire, chopsticks, coat hangers, etc., but I found out that 6" pointed bamboo skewers and bit of pipe cleaner from an arts and crafts kit was both easy and effective. The bamboo skewers are stiff and sharp enough to pierce a 90% frozen flyer and are the perfect length. I then use two 1" sections of pipe cleaner to secure the wings to the skewer. The metal core of the pipe cleaner is sharp so it punctures the wing membrane without a needle and is quick and easy to secure onto the skewer. It takes less than 30 seconds to rig a flyer like this and you really can't screw it up, even on a rocking boat. Zip ties were helpful for securing the stinger, but the 4" ties were not long enough to get around the flyer so I had to connect 2 of them. Longer zip ties would be fine, but I like the narrow width of the 4" ties.

flyer.jpg


Hooks and Leaders: I bought 10/0 big game hooks and 5x 5/0 trebles on ebay for around $1.50 each. The big game hooks weren't very sharp so I put new points on them with a dremel. I used 300# mono ($18 with crimps and chafe sleeves included) and crimping pliers ($22). I spent 2 hours practicing tying knots with the 300# mono and can do it quickly and consistently now, though I need pliers to cinch the knot properly. I previously thought it would be impossible, but a 6-turn san diego jam knot in 300# mono is very easy with practice. I put a 5' leader from a big swivel to a big game hook with both ends secured by san diego jam knots. I then crimp a 12" section of line between the eye of the big game hook and a 5/0 treble stinger. I have not had good experiences with crimps so I tried to tie the stinger to the main hook but it's nearly impossible. Here's my logic for feeling ok about my rookie crimping skills: The drag is set to 50# max on a full spool, and at 1/2 spool capacity there would be 100# of tension on the main line. The crimp is holding both ends of a loop, so the worst-case tension in either side of the loop is only 50#, which is only 17% of the 300# leader's rated strength. If I use a long crimp, I can crimp it three times along it's length and only one of those three crimps has to hold for the crimp to be successful. Is it reasonable that 1 out of every 3 crimps can hold 17% of rated strength, even if you're really bad at crimping? I think so. So even if you've never tried it before, give it shot. I hear the rigs being sold at the landings and shops are pretty expensive but it only costs me $4 in consumables to make one.

harness.jpg


Helium Balloons: From reviews, it seems like the one-time use helium tanks that you buy at Target and Walmart contain diluted helium that will barely make a balloon float and cost $60 for a tank that will only fill 1 fishing balloon. I looked into refillable aluminum tanks but they were pretty expensive and helium refills were around $175-$200 for a 60 cu ft tank. I was also told to only buy aluminum tanks because steel tanks would corrode. I did some research and called around and found a place that sold me a 60 cu ft aluminum tank for $220 with $55 fills. The balloon filling regulator was $45 without a gauge or $80 with a gauge, but I was told to not buy a regulator with a gauge on it because the gauge would inevitably break when used on a boat. I bought 36" balloons and filled them to about 30" and that was enough to hold a flyer up. I managed to fill 6 balloons on one tank. I bought some fancy Tigress fishing balloons for $8/each, but I bought some from a party shop for $2.50/each and they work just fine. Light colored balloons are best because dark balloons will absorb more solar radiation which makes them more prone to popping. If you don't think solar radiation will pop a balloon, fill some ballons with air and glitter, tape them to windows inside your house and leave them there for a few days. Ask me how I know... I also bought balloon clips, which are really cool. You don't have to tie the balloon, you just put on a removeable plastic clip so that you have the option to remove the clip and add helium if the balloon isn't big enough. The clips are really cheap and they don't leak at all. Basically, it cost me $260 up front for the tank and regulator, but each time I use a balloon it costs less than $12, which isn't too bad in my opinion.

clips.jpg


Gaffs: It was really awesome getting a big fish to the boat in 5 minutes, but that fish came in HOT and gaffing was a mess. I've watched a lot of videos and thought I knew what I was getting into, but I was very wrong. I think I did everything right: we laid the fish out, I gaffed it in the top of the head, dropped to my knees and pulled it toward the boat keeping the fish's head out of the water and pointed at me so it could only swim toward me. Even on my knees with the fish pointed at me, I almost got pulled out of the boat and it managed to rip a 5" gaff hook out of its head, which then got tangled in the line. I ended up throwing the gaff overboard when the fish took line but we got it back. Thankfully we had 2 more gaffs onboard as backup. We had to put all three gaffs in the head and throw on a tailrope to get it into the boat. My gaffs have been fine for landing the 20-50# fish that we consistently catch around here, but they are NOT big enough to handle these big fish. If you don't get a bigger gaff, at least bring 3-4 normal gaffs. No matter how big your gaffs are, you need at least 2 because odds are that you'll have to reposition the gaffs to get the fish in the boat, so you'll need to keep one gaff in the fish while you reposition the other.

Hopefully this info is helpful for anyone else struggling to get their first big bluefin. Any of you big bluefin experts want to chime in? I'd especially love to hear some thoughts on gaffing techniques.
 
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Wandering Blues

I Should Upgrade My Account
Oct 19, 2008
1,579
2,146
The Land of Entrapment
Name
Curtis
Boat
A Pair of Simms G3 Waders
First and foremost, congrats on getting the big ones! Second, really nice write up regarding your gear, rigging, etc. A good read.
 
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Spoons

USCG Master
Oct 21, 2004
1,474
975
San Diego/SF Bay
Name
Capt. Erik
Boat
21' Center Console
Good read. Thanks for spending the time to put it together!
 
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SouthBayKiller

I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
Mar 27, 2003
7,662
8,214
40
Formerly Long Beach, now Fort Lauderdale area
Name
Robert
Boat
none
Awesome fish and great write up. A couple minor critiques:

Get the point of that hook out of the flyer. No need to hide it. Lots of ways to skin that cat but hiding the point is going to lead to missed bites.

Work on those crimps. Make sure you use the right size crimp. Slide the crimp and the spring on put the other end through the crimp. If the line has any burs or marks from your pliers on it and it fits in the crimp easy with them, your crimp might be too big. It should be a a very snug fit. Measure the line and once you are ready melt a ball into the end, let it cool and pull it snug and crimp there. That ball will not pass back through a crimp. It’s amazing how hard you can pull on that uncrimped connection, so you are 100% confident in it when it’s crimped down it will not slip.
On the long crimps I crimp the middle first on one side then turn it over and crimp the edges from the other direction next. Make sure to not crimp too close to the edge of the crimp, roughly a 1/16” off and you don’t need to hammer down the crimper, just nice and tight but not extreme squeeze.
Use the crimps and springs for the whole rig.
 
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woodfish330

I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Aug 14, 2012
    1,633
    3,584
    San Fransisco,CA USA
    Name
    John
    Boat
    Fishead
    Brother..... that's a whole load of GREAT info and proper techniques..... Along with those pics and your report. Congrats to you and your crew members.

    Brutal honesty about what worked and your reasoning will certainly help your BD Brothers. Thanks for sharing. So now you know the."old guys" secret.... take a nap before catching your big fish....lol.

    Be safe out there.
     
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    pacificscout

    Hey! You got any frozen ice?
  • Jul 28, 2012
    5,776
    5,499
    Fullerton
    Name
    Wally
    Boat
    16ft Scout EMBUSTERO
    I enjoyed that read and story.
    Learned a lot so if I ever am in that scenario, I will have some basic knowledge to apply. 👍
     
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    Weekend Bender

    Keeping it clean
    Aug 28, 2008
    135
    256
    Laguna Hills Ca.
    Name
    Chris
    Boat
    N/A Just the gear
    Although I'm no stranger to fishing for these a few times a year with a handful of buddies and their boats, it's so awesome to see someone sharing what they know and especially.....when we all know much time and money go into it. Really cool!

    Good on you to share all your cool secrets tips and tricks and helpful hints, congrats on the big fish! So awesome you spent the time to share, thank you. Catching Big Bluefin Budget Style is pretty cool.

    Again, thanks for the great write up. Always appreciate people like yourself. That"s how it's supposed to be done on this site. :appl:
     
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    fsh4calico

    Paralabrax clathratus
    Oct 31, 2004
    108
    165
    Torrance, Ca
    Name
    Pete
    Boat
    Long Range, Float Tube
    After failing to catch a big bluefin on at least 20 trips over 5 years, we finally put one in the boat. I never touched the rod, but after this experience I really understand that landing a big bluefin on a private boat is such a team effort that everyone deserves a lot of credit. As far as I can tell, landing a fish this size solo isn't in the realm of possibility. After the report, I put in some lessons learned and how-to's for big bluefin fishing. I'm certainly not an expert and I'm sure many of you have more to contribute, but I'll point out some things that I wish I had been told before I started this adventure and hopefully some of you who have more experience can add to it.

    View attachment 1156216

    We wanted to make sure we didn't miss an early morning bite so we launched at 0130, baited up and caught some macs and got to upper hidden at gray light. We wandered south toward lower hidden but there were no marks, no birds, no paddies and we were dead tired. By 1000, there were boats everywhere and everyone was striking out except for few paddy yellows and a lone yellowfin that our buddy boat got on the troll. We decided to nap for a while and hoped the bite would pick up in the afternoon so we moved into a random spot between upper and lower hidden without any boats in sight, shut the engine down, and fell asleep. My buddy woke me up after an hour saying that someone on the radio called in a 250# fish several miles west of us. I looked at the sonar and there were marks under us, so we started a steady chumline of sardine chunks and the marks became pretty consistent. I think being shutdown away from traffic for such a long time made the fish less wary of our boat. We put the frozen flyer up under a balloon and 30 minutes later we were bit. We called in our buddy boat and they landed a nice fish too, also on a frozen flyer, about 1/2 mile away. Unfortunately it's very hard to hide a balloon going down and the chaos of 3 guys dragging a massive fish into a small boat so we were quickly surrounded by 20 boats and our nice sonar marks completely disappeared. The stupidity was incredible. As we were putting our balloon back out, some guy parks his boat 100 yards directly downwind of us, right where our balloon is heading. He then proceeds to launch his own balloon so it's not that he didn't know what we were doing. We gave up on that spot, quietly idled a mile away from the crowd that had formed, put the balloon back up with a steady stream of chum and got bit again after 30 minutes. This was a much bigger fish based on how much drag it was taking, but the hooks pulled. I think every boat would have caught a few fish if we had all quietly spread out at least a mile apart from each other. The crowd started heading home and few boats thought it would be a good idea to pass by our balloon at full throttle and several others buzzed our boat on the upwind side where we were long-soaking baits. I yelled and waved at a few of them because they were dangerously close to running over a flyer on a bobber and getting a bunch of 200# braid wrapped around their prop, but they just waved back. Again, the stupidity was incredible. No one vigorously waves "hello" to strangers for an extended period of time. On the way home, we ran into yellowfin several miles SW of south island. They were 10-15# and it looked like they were eating microbait. We chummed hard and threw small jigs at them for nothing.

    371, 425 and 43 were reported to be dead. 302 had some paddy yellows and a few bluefin in the afternoon. Coronados sounded ok but the seals were bad. Someone called out some yellowfin and a dorado on the North 9 in 66 degree water. When we came across the 9 in the morning I was saw an odd sonar signature that looked like an intense thermocline so maybe there's something funny going on down deep that there would be dorado up in US waters this early?

    It seems to me that the bluefin and yellowfin are wandering a massive section of water from ~10 miles below lower hidden up to the 371/425, as far east as the color break and up to several miles west of the 371. They're not hugging any breaks and they're sitting pretty deep so they're hard to locate. Maybe we just got lucky setting up with no marks, but I think if everyone just setup in that zone, spaced pretty far apart and chumming steadily, we would all have a nice steady bite going. This is very different than last year when there were massive schools of fish and a bunch of boats could work one school and all get bit. The sonar marks we saw were primarily 1 or 2 fish, sometimes we'd see 3 or 4, but never more than that. If I went tomorrow, I'd get below upper hidden, skip a yummy for a few miles, but if we didn't see any marks, I'd shutdown, put up the flyer, throw sardine chunks every minute or so and wait for the fish to come to me.

    Lessons Learned and How-To's

    Rods and Reels
    : Until last week, I was using a Fathom 60 with 100# braid on an off-brand 50-80# roller rod. I loaned it to a friend who hooked a big fish and the rod snapped 2 hours into the fight and he said that he almost got spooled several times. On this trip, my friend brought his Avet EXW50/2 on an Okuma PCH XXXXH and we got our fish to the boat in less than 10 minutes, maybe closer to 5 minutes. It was nice knowing that we would never run out of line or have to use our thumbs to get more drag. Also, I used to think it was stupid to use a long rod, even if you could use the rail, but if you have a soft 5' roller rod hanging over the side of the boat like a wet noodle, it's impossible to keep the line from chafing on the hull and you'd never get the rod around a swim step or outboard if the fish were directly under the boat. At 40# of drag, you have very little control over the rod and having a longer rod helps keep you out of trouble. I ended up buying an Avet EX50/2 with a Graftech Railrod for $580 out the door, which is more than I wanted to spend on a setup, but not unreasonable. If you're into long fights, a Fathom 60 on a cheap rod could get the job done apparently, but I'm very happy with the Avet EX on a railrod so I'm not worried about my choice of setup while trying to get my first few big fish.

    Flying Fish: They are surprisingly hardy and can be slightly thawed and refrozen without significantly damaging them. You can use them for a surprisingly long time too. On one trip, we used a flyer for a few hours, came back to dock, gave it to our friends who used it the next day and they got bit on it more than 24 hours after we had originally thawed and rigged it. If you come back to dock with a flyer that didn't get bit, give it to someone who's going out. The Karma flyers seemed to be handled better than the G-fly flyers as the wings on the G-fly flyers were pretty beat up. Karma flyers were also cheaper than G-fly: $28/each for Karma, $110 for 3-pack of G-fly. From my very limited experience, it seems like you should bring 6 flyers on a trip, but don't thaw them until you need them. It only takes about 3 minutes to thaw a frozen flyer for rigging because you only have to thaw the wings to spread them out.

    Flyer Rigging: I've seen several methods of rigging flyers, but so I bought all sorts of rigging floss, doll needles, staples, aluminum wire, chopsticks, coat hangers, etc., but I found out that 6" pointed bamboo skewers and bit of pipe cleaner from an arts and crafts kit was both easy and effective. The bamboo skewers are stiff and sharp enough to pierce a 90% frozen flyer and are the perfect length. I then use two 1" sections of pipe cleaner to secure the wings to the skewer. The metal core of the pipe cleaner is sharp so it punctures the wing membrane without a needle and is quick and easy to secure onto the skewer. It takes less than 30 seconds to rig a flyer like this and you really can't screw it up, even on a rocking boat. Zip ties were helpful for securing the stinger, but the 4" ties were not long enough to get around the flyer so I had to connect 2 of them. Longer zip ties would be fine, but I like the narrow width of the 4" ties.

    View attachment 1156217

    Hooks and Leaders: I bought 10/0 big game hooks and 5x 5/0 trebles on ebay for around $1.50 each. The big game hooks weren't very sharp so I put new points on them with a dremel. I used 300# mono ($18 with crimps and chafe sleeves included) and crimping pliers ($22). I spent 2 hours practicing tying knots with the 300# mono and can do it quickly and consistently now, though I need pliers to cinch the knot properly. I previously thought it would be impossible, but a 6-turn san diego jam knot in 300# mono is very easy with practice. I put a 5' leader from a big swivel to a big game hook with both ends secured by san diego jam knots. I then crimp a 12" section of line between the eye of the big game hook and a 5/0 treble stinger. I have not had good experiences with crimps so I tried to tie the stinger to the main hook but it's nearly impossible. Here's my logic for feeling ok about my rookie crimping skills: The drag is set to 50# max on a full spool, and at 1/2 spool capacity there would be 100# of tension on the main line. The crimp is holding both ends of a loop, so the worst-case tension in either side of the loop is only 50#, which is only 17% of the 300# leader's rated strength. If I use a long crimp, I can crimp it three times along it's length and only one of those three crimps has to hold for the crimp to be successful. Is it reasonable that 1 out of every 3 crimps can hold 17% of rated strength, even if you're really bad at crimping? I think so. So even if you've never tried it before, give it shot. I hear the rigs being sold at the landings and shops are pretty expensive but it only costs me $4 in consumables to make one.

    View attachment 1156218

    Helium Balloons: From reviews, it seems like the one-time use helium tanks that you buy at Target and Walmart contain diluted helium that will barely make a balloon float and cost $60 for a tank that will only fill 1 fishing balloon. I looked into refillable aluminum tanks but they were pretty expensive and helium refills were around $175-$200 for a 60 cu ft tank. I was also told to only buy aluminum tanks because steel tanks would corrode. I did some research and called around and found a place that sold me a 60 cu ft aluminum tank for $220 with $55 fills. The balloon filling regulator was $45 without a gauge or $80 with a gauge, but I was told to not buy a regulator with a gauge on it because the gauge would inevitably break when used on a boat. I bought 36" balloons and filled them to about 30" and that was enough to hold a flyer up. I managed to fill 6 balloons on one tank. I bought some fancy Tigress fishing balloons for $8/each, but I bought some from a party shop for $2.50/each and they work just fine. Light colored balloons are best because dark balloons will absorb more solar radiation which makes them more prone to popping. If you don't think solar radiation will pop a balloon, fill some ballons with air and glitter, tape them to windows inside your house and leave them there for a few days. Ask me how I know... I also bought balloon clips, which are really cool. You don't have to tie the balloon, you just put on a removeable plastic clip so that you have the option to remove the clip and add helium if the balloon isn't big enough. The clips are really cheap and they don't leak at all. Basically, it cost me $260 up front for the tank and regulator, but each time I use a balloon it costs less than $12, which isn't too bad in my opinion.

    View attachment 1156215

    Gaffs: It was really awesome getting a big fish to the boat in 5 minutes, but that fish came in HOT and gaffing was a mess. I've watched a lot of videos and thought I knew what I was getting into, but I was very wrong. I think I did everything right: we laid the fish out, I gaffed it in the top of the head, dropped to my knees and pulled it toward the boat keeping the fish's head out of the water and pointed at me so it could only swim toward me. Even on my knees with the fish pointed at me, I almost got pulled out of the boat and it managed to rip a 5" gaff hook out of its head, which then got tangled in the line. I ended up throwing the gaff overboard when the fish took line but we got it back. Thankfully we had 2 more gaffs onboard as backup. We had to put all three gaffs in the head and throw on a tailrope to get it into the boat. My gaffs have been fine for landing the 20-50# fish that we consistently catch around here, but they are NOT big enough to handle these big fish. If you don't get a bigger gaff, at least bring 3-4 normal gaffs. No matter how big your gaffs are, you need at least 2 because odds are that you'll have to reposition the gaffs to get the fish in the boat, so you'll need to keep one gaff in the fish while you reposition the other.

    Hopefully this info is helpful for anyone else struggling to get their first big bluefin. Any of you big bluefin experts want to chime in? I'd especially love to hear some thoughts on gaffing techniques.
    Excellent write up. Love the balloon Quickie Clip idea. Gonna look into buying some of those. You might want to invest in a flying gaff. Worked well for us last season.
     
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    getaway

    Member
  • Aug 22, 2008
    295
    269
    jamul
    Name
    jim
    Boat
    23 parker, sea venture
    Great "how to" tips for catching and landing the big boys! You have really done your research and it payed off. I totally agree with getting away from the crowd. That is probably the best tip. Thanks for sharing. I to have seen way too many boats driving under or very close to gallons and kites.........numb skulls!
     
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    MikeyLikesIt

    did you say FISHING ???
    Feb 24, 2003
    10,295
    4,041
    East-a-La-Mesa, baby!
    Name
    starts with an "M".....
    Boat
    #1 boat scrubber - Team Madrugador
    yep, great info! .....and you are absolutely right about it taking TEAMWORK on a private boat to find, bait, fight, and land these giants.

    :appl:
     
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    Mar 20, 2020
    69
    141
    33
    San Diego
    Name
    C
    Boat
    15’ Hobie power skiff
    Great report and amazing write up. Thanks for taking the time to share the info. I heard you guys on 72 working it, and talking, and was rooting for ya!
     
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    hotrail20

    Skiff Life
    May 28, 2006
    4,709
    1,554
    Chino,Ca
    Name
    Leonard
    Boat
    Mine
    Place in OC you can buy 55 cu. Helium tanks that will fill 5/36 inch balloons refills are about 60 bucks tanks certified for 5 years
     
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    Cole418

    Almost A Member
  • Jul 18, 2019
    144
    377
    36
    Encinitas
    Name
    Cole
    Boat
    2018 Parker 2320 - "Reel Busy"
    Congrats on getting your big one and AMAZING write up - super helpful. Thank you.
     
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    surfgoose

    active geezer
  • Jul 29, 2010
    3,260
    5,372
    Long Beach, CA, USA
    Name
    Gary
    Boat
    whichever has the longest bunk
    Congrats on your fish! And thanks mucho for the detailed write-up of the tactics that you found effective. All of us do it slightly differently but it is always good to increase our knowledge.

    And a big HELL YEAH! to your observation that being out away from a parking lot full of boats is a much better way to get a fish! We are humans, and like eagles we are eyesight predators. But we are after a fish that lives down a couple of hundred feet and is swimming twenty miles every hour. Chum falling down into the water column is what will get their attention, not a spider web of boat wakes and noise up on the surface.
     
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    Tom123

    Member
    Jan 31, 2020
    452
    432
    LA
    Name
    Tom
    Boat
    None
    You've done an incredible amount of homework and it all came together as you were finally rewarded for persevering over the years. Great write up that will help others with their own learning curve.

    Too bad about all them donkeys. Loved the part about vigorously waving "hello."
    No fishing for boats.

    You guys found your own fish. Good for you!
     
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