Offshore 6/11 Bluefin Report + Lessons Learned

PENN

afraser

I Should Upgrade My Account
Apr 20, 2008
1,740
1,367
sf, ca
Name
aaron
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NA
Fantastic! I hope everyone heeds the boat distancing thing. That was a key observation. That combined with chumming. If you are low on helium or just want to save your balloon, you can do it. Pass your line through a ceramic kite ring, rig terminal tackle normally. Then rubber band the ring to the main line. Attach your balloon to ring with a different line going to the balloon. When a fish bites, the rubber band will snap and the ring with your balloon will slide up to your rod tip where you can easily cut the balloon line and save the balloon.
 
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Feb 28, 2016
621
367
sb
Name
Jose Caballero
Boat
"Reveille" 17' arima sea chaser
hey man what an excellent report, thanks for doing it, and congrats on your FISH!! that's a lot of excellent advise and i'm gonna reread it; i especially appreciate the suggestion to stay quiet and dispersed, that jives with my impressions. i got skunked at the hidden that day (i stayed pretty far from other boats, btw) and at the 425 the day before, but you're inspiring me to keep grinding. thanks again
 
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Rimack

Old School
Jun 24, 2011
653
520
Elk Grove
Name
gary
Boat
WORKING ON IT.
Great read, very well done. :appl:
 
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Kman

I Should Upgrade My Account
Apr 7, 2003
1,856
2,436
So Cal
Name
Kurt
Boat
Robalo R180 Trailer Trash
Nice job Ryan. Glad you got your biggun. And great report!

A bud was trolling a Rapala while skipping a Yummy at the 425 yesterday. The Yummy went unmolested, but a 35# YFT latched onto the Rapala.
 
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stuman

Brawndo the thirst mutilator
Sep 18, 2004
1,621
1,455
Oside
Name
stu
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skiff
you'd never get the rod around a swim step or outboard if the fish were directly under the boat.

I have not had good experiences with crimps

Thanks for the great write up. I learned a lot.

You are probably right a long rod is better. But, if you need to go around the motor with a short rod. You could back the drag off and go around the motor.

Here is a great thread on crimping.



 
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John S.

Member
Aug 4, 2008
751
833
Valley Center, CA
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John
Boat
1996 Seaswirl 1850 W/A
Nice write up. Trips are always good if you get on fish and learn from the experience. Very informative. Unfortunately, you will run into dorks on anything that floats. Wait for the kelp paddy bite to really pick up. That is what really brings out a lot of drama. Especially if we get a good run on Dorado.

John
 
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Capt.C.Delany

The only fishing I do is trolling the Internet
  • Jun 22, 2014
    1,431
    1,791
    No Grave But the Sea
    Name
    Hugh Jassole / The Porcelain Punisher
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    Paddy Wagon 24' Skippy
    Fantastic write up! Thank you for sharing.
     
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    yakmandan

    Member
    May 30, 2007
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    AZ.
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    DAN
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    19ft Bayrunner Baja
    Has anyone landed one of these big Bluefin fishing solo
    My last time out I went solo and was scared to death thinking about what is do if I got one to the boat.
     
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    yakmandan

    Member
    May 30, 2007
    758
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    DAN
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    19ft Bayrunner Baja
    I'd love to see something like that on video that would be a blast to watch. I had a bluefin on fishing solo a couple of weeks ago and I panicked.
     
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    m davies

    Newbie
    Jul 21, 2004
    13
    9
    Mission Bay
    Name
    Mike
    Boat
    boston whaler
    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.


    Great info Ryan, thanks for sharing.
     
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    Big Skin

    Member
    Oct 29, 2006
    315
    39
    La Mesa
    www.fishsniffer.com
    Name
    Rick
    Boat
    Grady White Tournament 24 "Get Bent"
    Best post I've seen. Thanks. It's amazing how clueless most of the boaters are out there.
     
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    dtfisherman

    GONE FISHING
    Nov 9, 2015
    231
    655
    San Juan Capistrano
    Name
    Danny
    Boat
    None
    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.

    Where did you get karma flyers for $28? Three packs of G Flyers are $89.99+ tax at Hogan's in Dana Point.
    We're chasing the BFT again on skiffs because of C19. 0-2 this year and 0-10 from 3-4 years ago. First two trips we did well but suffered some technical difficulties; new transducer popped off the bracket(fishing by braille), our buddies boat hydraulics leaked so 3 hour vessel assist wait and 3 hour tow back to the docks for him, 1.5 hour wait with 50+ bumper boats lined up at the bait barge in the wrong direction of the outgoing current... We're hoping the third times the charm :-D
    Ps Leave the aluminum gaffs at home. This one broke on a 225# popper caught fish.
    Pss We have 4 gaffs onboard plus a tail rope.

    DT BROKEN GAFF 225# BFT.jpg
     
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    bdogie1

    Member
  • May 27, 2015
    375
    447
    Name
    Brandon
    Boat
    getsome
    Nice post thank you for the info
     
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