BLUE FIN FLAT FALL ROD AND REEL COMBO

tunanorth

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Dec 4, 2005
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Tunanorth
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What rod and reel combo do you use for fishing flat falls for blue fin tuna?




As the grade of fish gets bigger, the [comparatively] lighter tackle choices of a few years ago become insufficient.
Up until 2020, a Fathom FTH40NLD2-size reel filled with 80 pound braid would easily handle tuna up to 150 pounds, and give you a fighting chance on fish to a bit over 200.
Suddenly 300 pounders became a real possibility on almost any trip, and 400 pounders were proven to be out there.
A fundamental choice becomes necessary as you step-up from the "medium frame" reels.
At minimum these days, an International 16VISX reel filled with 100-pound braid has become "don't leave the dock without it", and can handle 300-plus pounders. One "loaner" 16VISX that lives onboard the Pacifica caught three over 300 this season [biggest 353], though the line capacity will get a bit skinny when encountering those supercow-grade fish.
The 40N-size reels weigh about 27 ounces, and stepping up to a 16VISX moves a bit to 36 ounces.
The larger 20VISX/30VISX models that many anglers are starting to go with are around 51-53 ounces, but in addition to greater line capacity, offer bigger gears, bigger drag surface, better heat dissipation, etc, etc, so you have to decide if the additional weight is justified.
 
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chamackO

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Jun 12, 2003
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Alex
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As the grade of fish gets bigger, the [comparatively] lighter tackle choices of a few years ago become insufficient.
Up until 2020, a Fathom FTH40NLD2-size reel filled with 80 pound braid would easily handle tuna up to 150 pounds, and give you a fighting chance on fish to a bit over 200.
Suddenly 300 pounders became a real possibility on almost any trip, and 400 pounders were proven to be out there.
A fundamental choice becomes necessary as you step-up from the "medium frame" reels.
At minimum these days, an International 16VISX reel filled with 100-pound braid has become "don't leave the dock without it", and can handle 300-plus pounders. One "loaner" 16VISX that lives onboard the Pacifica caught three over 300 this season [biggest 353], though the line capacity will get a bit skinny when encountering those supercow-grade fish.
The 40N-size reels weigh about 27 ounces, and stepping up to a 16VISX moves a bit to 36 ounces.
The larger 20VISX/30VISX models that many anglers are starting to go with are around 51-53 ounces, but in addition to greater line capacity, offer bigger gears, bigger drag surface, better heat dissipation, etc, etc, so you have to decide if the additional weight is justified.

Given that you can rest the rod on the rail, I don't see the advantage of the lighter reels. On the other hand... feel every ounce while fishing the kite.
 
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2Rotten

Live in Oregon/Love to Fish San Diego!
Jan 10, 2010
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Rod Lathrop
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24' North River Seahawk Hardtop "Sun Dog"
Mak 16 SEa with 530 yards of solid 100# braid, 15 yards 100# fluoro to FF bridle. This rig does get a little heavy if you fish it hard for several hours; lately it seems the bites come both on the drop and on the crank; vary the speed of the retrieve. However, with the size of the BFT this past season it feels like the Mak 16/Centaur is a better FF Combo than my lighter 80# rig with a Fathom 40nld2/RGP Terminator.
 
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Justin Joy

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Sep 7, 2019
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I went with visx16 and a 7ft UC Centenar 16 spooled with 700 yards hollow and spliced in a loop.
 
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Scott McPherson

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Aug 17, 2017
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Talica 20 with tib handle. Cal put in a lower gear and dawg. 100 lb solid to the top marked every 100 feet. Calstar 775h with extended fire grip for the rail. This worked for me.
I’d say that if I were buying one especially for flatfall big tuna I think I’d do this.
penn visx 20 130 solid. on a calstar 775xh or xxh or a 2x4. I’d have to pull on them again.
And yes I’d have Cal blue print it too. Not needed but it’s soooo nice.
Happy New Year to all!!!
Regards
Scott
 
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screamingreel

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Jan 14, 2006
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I would bring at least two if not three or four heavy rigs for BFT jigs/bait. You will probably only use two of them, but you never know which two until you are on the water

Calstar GF800XXH & Makaira 15T SEa - 60-80lbs
Calstar GF775XL & Makaira 16 SEa - 80-100lbs
Calstar GF775XXL & Makaira 20 SEa - 100-130lbs
Calstar GF775XXXL & Makaira 50 SEa - 130-200lbs

Use whatever rod & reel equivalents you prefer...

- Jeff Burroughs
 
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bullyo

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Aug 5, 2005
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I will be buying two or three of these type set up's in the next year. I have been told by pretty much everyone (boat owner's, deckies, guys who fish big fish a lot more than I do) to buy a Mak 20 and/or Mak 50. but specifically, not to buy the 30
 
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gettingbentwithbo

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16' Starcraft SF SS
Accurate Valiant 800 2speed
 
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Yellowtail Dan

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  • Apr 10, 2006
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    If it’s a choice of two options I’d go with a Mak or Penn VISX 20 and 50 of the same models. One as a little more finesse for day light and one for in the dark or if the big boys go on the chew in the day time.
     
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    Tedward2020

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    Apr 5, 2020
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    I will be buying two or three of these type set up's in the next year. I have been told by pretty much everyone (boat owner's, deckies, guys who fish big fish a lot more than I do) to buy a Mak 20 and/or Mak 50. but specifically, not to buy the 30
    Just curious why not the 30? I have my 30 paired with a uc viper shud be no problems and 2 mak 16 with uc centaurs...
     
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    FishRock

    Still trying to figure it all out
    Mar 27, 2013
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    Just curious why not the 30? I have my 30 paired with a uc viper shud be no problems and 2 mak 16 with uc centaurs...

    Nothing wrong with a Mak 30. But some folks don't like it because it is a wide Mak 20. It provides a little more line capacity but no increase in drag output. The Mak 20 is a square reel and holds plenty of 100 lb. line with plenty of drag to go with it. If they want a bigger reel they usually jump to the 50 since it not only holds a lot more line but has a lot more drag to fish 130 on a kite or big baits.

    Pretty much the same argument for the 15T over the 15.
     

    Joe-in-MN

    Fishing from 40 below to 120 above..
    Sep 10, 2017
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    Mak or VISX 20 with a Viper or 2x4 , Also used a Mak 16 on a pch xxxh , all filled with 100lb then 15 yards of 130lb mono to a rigged flat fall of your choice.

    I will throw this out there , that PCH held up well when my Mak 16 decided it was going to set its own drag, it went hurky jerky and tighter then hell. Rod held its own no issue landed a 120lber in say 10 mins. But even after that another Viper is next on my list just a beast!!
     
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