*Bluefin* FIVE RIGS: Don't leave the dock without them!

tunanorth

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Dec 4, 2005
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Given that long range-grade tuna are now a regular occurrence in local waters, and you never quite know if the next school of tuna you encounter will be 25-pounders, or 250-pounders, what constitutes "local tackle" needs a serious re-boot.
Any time you go out of San Diego, and end up at least 20 miles offshore, just about anything can happen.
For those anglers who don't feel like watching the 90-minute video Captain Art Taylor of the Searcher and I did on this topic recently, here's the list and the basic explanations:


5 RIGS; DON’T LEAVE THE DOCK WITHOUT THEM!

1. 20-25 POUND RIG

Reel- PENN Fathom star drag FTHII15SD or FTHII12SD

Rod- Conventional 7 to 8-feet, rated for 10-25 or 12-30 pound lines. Ex: PENN Carnage III CARWCIII1025C80

Applications- Finesse live bait for school size bluefin & yellowfin tuna

2. 30-POUND RIG

Reel- PENN Torque 2-speed TRQ15LD2, PENN Fathom 2-speed FTH15LD2 or FTH15XNLD2

Rod- Conventional 7 to 8-feet, rated for 15-40 pound lines. Ex: PENN Carnage III CARWCIII1540C80

Applications- All around live bait use for yellowtail, dorado, and finesse live bait tuna to 75 pounds

3. 40-POUND RIG

Reel- PENN Torque 2-speed TRQ25NLD2, PENN Fathom 2-speed FTH30NLD2 or FTH25NLD2

Rod- Conventional 7 to 8-feet, rated for 25-50 or 30-60 pound lines. Ex: PENN Carnage III CARWCIII3060C76

Applications- Live bait use for tuna up to 100 pounds; light & medium jigs for tuna & yellowtail

4. 60-80 POUND RIG

Reel- PENN Torque 2-speed TRQ40NLD2, PENN Fathom 2-speed FTH40NLD2

Rod Conventional 6.5 to 8-feet, rated for 30-80 or 40-100 pound lines. Ex: PENN Carnage III CARWCIII40100C78

Applications- Tuna up to to 175 pounds with live bait and fall-type jigs; yo-yo jigging for yellowtail

5. 80-100 POUND RIG

Reel- PENN International 2-speed 16VISX

Rod- Conventional “Rail Rod” 6.5 to 7.5 feet, rated for 60-130 pound lines. Ex: PENN Carnage III CARWCIII80130C70

Applications- Live bait or fall-type jigs for tuna up to 300 pounds
 
Last edited:
Artois
Artois
Is the fathom 60 ok for 80 lb. I'm in Artois and hard to pay over500 for a once a year trip. Doing back to back3 days on the RR3 in August. Does penn ever sell year old loaner gear

2Rotten

Live in Oregon/Love to Fish San Diego!
Jan 10, 2010
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I'm kinda new at this, but... because of the mixed size schools, I opted for a bit more line capacity, on my 30 and 40# rigs. I use a Torque 25/2 on my 7'6" UC Tilefish Jr for 30# and a Torque 30 on my 8'0" UC Terminator for 40#. I know the spool weight is slightly heavier resulting in more drag on the 'dine, but I like the extra line capacity. I'm right in there with you on the 60/80 and the 100. Heading out on a 4-day in May hope to give these a work-out!
 
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The Right Kind

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  • Jul 9, 2003
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    Given that long range-grade tuna are now a regular occurrence in local waters, and you never quite know if the next school of tuna you encounter will be 25-pounders, or 250-pounders, what constitutes "local tackle" needs a serious re-boot.
    Any time you go out of San Diego, and end up at least 20 miles offshore, just about anything can happen.
    For those anglers who don't feel like watching the 90-minute video Captain Art Taylor of the Searcher and I did on this topic recently, here's the list and the basic explanations:


    5 RIGS; DON’T LEAVE THE DOCK WITHOUT THEM!

    1. 20-25 POUND RIG

    Reel- PENN Fathom star drag FTHII15SD or FTHII12SD

    Rod- Conventional 7 to 8-feet, rated for 10-25 or 12-30 pound lines

    Applications- Finesse live bait for school size bluefin & yellowfin tuna

    2. 30-POUND RIG

    Reel- PENN Torque 2-speed TRQ15LD2, PENN Fathom 2-speed FTH15LD2 or FTH15XNLD2

    Rod- Conventional 7 to 8-feet, rated for 15-40 pound lines

    Applications- All around live bait use for yellowtail, dorado, and finesse live bait tuna to 75 pounds

    3. 40-POUND RIG

    Reel- PENN Torque 2-speed TRQ25NLD2, PENN Fathom 2-speed FTH30NLD2 or FTH25NLD2

    Rod- Conventional 7 to 8-feet, rated for 25-50 or 30-60 pound lines

    Applications- Live bait use for tuna up to 100 pounds; light & medium jigs for tuna & yellowtail

    4. 60-80 POUND RIG

    Reel- PENN Torque 2-speed TRQ40NLD2, PENN Fathom 2-speed FTH40NLD2

    Rod Conventional 6.5 to 8-feet, rated for 30-80 or 40-100 pound lines

    Applications- Tuna up to to 175 pounds with live bait and fall-type jigs; yo-yo jigging for yellowtail

    5. 80-100 POUND RIG

    Reel- PENN International 2-speed 16VISX

    Rod- Conventional “Rail Rod” 6.5 to 7.5 feet, rated for 60-130 pound lines

    Applications- Live bait or fall-type jigs for tuna up to 300 pounds

    50# ?
     
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    tunanorth

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    Dec 4, 2005
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    This is more of a list for "within 150 miles if San Diego". If you really need 50, either #3 or #4 can handle it. Occasionally flylining is best done with 50, but not often enough to dedicate a rig for it.
    On the "Long Range" list, there is an additional rig, designated for 50 pound use with wahoo bombs, etc.
     
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    bob1825

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  • Apr 11, 2007
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    Where does the 12 VISX fit in? I'm planning to use one with a Seeker OSP 1x3 as a 60/80# (mostly 80#) sinker rig set up on my 1.5 next week. I also have a VISX 16 paired with a OSP 2×4 for flat fall fishing. Thanks in advance.
     
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    tunanorth

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    Where does the 12 VISX fit in? I'm planning to use one with a Seeker OSP 1x3 as a 60/80# (mostly 80#) sinker rig set up on my 1.5 next week. I also have a VISX 16 paired with a OSP 2×4 for flat fall fishing. Thanks in advance.



    12VISX is the same line capacity as the 40NLD2's, but the VISX are "heavy frame" vs. TRQ's which are "medium frame".
    Heavy frame reels are just fine for sinker rigs and flatfalls; in particular if you will primarily be using 80-pound topshots.
    Medium frame reels will perform better for flylining and casting jigs, with 60-pound being the "sweet spot" for 40NLD2's.
     
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    bob1825

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  • Apr 11, 2007
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    12VISX is the same line capacity as the 40NLD2's, but the VISX are "heavy frame" vs. TRQ's which are "medium frame".
    Heavy frame reels are just fine for sinker rigs and flatfalls; in particular if you will primarily be using 80-pound topshots.
    Medium frame reels will perform better for flylining and casting jigs, with 60-pound being the "sweet spot" for 40NLD2's.
    Got it, thank you!
     
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    tunanorth

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    Dec 4, 2005
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    Do you have the 90-minute video Captain Art Taylor of the Searcher?


    Yes, its right here on this page.
    Scroll down to the thread titled "VIDEO: Steve Carson and Art Taylor Discuss......"
     
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    stuman

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    This is an unconventional application but Penn Fathom II 25N SDP. We have been using 80 lb spectra to a short 80 lb leader for jigs, poppers and Snipers. The past few weeks we've landed many tuna in the 50-100 lb class while fishing foamers.

    The 4.8:1 gear ratio helps turn the tuna and land them quick. The reel and heavy line shortens the fight and increases our land ratio.
     
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    tunanorth

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    This is an unconventional application but Penn Fathom II 25N SDP. We have been using 80 lb spectra to a short 80 lb leader for jigs, poppers and Snipers. The past few weeks we've landed many tuna in the 50-100 lb class while fishing foamers.

    The 4.8:1 gear ratio helps turn the tuna and land them quick. The reel and heavy line shortens the fight and increases our land ratio.


    Sounds cool!
     
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    NoLDR

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  • Mar 26, 2003
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    20 is questionable IMO as one can always add a floro top to a 30 lb outfit. However the rest are spot on.
     
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    tunanorth

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    20 is questionable IMO as one can always add a floro top to a 30 lb outfit. However the rest are spot on.



    Its not so much the diameter of the last few feet of fluoro, as allowing the bait to swim unfettered with the lightest possible topshot.
    You can actually do pretty well using a couple of feet of 30-pound fluoro attached to a 20-pound topshot [works well if you are getting chewed off].
    Also when using very small hooks, the stiffer rod of a 30-pound rig can cause more hook pulls.
    It is definitely true that you should use judgement before using a very light rig.
    If there is even a chance you might hook something over 50 pounds, leave it in the rack.
    However, when there are finicky 15-35 pounders around the boat, its a very effective tool.
     
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    Psyberjake

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    Mar 25, 2021
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    NA
    Given that long range-grade tuna are now a regular occurrence in local waters, and you never quite know if the next school of tuna you encounter will be 25-pounders, or 250-pounders, what constitutes "local tackle" needs a serious re-boot.
    Any time you go out of San Diego, and end up at least 20 miles offshore, just about anything can happen.
    For those anglers who don't feel like watching the 90-minute video Captain Art Taylor of the Searcher and I did on this topic recently, here's the list and the basic explanations:


    5 RIGS; DON’T LEAVE THE DOCK WITHOUT THEM!

    1. 20-25 POUND RIG

    Reel- PENN Fathom star drag FTHII15SD or FTHII12SD

    Rod- Conventional 7 to 8-feet, rated for 10-25 or 12-30 pound lines. Ex: PENN Carnage III CARWCIII1025C80

    Applications- Finesse live bait for school size bluefin & yellowfin tuna

    2. 30-POUND RIG

    Reel- PENN Torque 2-speed TRQ15LD2, PENN Fathom 2-speed FTH15LD2 or FTH15XNLD2

    Rod- Conventional 7 to 8-feet, rated for 15-40 pound lines. Ex: PENN Carnage III CARWCIII1540C80

    Applications- All around live bait use for yellowtail, dorado, and finesse live bait tuna to 75 pounds

    3. 40-POUND RIG

    Reel- PENN Torque 2-speed TRQ25NLD2, PENN Fathom 2-speed FTH30NLD2 or FTH25NLD2

    Rod- Conventional 7 to 8-feet, rated for 25-50 or 30-60 pound lines. Ex: PENN Carnage III CARWCIII3060C76

    Applications- Live bait use for tuna up to 100 pounds; light & medium jigs for tuna & yellowtail

    4. 60-80 POUND RIG

    Reel- PENN Torque 2-speed TRQ40NLD2, PENN Fathom 2-speed FTH40NLD2

    Rod Conventional 6.5 to 8-feet, rated for 30-80 or 40-100 pound lines. Ex: PENN Carnage III CARWCIII40100C78

    Applications- Tuna up to to 175 pounds with live bait and fall-type jigs; yo-yo jigging for yellowtail

    5. 80-100 POUND RIG

    Reel- PENN International 2-speed 16VISX

    Rod- Conventional “Rail Rod” 6.5 to 7.5 feet, rated for 60-130 pound lines. Ex: PENN Carnage III CARWCIII80130C70

    Applications- Live bait or fall-type jigs for tuna up to 300 pounds
    For the 60-80 and the 80-100 rigs, what strength of braid are you throwing on those reels? Hollow core? Solid? If hollow core, what connection are you using to the topshot?
     
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    tunanorth

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    For the 60-80 and the 80-100 rigs, what strength of braid are you throwing on those reels? Hollow core? Solid? If hollow core, what connection are you using to the topshot?


    On rig #4, 80-pound solid braid.
    I personally use an RP [sometimes glued] joining braid to mono or fluoro.
    On rig #5, go with 100-pound braid.
    Its a personal choice when deciding hollow vs. solid. I prefer solid, and generally tie a Bimini to attach a wind-on.
     
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    Psyberjake

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    Mar 25, 2021
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    On rig #4, 80-pound solid braid.
    I personally use an RP [sometimes glued] joining braid to mono or fluoro.
    On rig #5, go with 100-pound braid.
    Its a personal choice when deciding hollow vs. solid. I prefer solid, and generally tie a Bimini to attach a wind-on.
    Thank you, Steve!

    On Rig #5, assuming we go with a mono wind-on leader for shock absorption, what is the recommended connection to terminal tackle? Watched your YouTube video on the rigs (), and noticed several setups (e.g., crimps, swivels, knots). I'm seeing pre-rigged leaders and assume they are 200-300 lb mono with swivels for the big stuff. How are these connected to the wind-ons?

    Thanks for helping a newbie out!

    Screenshot 2021-11-01 104746.jpg


    Screenshot 2021-11-01 104712.jpg
     
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    Almud

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    If one was going to add a surface iron \ yoyo rig for YT, would the Fathom Star drag 25N 4.8 or 6.1 be preferable? Any other alternatives? I currently use an Okuma Komodo 471 and Avet JX R. Wish Penn or Okuma would make a 500 size baitcaster to compete with Shimano.
     

    tunanorth

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    If one was going to add a surface iron \ yoyo rig for YT, would the Fathom Star drag 25N 4.8 or 6.1 be preferable? Any other alternatives? I currently use an Okuma Komodo 471 and Avet JX R. Wish Penn or Okuma would make a 500 size baitcaster to compete with Shimano.


    Yes, the Fathom 25N star drag is an excellent reel for surface iron or yo-yo jigs for yellowtail.
    Between the 6-1 and 4.8-1 versions, there is of course a lot of debate, but I think if you want it for both techniques, you will do better with the 6-1 model.
     
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    tunanorth

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    Dec 4, 2005
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    Thank you, Steve!

    On Rig #5, assuming we go with a mono wind-on leader for shock absorption, what is the recommended connection to terminal tackle? Watched your YouTube video on the rigs (), and noticed several setups (e.g., crimps, swivels, knots). I'm seeing pre-rigged leaders and assume they are 200-300 lb mono with swivels for the big stuff. How are these connected to the wind-ons?

    Thanks for helping a newbie out!

    View attachment 1330715

    View attachment 1330716


    Oops, sorry I missed this question.
    Many tackle stores offer "custom rigging", or you can buy the gear to do your own crimping.
    A lot of shops are even "pre-rigging" the most popular jigs, so you don't have to wait.
    When tying the wind-on to the swivel, I just use a "Single San Diego" knot. The popular "Double San Diego" is just too bulky in the heavier tests.
    Just be sure to use lots of spit, and make sure your knot [no matter which one] is FIRMLY cinched down.
     
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