Bluefin Techniques and Observations (what worked, what didn’t )

Discussion in 'Fishing Chit Chat' started by Let em eat 74, Oct 24, 2018.

  1. Let em eat 74

    Let em eat 74 Well-Known "Member"

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    I just returned home Monday, October 22nd from a 4.5 day trip where we spent 3 straight days fishing bluefin. Time on the water allowed me to try several different techniques and to also observe what worked for other guys aboard.

    Most of this info won’t be shocking news to anybody, but for information’s sake and those less experienced, I figured I would get it all down in one informative thread.

    FLYLINE SARDINE

    During the daytime we had a couple good shots at fish that responded well to chum and came to play. For our efforts, we hooked 5 fish. Due to most guys going in light (30-40#), we only landed two (one 185lb fish hooked on 80# topshot and one 55# fish that could be handled on the light line). The others simply watched their line disappear into the deep. BUH BYE. Be aware of the size of your quarry and the limitations of your tackle.

    I started the first bite with my typical short topshot (6’ of 40# flouro) and switched quickly to 60# with a longer length topshot of 20’ once I saw the size of the first big fish crashing the chum. In all honesty, I took myself out of the action at the wrong time. Had I gone in heavy off the bat, I had a good chance as two that got spooled happened as I was grabbing a bait for my 60# rig. I will say longer topshots got bit better than short ones for us and hook sizes should be appropriate for the bait. Moral of the story, go in heavy first.

    FLATFALL FISHING

    We hooked 4 fish on the flatfall and only lost one. The lost fish wasn’t the angler’s fault. It was a big fish that went ballistic when the first gaff sunk and got away, sometimes it happens.

    I really believe in the bridled flatfall, and luckily, I took top fish honors with it.

    CF9D6586-F04A-42AC-B4EC-7953CBF60635.jpeg

    My setup is very simple as you can see. It consists of straight 100# spectra to 130# flouro tied with the RP, modified Albright, or John Collins, (whichever name you prefer) and then tied directly to a large 12/0 Hayabusa magnum circle hook. The loop to the jig is just a section of 100# braid tied up and then square knotted on both sides to hook and jig. The jig moves extremely well connected this way, it flutters better than a multiple hook rig, and sinks out much faster. I used the Nomad buffalo in the 300 gram size to further exaggerate this. For those unaware, this jig has a different profile and action, it might be worth a look. I found it to have a sink rate of 100’ in 12 seconds even on the heavy gear. Great for getting down first.

    My rig worked great. The circle found the corner perfectly and my topshot was only slightly dinged up by a tail slap about 5’ from the jig. Take note of this if you are only using spectra to a 3’ bite leader. Spectra doesn’t fare as well here. I use a 10’ leader for a little stretch and for this very reason.

    Did the multiple hook jigs catch fish? They sure did. In one case perhaps better than my own setup as one of the other fish landed was actually snagged by the tail (Not sure my setup would manage that as easily). What I did have was confidence in having a good hookset and the ability to pull as hard as I wanted because of if. My 197# fish came to the boat in just 10 to maybe 15 minutes. I went hard on the drag (#32) as soon as I could and never gave the fish his head. If you can handle heavy drag, do so. Most important thing and a common denominator for us all, we had all marked our spectra at 100’ intervals. When me marked fish at a certain depth, we were in the bite zone as much as possible. Most heavy setups are 2’ from the reel to the stripper guide. If you have not already done it, on your first drop with dry line, count out 50 pulls and make a mark 5” long with a permanent marker, then do it again and again. 400’ proved to be enough for us.

    MY SECRET WEAPON (or so I thought)

    Prior to the trip, I visited my local Ranch 99 market and picked up a half dozen market squid. At 2# a piece and 14”-16” long, I was sure I would be swimming in bluefin steaks for a year. Short story, not a single bite. I really wanted these to work and I tried a few different presentations. I slid one back as we came in on a school first. Noting that it didn’t sink very fast, I changed it up quickly. I slid a 10 ounce torpedo up into the mantle and secured it with first a small hook and later with a piece of wire I use for surface irons. It looked perfect, sank out like a squid would swim...head first towards the bottom, and I tried it several times on schools of fish and during nighttime flatfall operations....nada. Last ditch effort was an all night deal. We were marking fish 20’ from the bottom and flatfalls fished at this range came back clogged with many arrow squid. My answer....super dropper loop. Using a second rig, I tied spectra, to a mono topshot, then to a 3’ 200# chunk leader crimped with a swivel. On the swivel, I tied a 20’ break away to a 16 oz torpedo sinker from light mono. It was dropped down, clicker set, and locked into the trolling straps. It didn’t work either, but not for lack of trying.

    Manage your time wisely, take a nap during the slow times, and work at it hard when you should and your efforts will also come with rewards. I hope this helps you all, but if only one fish comes of it to another lucky guy, I’m glad I spent the time to write it. Tight lines and fair seas.

    E130E700-2050-4314-AD38-8CE3E1EB8E38.jpeg
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2019
    Phi, maguro51, Chicago Pete and 48 others like this.
  2. larry dickson

    larry dickson Member

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    Wow, great write, I am sure it will help others, thanks for sharing
     
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  3. SouthBayKiller

    SouthBayKiller I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Hard to argue with results! Nice work and thanks for the feedback!
     
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  4. sealskinner

    sealskinner Retired Pimp

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    Comprehensive write up.
    Thank you so much for that.
     
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  5. InDeepShip

    InDeepShip Well-Known "Member"

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    Have you tried sticking a glow stick in the Squid Ive heard that is the magic tip
     
  6. loosendrag

    loosendrag Well-Known "Member"

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    Very informative write up.
    Thank you for sharing such valuable info.
     
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  7. graywolf

    graywolf Newbie

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    Thank you for sharing
     
  8. jiggyn

    jiggyn Do you even fish?

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    great read
     
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  9. the_tunaman

    the_tunaman Well-Known "Member"

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    Thanks for sharing. One point made needs emphasis - ALWAYS start heavy on bait stops and then drop as necessary.

    Regarding the market squid - on my last trip (2 3/4 day) a couple of guys brought a few, and two of the guys got fish with them on one of the nights fishing them on sinker rigs. My bunk mate had a few, and gave me one on the last night, and we both fished them for several hours until we headed for the barn... no takers that night. Good plan B, and I like the other presentations that you tried also. Nice thinking outside of the box!
     
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  10. SouthBayKiller

    SouthBayKiller I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Hey Kevin, any luck on balloons or kite baits? Or was it more like stop on mark chum get a quick reaction, hook a few and do it all over again? Heading out on a private boat tomorrow and putting together a game plan now.
     
  11. Let em eat 74

    Let em eat 74 Well-Known "Member"

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    Thanks for the replies guys, I appreciate the positive feelback.

    Robert, from a private boat my game plan would be to skip the flyer or flying fish if you have them while glassing to locate schools. Once you find the school, I would do a couple drop backs and get it well back before chumming with ones and twos. Bait management is a real concern from a private boat so don’t chum heavy until it’s a last ditch effort or if the school is relatively shallow and responsive. I couldn’t do dropbacks from the sportboat because everyone was up my ass and massive tangles ensued, but for you, it should work perfect. Say 60# minimum, 80# better, and slow wind the bait back through the chumline from 200 yards or so. If you are in any kind of crowd, go stealthy as you can, any outside pressure put the fish down fast. Hell, I’ve even pretended to be taking a piss off the back to make others move on before. Good luck man. Hope you kill ‘em
     
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  12. PAULKIM42

    PAULKIM42 Well-Known "Member"

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    Great read thanks for sharing. :hali_olutta:
     
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  13. tunacraze

    tunacraze Well-Known "Member"

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    Great write up Kevin! Very informative for those going out soon. I might have to pull the trigger here on the new moon. Don't give up on the squid if you go again. Dig that bridle setup!
     
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  14. the_tunaman

    the_tunaman Well-Known "Member"

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    We had a couple of hookups last week on the Aztec trip with rigged frozen flyers under the kite, and a couple of misses. Big fish taped out at 248#.

    We had no love trolling the yummy at all, in spite of the volume of fish in the area.
     
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  15. Wandering Blues

    Wandering Blues I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Kevin fishes smart and with a well thought out game plan (and he’s funny as hell). The only things I’d add are to put time on the rail, and that mine and Kevin’s fish both came on a hard retrieve while keeping the flatfall in the metered zone.
     
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  16. Let em eat 74

    Let em eat 74 Well-Known "Member"

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    It was great fishing with you Curtis and those are great points to add. Have you had any of your fish yet? Those things were definitely feeding on squid. Really rich texture and taste and some of the best I’ve ever had. 5 Star did an awesome job as usual.
     
  17. Wandering Blues

    Wandering Blues I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Guess what’s for dinner..
    4C1DFF9A-DD63-47A2-AD2C-D08D0AD67A38.jpeg

    Seared & Crusted with sea salt, pepper, and macadamia. Drizzled with homemade teriyaki, shallots, and fresh ginger. Topped with sunflower micro greens. Carrots and calabacitas carmelized in butter, curry, and my wife’s green chile salmon berry jam.

    CB9DC0AF-1E9B-4DEC-945B-92E27F3389B5.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
    Chicago Pete, jerryl, b-reel and 6 others like this.
  18. bdubs73

    bdubs73 Well-Known "Member"

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    Great info, thanks for taking the time to share your experience. This is the type of stiff I come on here fore, and try to post myself.
     
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  19. Luke

    Luke Uses alot of bait!

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    I look at BDs everyday hoping to find just one “nugget” of information that I can use. This post was a nugget. Thank you.

    Luke
     
  20. 5-20

    5-20 Poseidon Group's Back Up Trident Thrower

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    Again, congrats on the awesome fish and thanks for the great report.

    What knot is that with the fluoro to the hook eye? Looks really clean for #130!
     

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