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. 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.