Catching Cows for Noobs...some questions...

SemperFishing

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 26, 2007
589
101
Austin, TX
Name
Dave
Boat
Prefer Long Range or skiffs (great if combined!)
Wassup Dudes! It’s been a while since I’ve posted on hereand Ive been lurking around gathering info from all the questions and postsabout cow fishing. I’m on the Royal Star Braid 15-day this year to fufull a life long dream, catching a Tuna heavier than me. Since I’m only 150 pounds, it should be easy, right? I hope so…

Being my first cow trip and one of the mostimportant lessons from my shorter trips (I’ve done a couple 9s, 8s and 7sprior) that fishing big tuna is a whole different ball game. The devil is inthe details and if you wanna play it right, you gotta have the right techniquesand tactics. Learn as much as you can before you go, because if you’re a slowlearner (like me), learning as the tripgoes along is recipe for lots of lost big fish.

I have a few remaining questions that I posted below.

But before I get to them, Thanks to all the long rangers helping out Noobs with theinfo on BD, it really helps us new guys get into the game. I can't name everyone, but the list included: SactoTuna, RubberHook, WahooDad, Garabaldi, screamingreel, JSR,Fishbone24, Starman, Bill W, fishholc

<font size="3">1. Getting bit and the first 15 mins of hooking and fighting: How long do you Allow the fish to eat a sardine (3 seconds?), what about asalami? ( Sorry this such a mundane question, but the devil is in the details,plus remember, noob here). I read that you then Put into strike and allow the fish to do its initial 2-3 runs,until it &#8220;settles in&#8221; THEN you slam the drag to full and fight. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com
2. But what about the last 50 feet ofthe fight, should you slam the drag home and go for it? Slamming the drag homeand horsing him in seems risky, but when is that appropriate?

<o:p></o:p>
3. Should you crimp or tie knots foryour hooks?

4. What is the preference, Loop to Loop, splice with Nail Knot or Sato Crimp?

5. I really like the idea of a mono shock absorber, (i.e. a 25' monotopshot with a short piece of fluorocarbon for a leader).But what is the connection between Mono andFlouro?

I think I'm set with tackle, gathering off the boards, I have the following (I feel pretty confident with this with the info I got):

Rig 1: 130lb 50W Size <o:p></o:p>

Rig 2: 100lb 50 Size<o:p></o:p>

Rig 3: 100lb 50 or 50W Size (Kite Rig?)<o:p></o:p>

Rig 4: 80lb 30 Size<o:p></o:p>

Rig 5: 80lb 16VSX (? should I just leave this at home?)<o:p></o:p>




<o:p></o:p>

 

wahoodad

Yaddah X3
Apr 27, 2003
5,210
3,239
US/Mexico
Name
Choate
Boat
Highliner
1. Getting bit and the first 15 mins of hooking and fighting:[/B] How long do you Allow the fish to eat a sardine (3 seconds?)
Me, as soon as I feel the bump. Too many times, they can spit it out, or, are running back at the boat. I put the reel in gear (where I put the lever in a minute), and turn the handle in HIGH GEAR (always in high gear), until I physically cannot turn the handle any more.
THAT IS A HOOK SET!
The days of setting the hook by swinging the rod are over IMO.

2. what about asalami? ( Sorry this such a mundane question, but the devil is in the details,plus remember, noob here).
Again, last time I looked, the tuna don't have hands. If it has the bait in it's mouth, sardine or salami, I'm winding the winder.

3. I read that you then Put into strike and allow the fish to do its initial 2-3 runs,until it “settles in” THEN you slam the drag to full and fight.
No, I don't go to strike. I keep a setting at strike of around 31-33 lbs, but I make a mark on the sideplate with a Sharpie where the lever is when I have about 25 pounds. THAT is where I go on initial bite.

4. But what about the last 50 feet ofthe fight, should you slam the drag home and go for it? Slamming the drag homeand horsing him in seems risky, but when is that appropriate?
I don't necessarily go to full. I go past strike, and push it up as I need it. If line falls off the reel from the weight of the fish, or because of the swell, I inch it up.

5. Should you crimp or tie knots foryour hooks?
Hundred pound and down, tying knots is best, 130 and up, your choice.

6. I really like the idea of a mono shock absorber, 25' monotopshot with a short piece of fluorocarbon for a leader).
It's ok, not necessary, but ok. Remember, you are now introducing more chances of failure.

7.But what is the connection between Mono and Flouro?
Surgeon knot, a swivel with knots at each end.
 
Aug 22, 2008
158
9
mission viejo
Name
paul
Boat
Dreaming
My advice is to go back through this forum and read everything Choate has written about fishing big tuna and apply. Two additional thing I learned from him were to find some open space on the rail and hustle to get your bait in the water, do not just hang in the back shoulder to shoulder with everyone else. My 278 was caught this way. Also keep a sinker in your pocket to drop over the rail at dead times to wind your spectra back on the reel tight.
 

screamingreel

Long Range Fanatic
Jan 14, 2006
2,437
2,828
Hayward CA
longrangesportfishingsandiego.com
Name
Jeff Burroughs
Boat
Long Range and Private
Hello Dave,

Wahoodad's responses are spot-on correct (as usual).

I like using loop to loop for the leader connection, but Sato crimps or inline are also very effective.

Your 5 rigs will be plenty. I suggest you seriously consider the outcome before you use the 16VSX w/80lbs with cows around. I recommend you leave it at home and bring a 50 lbs Wahoo Jig set-up instead. It's your decision...

PM me if you have more questions.

Enjoy your trip and we expect a full report afterwards!

- Jeff
 

ShadowX

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 10, 2010
2,051
2,196
Los Angeles
Name
Alex
Boat
None
You should also get the book called "Getting Bit" from Brandon Hayward. It has lots of good tips on catching all types of fish, especially cows.
 

Sactotuna

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 20, 2005
1,767
136
sacramento
Name
jim
Boat
Royal Star
I'll see you on board!! This is a really good group to fish with.

Re #4, I like to make up topshots with 2 Sato crimps, 2" apart to a 4ft piece of hollow that I can splice on to my main line, sano. We'll have plenty(!) of travel time as long as you've brought Sato crimps (we'll have everything else and all the help you could want).

I like an albright for a fluoro to mono connection, but I strongly prefer straight fluoro.

Things change a little from year to year, but I'd use the 130 for salamis, and have 2 100# rigs for sardines, one rigged for the picky finesse bite of midday. NO 80#. Something in the 50# bomb throwing category, and a dedicated bait catching rig, 40#.

MY GOODNESS, IT'S ONLY 6 WEEKS TO DEPARTURE DAY!!!!!!!! :) :)
 

Steve K

Hey, I'm gettin' bit...
Jan 2, 2005
11,355
6,893
Bishop
Name
Steve
Boat
18' Bayrunner, but I like the American Angler and the Red Rooster III
Rig 1: 150lb 50W Size Salamis

Rig 2: 130lb 50 Size Sardines

Rig 3: 100lb 50 Size Sardimes

Rig 4: 100lb 30 Size Sardines

More like this. What rods are you using? That helps. Just reading Jeff's report from the RP trip that recently returned. Fishing the drift, the kites didn't get bit well. I'd be using the boat's kite outfits. Unless of course you have a spare 50W and an extra big stick for that purpose.
 

Skipjack69

Well-Known "Member"
Aug 2, 2007
80
19
East County
Name
Jake
Boat
n/a
Commit to memory everything Wahoodad included in his reply. Especially the note on drag lever position when bit.

Also with cow fishing it is CRITICAL to keep a positive mindset. You may be hot one day and then go a couple of days without a single bite. Don't get discouraged. Bait presentation will suffer if a fisherman is sporting a negative vibe or is pissed off.

Good luck. Nothing like getting your first cow.
 

stairman

......
May 16, 2009
5,290
3,400
ramona /ca/usa
Name
doug
Boat
yak and lowe duck hunting skiff but they identify as sportfishing crusiers
All I have to add is that if wake up and it is still dark but getting towards morning get your ass out of bed and the galley and go soak a bait.There will be plenty of time to sleep on the way home.You can eat breakfast at home ...you can't hook a cow there.
 

Steve K

Hey, I'm gettin' bit...
Jan 2, 2005
11,355
6,893
Bishop
Name
Steve
Boat
18' Bayrunner, but I like the American Angler and the Red Rooster III
Another good resource for reading material specific to this big fish fishery is the articles compiled by Brandon on this website: http://www.sdlongrange.com/

I'd be going with what Choate has given you and then on the boat, stick with this guy, Jim. ;)
Some good stuff there, especially the offer to help with setting up your topshots.

Let's be sure that we're talking about two connections here.

First, are you going to connect a pre-made wind-on topshot to the spectra on your reel? The answer is yes. Two ways to do this; either loop to loop or with an inline splice. I favor the splice, myself. Personal preference. This is a Spectra to Spectra Connection. We do this on deck when setting up reels and then when changing topshots.

Second is a connection between your mono or fluoro and Spectra. Here's where we sit in the galley and get glue all over our fingers. There are really only three basic methods: Serve, Nail Knots with a Nub, or Sato Crimps. My current method is using up the crimps that I still have plenty of, but riding along with Gary Teraoka on my next trip, I'm going to be converting to the Nail Knot / Nub connection as I run out of crimps for the 100 lb, 130 lb and 150 lb and up. But with Sacto's offer of help, I'd be grabbing a couple of bags of crimps if I were you. ;)

I'll see you on board!! This is a really good group to fish with.

Re #4, I like to make up topshots with 2 Sato crimps, 2" apart to a 4ft piece of hollow that I can splice on to my main line, sano. We'll have plenty(!) of travel time as long as you've brought Sato crimps (we'll have everything else and all the help you could want).

I like an albright for a fluoro to mono connection, but I strongly prefer straight fluoro.

Things change a little from year to year, but I'd use the 130 for salamis, and have 2 100# rigs for sardines, one rigged for the picky finesse bite of midday. NO 80#. Something in the 50# bomb throwing category, and a dedicated bait catching rig, 40#.

MY GOODNESS, IT'S ONLY 6 WEEKS TO DEPARTURE DAY!!!!!!!! :) :)
 

Tim Turis

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 16, 2004
536
966
Atlanta GA
Name
Tim Turis
Boat
n/a
"Also with cow fishing it is CRITICAL to keep a positive mindset. You may be hot one day and then go a couple of days without a single bite. Don't get discouraged. Bait presentation will suffer if a fisherman is sporting a negative vibe or is pissed off".

"All I have to add is that if wake up and it is still dark but getting towards morning get your ass out of bed and the galley and go soak a bait.There will be plenty of time to sleep on the way home.You can eat breakfast at home ...you can't hook a cow there".

^^^^^Two very important good points to keep in mind^^^^^

Sent you a PM.
 

wahoodad

Yaddah X3
Apr 27, 2003
5,210
3,239
US/Mexico
Name
Choate
Boat
Highliner
There's been some great discussion and tips, suggestions on this thread.

But something came to mind in thinking back about the responses. You see, I listen, and still continue to learn. I learned a bunch from Tim Turis and Kenny Cirks, and we haven't even fished for big fish together. I learned from Ralph, I learned from Stas, Rollo, Brian Kiyohara, etc, etc, etc.
Some by watching, some by asking. but point is, to have an open mind, and be a good listener.

If I was taking one of my sons on a trip for cows, I would tell him this. Get some rest the day before. Don't get all drunked up, because it's a travel day. Eat you meals, get your gear ready, and get some rest.

IMO, the very first day of a long trip is VERY important!

This is where you start to spot the trend. Is it a morning bite, catch your own fish your own big bait? Is it a middle of the day finesse flyline sardine trip. Or does it build, then the big ones get on you in the afternoon?
Crew member throwing chunks for hours, yet not one person dedicating any time to chunking!

So, it's a late afternoon thing, little shot in the morning, a lull, then crescendo to a pretty decent plunker for biguns? Get a nap. If your kite turn is coming up, tell them what room your in, and you want your turn. Nothing like being on the kite when it is biting.

As soon as it gets darker in the afternoon, tie on a PL68, and yoyo it a few times.

Pay attention, find the trend, keep rested, as you WILL be making bait most nights.
 

Fish Slapper

I would love to be your Captain for a day!
Jul 30, 2008
1,969
950
Tacoma,Wa
www.markyoungbloodsportfishing.com
Name
Mark
Boat
30 Ft "Pacific Addiction". 26.5 ft Alumaweld Columbia "Turbos Palace"
Howdy, I am on this trip as well and I can honestly say that I do not know anything about rigging for cow tuna so it will be a learning expierence for me as well...lol... see you guys in Jan!

Mark
 

screamingreel

Long Range Fanatic
Jan 14, 2006
2,437
2,828
Hayward CA
longrangesportfishingsandiego.com
Name
Jeff Burroughs
Boat
Long Range and Private
Howdy, I am on this trip as well and I can honestly say that I do not know anything about rigging for cow tuna so it will be a learning expierence for me as well...lol... see you guys in Jan!

Mark
Since Jim (Sactotuna) is on the trip, I would talk to him during the ride down. Jim is a knowledgeable, friendly guy who has fished cows for years. Between him and the crew, you should be prepared regardless of the conditions.

Have a great trip guys! Wish I could go...

- Jeff Burroughs
 

bhayward

Well-Known "Member"
Nov 23, 2006
55
24
san clemente
Name
brandon
Boat
23-foot Parker
You should also get the book called "Getting Bit" from Brandon Hayward. It has lots of good tips on catching all types of fish, especially cows.
I like this advise the best, lol. Although learning how to cast a 30-sized reel might just trump everything else, at least once you get the basics, like understanding drift, bait selection, hook placement based on conditions and the other little nuances.

Here's some recent cow stuff:

On the rush: http://www.wonews.com/Blog.aspx?id=1541&AuthorID=59063&t=Tuna,-tuna,-tuna

Big fish mindset: http://www.wonews.com/Blog.aspx?id=1517&AuthorID=59063&t=The-mindset-for-COWS

Random thoughts before a Rooster trip: http://www.wonews.com/Blog.aspx?id=1536&AuthorID=59063&t=Cow-ramblings

Post Rooster Ramblings: http://www.wonews.com/Blog.aspx?id=1539&AuthorID=59063&t=Back-off-the-Rooster

But please buy the book. I have a mortgage, wife, kid on the way, dog and skiff that needs fuel...

http://www.wonews.com/c-30-books-won-subscriptions.aspx
 

Fishybuzz

fishybuzz
Apr 4, 2003
8,642
8,666
Tucson
Visit site
Name
David Tang
Boat
Intrepid
Nothing against book learning ...but IMO nothing can substitute on the water instruction from knowledgeable crew and fishermen......you have gotten sound advice from some of the best big fish fishermen In the fleet.....you can describe in a book all you want the technique of cow fishing but IMO the real thing is only way you actually learn how to hook, fight and land cow tuna......

If you are lucky enough to have a person like Choater, BillW, Tim or Satcotuna on a trip listen,watch and ask......

Just like sex..books are fine the real deal is way better....lmao


This probably means I won't get a autographed copy....lol

Good luck and keep turning the turner when you hook up...
 

wahoodad

Yaddah X3
Apr 27, 2003
5,210
3,239
US/Mexico
Name
Choate
Boat
Highliner
I don't know Fishy, the older I get, the more I appreciate sex out of a book, magazine or off the Internet:D
 

afraser

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 20, 2008
1,713
1,291
sf, ca
Name
aaron
Boat
NA
1) Getting bit - as Mike Lackey says, tuna don't have hands. They don't really have teeth either, not for chewing anyway. If they have your bait, it is time to set the hook. I personally set the hook, but pushing up the drag just a little bit untill the hook settles into the corner, then I bump up the drag to 25# or so. I like having multiple spots where I know the drag setting, something low, about 1/4 to full, halfway, strike, and finally, full. I almost never get to full.

2) You can alway use your thumb for an additional bit of drag pressure during the last bit of the fight. This allows you to instantly release said pressure if you feel a run.

3) I'd prefer to tie, especially if using ringed hooks. Less metal for fish to see. You aren't likely to pull 67# of drag during a fight, so most of the terminal knots will be just fine, even if they aren't 100%. The leader is for abbraision protection which is why to use 130# on big fish. You'll retie the hook after every fish, so you shouldn't get too much wear on the line to hook connection.

4) Loop to loop. Easy to change, 100%.

5) Forget the mono. Not necessary. Use a rod with a little bend in it and you are better off. Watch your drag. IMHO, using mono just allows the tuna a chance to get its head down more often, due to the stretch, which extends the fight. Any gain from shock absorbtion would be offset by giving more flexibility to the fish. Watched a pro lose a big cow on a trip last week because of the mono to flouro connection.

6) Bring the 16vx, it will get some work unless you are getting straight 250 fish. However, I'd change out the top 250 yds to 100# hollow.



<FONT size=3>1. Getting bit and the first 15 mins of hooking and fighting: How long do you Allow the fish to eat a sardine (3 seconds?), what about asalami? ( Sorry this such a mundane question, but the devil is in the details,plus remember, noob here). I read that you then Put into strike and allow the fish to do its initial 2-3 runs,until it “settles in” THEN you slam the drag to full and fight. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com
2. But what about the last 50 feet ofthe fight, should you slam the drag home and go for it? Slamming the drag homeand horsing him in seems risky, but when is that appropriate?

<o:p></o:p>
3. Should you crimp or tie knots foryour hooks?

4. What is the preference, Loop to Loop, splice with Nail Knot or Sato Crimp?

5. I really like the idea of a mono shock absorber, (i.e. a 25' monotopshot with a short piece of fluorocarbon for a leader).But what is the connection between Mono andFlouro?

I think I'm set with tackle, gathering off the boards, I have the following (I feel pretty confident with this with the info I got):

Rig 1: 130lb 50W Size <o:p></o:p>

Rig 2: 100lb 50 Size<o:p></o:p>

Rig 3: 100lb 50 or 50W Size (Kite Rig?)<o:p></o:p>

Rig 4: 80lb 30 Size<o:p></o:p>

Rig 5: 80lb 16VSX (? should I just leave this at home?)<o:p></o:p>




<o:p></o:p>

 

SemperFishing

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 26, 2007
589
101
Austin, TX
Name
Dave
Boat
Prefer Long Range or skiffs (great if combined!)
Well are least it's a predictable outcome....:rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:
Now thats a thread jack I'd rather not see!

THanks for all the advice gang! I'll def post a report on my return. Lots of great NEW info on the responses, just goes to show, there is A LOT to learn out there.

But as I asked Blake Wasano (10 year deckhand on the Royal Star) one day in San Diego:

Me: So whats the basic SOP on fishing the Cows down there? Do I gotta cast far? Where do I start? Is it like fishing tuna on the drift locally in San Diego? How many leaders should I tie?

Blake: Dude, we'll tie the leaders for you. You pretty much just bait the hook and drop it in the water.

Me: And just let the drift take the bait out?

Blake: Yep

Me: So, its kinda like Sand Bass fishing?

Blake: Pretty much.

:git:I love it! Perhaps I shouldnt over think it!
 

Fishybuzz

fishybuzz
Apr 4, 2003
8,642
8,666
Tucson
Visit site
Name
David Tang
Boat
Intrepid
Now thats a thread jack I'd rather not see!

THanks for all the advice gang! I'll def post a report on my return. Lots of great NEW info on the responses, just goes to show, there is A LOT to learn out there.

But as I asked Blake Wasano (10 year deckhand on the Royal Star) one day in San Diego:

Me: So whats the basic SOP on fishing the Cows down there? Do I gotta cast far? Where do I start? Is it like fishing tuna on the drift locally in San Diego? How many leaders should I tie?


Blake: Dude, we'll tie the leaders for you. You pretty much just bait the hook and drop it in the water.

Me: And just let the drift take the bait out?

Blake: Yep

Me: So, its kinda like Sand Bass fishing?

Blake: Pretty much.

:git:I love it! Perhaps I shouldnt over think it!


The 405# was caught just like that....9/0 super mutu in a sardine dropped over the side.......:hali_olutta:

Sometimes we think too much..... now back to the sex and books...:rofl:
 

brn2fis

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jul 6, 2005
278
9
79
Glendale
Name
Richard Jenkins
Boat
none
Now thats a thread jack I'd rather not see!

THanks for all the advice gang! I'll def post a report on my return. Lots of great NEW info on the responses, just goes to show, there is A LOT to learn out there.

But as I asked Blake Wasano (10 year deckhand on the Royal Star) one day in San Diego:

Me: So whats the basic SOP on fishing the Cows down there? Do I gotta cast far? Where do I start? Is it like fishing tuna on the drift locally in San Diego? How many leaders should I tie?

Blake: Dude, we'll tie the leaders for you. You pretty much just bait the hook and drop it in the water.

Me: And just let the drift take the bait out?

Blake: Yep

Me: So, its kinda like Sand Bass fishing?

Blake: Pretty much.

:git:I love it! Perhaps I shouldnt over think it!
Like you said Captain , this coming from a L/Cpl USMC dont over think. Do what the Wahoodad said.
 

Rodman 28

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jan 11, 2011
641
3
Millbrae Ca
Name
Mark Stephen
# "1" RULE!!! of Long Range Fishing....If you are NOT in the water,you will NOT catch fish!!!...Time at the rail is "Key"....I don't care about breakfest!, I don't care about lunch, I don't care about afternoon snack!...It's all about...."Being at the RAIL"!!!!....I would practice casting the "Cow" outfit you are going to use at home....Easy to cast a 3lb salami....you want to be able to cast a 1/2 lb sardine...you'll have 3-4 days running to Hurricane/Buffer Zone to practice....Practice, Practice, Practice....Big Fish will come.....Will you B READY???!!......Mark
 

Bill W

tunaholic
Jan 12, 2006
5,476
6,921
67
Chino Hills, Ca.
Name
Bill Walsh
Boat
Red Rooster
David has some great advice. Steve K great, and all have some great advice. Mark is right on about casting a sardine. That will get you more fish. Once on the pick it will change your luck in your favor if you can cast, although a soft under hand cast with a back hooked bait will work well too if the birds are bad. A back hooked bait behind the dorsal fin will cause the bait to dive.
Casting the bigger reels takes some time to master. The key is to get the spool to move sooner in the cast. Some have mastered kicking the spool in the cast with your thumb. I have learned to let go of the spool earlier in the cast that other reels to get a jump ahead getting the spool spinning. Your 30 size reel with 100# will work better for this. Salami macks, use 150# on a 50W.
 

screamingreel

Long Range Fanatic
Jan 14, 2006
2,437
2,828
Hayward CA
longrangesportfishingsandiego.com
Name
Jeff Burroughs
Boat
Long Range and Private
Now thats a thread jack I'd rather not see!

THanks for all the advice gang! I'll def post a report on my return. Lots of great NEW info on the responses, just goes to show, there is A LOT to learn out there.

But as I asked Blake Wasano (10 year deckhand on the Royal Star) one day in San Diego:

Me: So whats the basic SOP on fishing the Cows down there? Do I gotta cast far? Where do I start? Is it like fishing tuna on the drift locally in San Diego? How many leaders should I tie?

Blake: Dude, we'll tie the leaders for you. You pretty much just bait the hook and drop it in the water.

Me: And just let the drift take the bait out?

Blake: Yep

Me: So, its kinda like Sand Bass fishing?

Blake: Pretty much.

:git:I love it! Perhaps I shouldnt over think it!
Got Wasano? Blake is a great guy and an excellent fisherman who knows his craft. His advice is absolutely credible. He only fishes long range 200+ days a year! Something to consider...keep it simple.

- Jeff Burroughs