Fighting Harness on Guadalupe tuna

jerryl

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Jul 17, 2011
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Jerry
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Does anyone use fighting harness on Guadalupe tuna? I'm not that adept at using the rail technique, and think I may have more success using a harness. Seems like it would stabilize the reel, and not have so much twist when fighting the fish and cranking. Thoughts?
 

Cubeye

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Jan 26, 2007
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You can always use a combination of the two. That's what I do.
I wear a harness with a butt plate that has a pin. And, of course, the rod has to have a gimbal.

When the fish is on the surface, and way out, you can strap into the harness. When he's vertical, you can use the harness, crew assisted, because you may have to get out of it quickly, or you can simply use the butt plate and rest the rod on the rail. The pin in the butt plate will keep the rod/reel from twisting.

Then when the fish is at deep color you will have to put your rod under your arm pit, rest the rod on the rail, palm the reel to keep it from torquing and crank. The reason for this is because this is the most critical time, and the deckhand may have to quickly grab your rod to avoid any tangles with another person or the boat.

I've used this technique on both long and short rods.
 

mike garrahan

TheSabreGuy
Sep 7, 2007
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la habra hts
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mike garrahan
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I've been on multiple trips the last 3 years and haven't seen anyone use a harness. When you have a fish on down there you often have to move a lot and very quickly. Many times you have 2 or 3 fish circling in the same corner and you are constantly wrapping and unwrapping rods to avoid tangles. Sometimes just a moment of hesitation causes you to lose a nice fish. Many times a deckhand will see a problem and suddenly grab your rod and make a mad dash to the opposite corner to try and get you out of a tangle and it seems like a harness would just cause more problems.
 

Lake

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Mar 31, 2003
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Blaine Lake
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As Mike said, a lot of times you have to move very quickly. Those bigger fish last year were extremely squirrely and I didn't have a time on any of the fish I had on where I could have reasonably used a harness. Guadalupe would be a good time and place to practice and learn to use the rail.
 

fujirose

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Jan 17, 2009
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Roseville, CA
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Jim Fujitani
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21' Seaswirl
I have used a rod belt (but not a harness) and also used the rail while on decent fish at Isla Guadalupe, and I still use short stout rods if the the fish are on the bite. It is easier for me to get my fish past the tax man....
 
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Roadrunner

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Oct 3, 2004
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San Diego
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John Gleaves
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20 foot, Westcoaster, Roadrunner
Ditto the part of handing your rod off QUICKLY as many times there were multiple times that 2 or 3 fish were hooked and caught in the spectra tangles. The crew looked like a set of weavers unwrapping the poles and putting them through holes to try and get the fish out of tangles. For 10 minutes, three of us did not have our poles ( with fish going) as the crew had them working on a massive tangle at night. Being hooked into the harness would not work in this situation.

Was at Guadalupe this November and learned using the rail on this trip. Got 6 fish, would have been happy with 2. My rail technique did not look pretty at times but I got the job done. Hardest part is to stop the rod twist and the rod sliding on the rail the last 20 feet as the fish comes up.

Have fun
 
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fujirose

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Jan 17, 2009
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Roseville, CA
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Jim Fujitani
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21' Seaswirl
If rod twist is that much of an issue for you, and if you can afford it, look into having custom, spiral (acid) wrapped rods built for you. Spiral wrapping removes torque (rod twist) from the equation.
 
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bbuck

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Dec 20, 2005
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On the Water
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Buck
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sunk
You can always use a combination of the two. That's what I do.
I wear a harness with a butt plate that has a pin. And, of course, the rod has to have a gimbal.

When the fish is on the surface, and way out, you can strap into the harness. When he's vertical, you can use the harness, crew assisted, because you may have to get out of it quickly, or you can simply use the butt plate and rest the rod on the rail. The pin in the butt plate will keep the rod/reel from twisting.

Then when the fish is at deep color you will have to put your rod under your arm pit, rest the rod on the rail, palm the reel to keep it from torquing and crank. The reason for this is because this is the most critical time, and the deckhand may have to quickly grab your rod to avoid any tangles with another person or the boat.

I've used this technique on both long and short rods.
When I started doing the long trips in the mid 1990's everybody used a harness, if you didn't you got laughed off the boat or reminded that "were not after rock cod you know". Now it's just the opposite. The truth is there is a place for both. Agree with Cubeye
 

Cubeye

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Jan 26, 2007
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When I started doing the long trips in the mid 1990's everybody used a harness, if you didn't you got laughed off the boat or reminded that "were not after rock cod you know". Now it's just the opposite. The truth is there is a place for both. Agree with Cubeye
Yeah, when I go on my 14 day trip, there are only a few using a harness. Three to be exact. On one trip, I was the only one using a harness. It also depends on the boat. Passengers on some boats wear them more than other boats.
 

Smitty44

Newbie
Dec 30, 2017
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John
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I know this may sound a tad silly, but being in a harness with Whitey swimming around everywhere kinda seems a little freaky, though completely harmless.
 

greatbasin

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Jun 22, 2007
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Greg
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Knot Yet
I've been on multiple trips the last 3 years and haven't seen anyone use a harness. When you have a fish on down there you often have to move a lot and very quickly. Many times you have 2 or 3 fish circling in the same corner and you are constantly wrapping and unwrapping rods to avoid tangles. Sometimes just a moment of hesitation causes you to lose a nice fish. Many times a deckhand will see a problem and suddenly grab your rod and make a mad dash to the opposite corner to try and get you out of a tangle and it seems like a harness would just cause more problems.
So true Mike. Those are some squirley fish. Then add 24 guys who all want one too... 6 of them may be in the process same time as you. A harness would be a real hindrance.
 
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AKSalmon

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Jul 15, 2006
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Bill Brown
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Sold my Parker. You can find me on the Red Rooster.
The only time I use my harness anymore is when I am holding my kite rod. Once I hook up, I get rid of the harness so that I can move quickly and/or hand the rod to a crew member.
 
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RichG

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Jan 20, 2007
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Richard G/
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Besides the kite. I do wear my harness to help my lower back. I have learned to get in and out of it pretty fast and do use the rail when I can. Sometimes these old knees are slower getting up and down.
 
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lasparky11

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Mar 7, 2008
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Gene
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X-wife she's so fat she floats
IMO learn to use the rail. I ditched both the harness and the plate years ago. I found that using the rail was easier on my back than a plate/harness. Plus there a pain in the ass when you in a corner with 4 other guys all hooked up. One of the things I did was start bike riding (PT's advice) keeps the knees and hips stretched out. Switching to longer rods this year in the 60 - 130 line class 7'6" should make it easier than the 6.6" I'm been using.
 
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chamackO

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Jun 12, 2003
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You'd like get bit enough times at Lupe to walk off the boat being very comfortable using the rail. Great opportunity to learn with manageable sized fish. The crew will coach you on new techniques through the fight. One guy who walked on with zero gear and didn't even know about the rail technique looked like a regular on his second fish because he listened to the crew.
 

Josa1

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Jul 17, 2009
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San Pedro, CA, USA
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Joe
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Red Rooster III
I use the harness all of the time. At my age, nearing 77 and a long range guy for more than 40 years, I consider myself very lucky to be able to continue to fish the long range scene and have a good time doing it. I am sure I wouldn't be able to do it without the harness for the larger fish. Last year a 218 and 213 were dispatched with ease and to the inconvenience of no one.
For me, there is no problem at all in getting the rod out of the harness, the "S" clips used to connect to the reel harness lugs disconnect in an instant.
Also, I feel I can put much more pressure on a fish with the harness. Seems I do see a lot of people struggle to use the rail, using big gear, just because it's the current thing to do.
All in all, I think that it's best that you enjoy yourself and that you fish the way that you feel is best for you. Finally, I'm concerned that the way things are going, it might be that we'll be seeing an end to this activity in the not too distant future.
josa1
 

the_tunaman

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Jun 28, 2017
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Roger Nelson
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Ranger Z20
I take my Smitty's with me on any trip where the larger fish are a possibility. I'd have no compunction using it if the situation warranted it, and the quick clips make it fast and easy to get in and out of.

My lower back can't take a lot of stand-up at the rail without it, and railing isn't the easiest on the knees and lower back either - getting older is a bitch, but certainly better than the alternatives.