If you could only troll 1

Hard Chargin'

Fischjäger
Aug 11, 2019
414
264
31
PNW
Name
Andre
Boat
Stabicraft 459 Fish'r
Gents. I'm new to offshore fishing and I'm going to be pushing out of Washington mostly. I was in the WTC last weekend and it was a blast, my first time tuna fishing and holy hell I'm definitely coming back for more.

But during the tournament week there were at least 3 billfish hookups that I heard about. I have a small boat so I only have room to troll 3 rods when I'm fishing tuna. I want to run my middle rod farther back and rig it for billfish.

What rod/reel/line/lure can anyone recommend? I have been doing a lot of reading and I hear a lot about 50 wides. I just want the straight skinny. If you could only run 1 rig that you wanted to have the line cap and power for the rare Marlin up here what would you do? Hookups are so rare up here I want it to be something that is going to increase the chance of landing that fish a ton. If I could afford it I'd just run like a Penn 130 so I'd never run out of line but maybe that's bad thinking. I know this is kind of unorthodox because most of you guys are running 5+ rods and hookups are a lot more common.

I can't afford anything right now I just want to know what to keep my eye out for on eBay.

Tight lines
 

pacificscout

Hey! You got any frozen ice?
Jul 28, 2012
3,527
2,722
Fullerton
Name
Wally
Boat
16ft Scout EMBUSTERO
F9E86204-F9CC-40EB-B2BB-C97ABC677071.jpeg
Small boat can troll smaller gear.
Penn 113 50-80 lb mono and purple Jethead.
 

CartridgeCalls

100% Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business
Apr 29, 2015
3,993
600
Palmdale, CA
www.ebay.com
Name
Curtis Wright
Boat
Duck Hunting Kayak
Don plumb or Rick rose.
 

Hard Chargin'

Fischjäger
Aug 11, 2019
414
264
31
PNW
Name
Andre
Boat
Stabicraft 459 Fish'r
You can chase fish easier.
If I told you that I fish alone and have to do all of the fighting, driving, gaffing and landing would that make a difference? Maybe it's impossible idk. Team Hard Charging is a solo team so I am always the underdog . I love it when the odds are against me!!
 
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DavyJones

Well-Known "Member"
May 2, 2012
54
19
Southern Cal. USA
Name
Mike.
Boat
-------
If you are looking for one do-it-all marlin reel, Pacificscout is in the ballpark. In this age of spectra fishing line, a narrow 4/0 sized reel can hold a whole lot of 80lb. And if that isn't enough for you, get a regular sized 4/0. For your situation, fill them with enough spectra to make you feel comfortable but leave enough space to spool on a 50yd topshot of 50lb or 60lb mono for shock absorption. Tie that to 10 to 15ft of 130lb mono or floro leader to the marlin jig. I would stick with a lever drag reel and of course, match it to the proper rod. Preferably with roller guides.

Select a marlin jig that's 8 to 12in long. There are all kinds of brand names on the market. Two that I'm familiar with are Zukers and Black Bart. Both brands have several head shapes and that's important.

Now do your homework.

Research both brands and select a head that swims well at speeds of 6 to 6.5kts sense that's probably the speed you will be running trolling for tuna.

For the Zukers, start here. https://www.meltontackle.com/

These people can help you select a head that runs well at the speeds mentioned. They can also recommend other brands.

For the Black Bart, check out the heads on this page. http://www.blackbartlures.com/xcart/home.php?cat=249

I would recommend the Pelagic Breakfast head as it is very lively at 6 to 7kts. Another head to look at is the Canyon Prowler. With it's wide face, it should swim and wiggle very well at 6kts. Buy from them and they can skirt it and send it to you. Check out this skirt from them.

Black Purple Split

Color Code: BPS

Our price: $4.20




As for colors, down here in So Cal you can't loose with either Black and purple or Mean Joe Green. Up there....who the hell knows but marlin should be marlin wherever they are.

For general info, most people down here fish 30lb or less for line. I fish 40lb.

I too fish marlin solo. God help you when your alone and get a double hook up.

DavyJones.
 
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Hard Chargin'

Fischjäger
Aug 11, 2019
414
264
31
PNW
Name
Andre
Boat
Stabicraft 459 Fish'r
If you are looking for one do-it-all marlin reel, Pacificscout is in the ballpark. In this age of spectra fishing line, a narrow 4/0 sized reel can hold a whole lot of 80lb. And if that isn't enough for you, get a regular sized 4/0. For your situation, fill them with enough spectra to make you feel comfortable but leave enough space to spool on a 50yd topshot of 50lb or 60lb mono for shock absorption. Tie that to 10 to 15ft of 130lb mono or spectra leader to the marlin jig. I would stick with a lever drag reel and of course, match it to the proper rod. Preferably with roller guides.

Select a marlin jig that's 8 to 12in long. There are all kinds of brand names on the market. Two that I'm familiar with are Zukers and Black Bart. Both brands have several head shapes and that's important.

Now do your homework.

Research both brands and select a head that swims well at speeds of 6 to 6.5kts sense that's probably the speed you will be running trolling for tuna.

For the Zukers, start here. https://www.meltontackle.com/

These people can help you select a head that runs well at the speeds mentioned. They can also recommend other brands.

For the Black Bart, check out the heads on this page. http://www.blackbartlures.com/xcart/home.php?cat=249

I would recommend the Pelagic Breakfast head as it is very lively at 6 to 7kts. Another head to look at is the Canyon Prowler. With it's wide face, it should swim and wiggle very well at 6kts. Buy from them and they can skirt it and send it to you. Check out this skirt from them.

Black Purple Split

Color Code: BPS

Our price: $4.20




As for colors, down here in So Cal you can't loose with either Black and purple or Mean Joe Green. Up there....who the hell knows but marlin should be marlin wherever they are.

For general info, most people down here fish 30lb or less for line. I fish 40lb.

I too fish marlin solo. God help you when your alone and get a double hook up.

DavyJones.
Thanks for the replies gents.

DavyJones that's one of the best and most detailed responses I've ever got on any forum. Thank you a ton. I'll do a little more reading and digging and I'll let you know what I end up buying for jigs.
 
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BluefinCurly

Skipper
Aug 15, 2004
2,146
663
Norwalk
Name
Carl
Boat
Vagabond, The Last Minute
Great info from the guys above. I have had great luck running a Zucker 7.5 in bleeding mackerel.
We almost always run this long in a trolling spread and have caught multiples with it.
If you can afford 2, I agree with the MJG for dark/overcast and the BM for bright conditions.

And don't forget to focus your effort on the slack tides.
 

mahi

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jan 5, 2005
741
150
laguna niguel
Name
Bob
Boat
Henriques 28 Express
For those that do not know, Mean Joe Green is black over green.
1- Do not put your center lure too far back If you have an out board engine, position lure at end of bubble trail.
2-No reason you cannot fish 3 Marlin lures either, one off each corner. We always pull Marlin lures and search for surface fish and kelp patties. Dorado, when they are around, love to jump on Marlin lures. Especially 100 yards away form the kelp.
3- No need to kill a Marlin either. They are easy to release. Google Snooter from Peter Pakula. It is easy to make and you can control the Marlin solo.
4- Some crews always have a pink lure out in the spread.
5- Picking lure head shapes. Short fat, concave heads are run close to the boat. Long skinny, tapered heads are run farther back and on out riggers.
6- Colors. Dark colors close to the boat and bright colors farther back. Many crews do run the MJG on the riggers- 4th or 5th wave.
 

Hard Chargin'

Fischjäger
Aug 11, 2019
414
264
31
PNW
Name
Andre
Boat
Stabicraft 459 Fish'r
Bob. Thanks for the tips/info. I'm gonna give it a shot for the first time in 2 weeks. I'm heading down for the Master Angler Billfish Tournament down in Newport Beach.

And I can really only troll 1 lure. I only have 1 reel that has the power for big fish like that. It's gonna make the tournament interesting to say the least!
 

mahi

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jan 5, 2005
741
150
laguna niguel
Name
Bob
Boat
Henriques 28 Express
Bob. Thanks for the tips/info. I'm gonna give it a shot for the first time in 2 weeks. I'm heading down for the Master Angler Billfish Tournament down in Newport Beach.

And I can really only troll 1 lure. I only have 1 reel that has the power for big fish like that. It's gonna make the tournament interesting to say the least!
Ok. I highly suggest buying at least one, moldcraft squid chain in pink. Run it off one corner, using 1/4" cord. You want it ending on the second or third wake. Place your single lure 1 wake behind it so it has the illusion that lure is chasing the squid. Place lure on face of wave. A marlin will either eat your lure or go to the chain. If it is on the chain, drop back a live mackeral. Once the mackeral is in front of the Marlin, bring engine to idle and let bait swim, thumb spool. Once you get a bite, let it run and set hook. I like the 10/0 circle hooks. Put rod in a rod holder and clear the other gear. Then e joy the show. Drop back should be 30b.
 

Smiler1958

Well-Known "Member"
May 26, 2018
78
34
61
San Diego
Name
Marshall Bubel
Boat
Westerly
Ok. I highly suggest buying at least one, moldcraft squid chain in pink. Run it off one corner, using 1/4" cord. You want it ending on the second or third wake. Place your single lure 1 wake behind it so it has the illusion that lure is chasing the squid. Place lure on face of wave. A marlin will either eat your lure or go to the chain. If it is on the chain, drop back a live mackeral. Once the mackeral is in front of the Marlin, bring engine to idle and let bait swim, thumb spool. Once you get a bite, let it run and set hook. I like the 10/0 circle hooks. Put rod in a rod holder and clear the other gear. Then e joy the show. Drop back should be 30b.
Excellent advice.
 

Pacific Jigger

You’ll never know unless you go
Sep 16, 2019
143
187
44
United States
Name
Bud
Boat
Formula 233
Quite a bit of good advice given here so far. Another and perhaps the biggest consideration is pulling marlin up into your lure spread, this is unusually important when they’re few and far between. If you have electric downriggers, a pulley system will allow you to pull a bucket dredge. The electric downrigger means hands free retrieval once your bit. A simpler option is a Toad teaser, which is basically a painted boat fender with a weighted nose. Lots of guys make their own but Moldcraft makes a commercial version. These have to be seen in action to truly appreciate. As a bonus, they do a bang up job attracting tuna.
 

Pacific Jigger

You’ll never know unless you go
Sep 16, 2019
143
187
44
United States
Name
Bud
Boat
Formula 233
Another way to think about your troll spreads attraction effect is to compare it to music. Some troll spreads are like a Jimmy Buffet song. Though it may be good, and many like it, it’ll only elicit a certain level of reaction from most. Other spreads are more in line with Guns N’ Roses’ Welcome to the Jungle. Love it or hate it, it gets a reaction. You may dance to it or you may take a hammer to the speakers, either way, it gets a response.
Something to think about, and the reason that I pull teasers for everything but BFT. My spreads for billfish and tuna are very heavily weighted towards the GNR effect and I’ve had excellent results. If you need teaser ideas, I’d be glad to help.
 
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Jan 31, 2017
12
11
41
Cabo San Lucas
Name
Ryan Donovan
Boat
ReelRum, TantRum, RedRum, RumRunnin, El Nuevo RedRum, 19's Toy, Beast of Burden and Oh So Rojo
Gun to my head, one marlin lure....

Short- Koya Poi Dog

Rigger- Gotta agree with Davy Pelagic Breakfast by Bart or the 6 Jet by Imperium Outfitters

Shotgun- All Black Moldcraft Widerange
 

Patudo

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jun 4, 2004
156
38
Lon
Name
dscf
Boat
None
Disclaimer: have no knowledge of fishing your area at all - so all that follows is (hopefully) educated guesswork...

That far north the marlin encountered are almost certainly going to be stripeys. If they are the same size range as the ones in So Cal, they won't require really big gear. Once it is on the hook, angling skill (keeping the line tight, being smooth on the fish) and a steady hand on the wheel are much more important in landing that kind of marlin than tons of drag and a million yards of line. But having said that, since you're fishing alone, a larger reel with more capacity is probably a good idea. Something like a TLD 50, or a Penn 50 in good condition, is plenty enough reel and ought to be widely available. These can be spooled with straight 50 lb test mono. If you can get set up with spectra backing and a mono topshot, a slightly smaller reel eg. Penn 30 Wide will be fine.

Lure wise you can't go wrong with the Moldcraft Wide Range standard size, it's inexpensive, durable (soft head won't break if you smack it against the boat), can be run almost anywhere behind the boat at almost any trolling speed, and best of all, it works. They do a black over green which seems to be pretty good for the boys further south of you (works great for me too but I fish a million miles from you). If you wanted a couple of other colour options you could try blue/silver over green, black over orange, and all pink. 200 to about 300 lb mono leader (1.4mm to 1.6mm) will be fine on the lure with about an 8/0 big game hook. There are lots of great choices available these days but a Mustad 7732 or 7691S will be fine, just make sure it's very sharp.

I would prefer to put this lure on the third wave and the other two rods with tuna lures further back, but can appreciate that if fishing single handed and expecting a hot albacore bite it may be more practical to put your marlin rig further back.

If a marlin does climb on, be ready to turn the boat and get after it if it gets too far away (say half the spool or more). You may want to spend a couple hours practising this routine with your rod and reel connected to a bucket or something, as doing this single handed in the excitement of your first marlin is going to be challenging. Marlin hooked on artificials can shake the hook real easily if you don't keep the line tight so make sure you keep tension on the hook always.

PS. Marlin will also come to the bullet headed jigs you probably already have for tuna, but hooking them on the "frog leg" kind of double hook is tough.
 
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