Rod/Reel/Rigging recommendations - 1st LR Trip

Bow-Fisher

bow-fisher
Apr 25, 2010
3
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Henderson/Nevada/USA
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Baryr
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13, Sportspal
Guys, I'm looking for some suggestions re: Rod/Reel/Spooling recommendations. Over the past 10 years, have taken a number of 3-8 day trips out of SD. Have always wanted to experience a LR trip, and finally after saving up the past couple years just yesterday signed up for a 17 Day on the X, slated for December 2015. Super excited to experience that trip.

I've purchased tackle the last few years in anticipation of this trip, and am talking to the Landing, Charkbait, looking at the various LR (vessel) recommendations, etc. Hoping to add to the "confusion" by throwing this post out ..

I'm all set as far as the "lighter setups" for Wahoo (50-60#).

My current reel inventory looks like this:
1. Penn 16VSX, Cal Sheets (bearings, drag, grease, etc). 600yds JB Hollow
2. Penn 30 VSX, Cal's upgrades, machined spool. 600yds JB Hollow/topped 100yds JB 130 Hollow
3. Accurate ATD 30. Cal greased. 650yds JB Hollow/topped 40yds JB 130 Hollow
4. I've got a pair of Penn50 VSX's Cal will be upgrading/spool work (increase line capacity). Looking for recommendations for spooling - was thinking 130 JB Hollow, not sure if I should top one or both of them with 150/200?
5. Makaira 20II SEA, 80# JB Hollow

My current rod inventory looks like this:
1. Calstar Grafighter 770H (60-100)
2. Calstar Grafighter 770XH rail rod (60-120)
3. Calstar Grafigher 770XXH rail rod (80-130)
4. Seeker Black Steel G6463XXH (rollers) 50-80-130
5. Seeker Classic 663XXH (rollers) 50-80-130

I'm pretty confident I've got the reels covered, really not sure about the rod(s)?

Also, I've been making hollow/crimped-served connections for up to 80#, and am comfortable with that. But, I'm not sure if I want to tangle with 100-130 connections. Seems to be about a 50/50 set of opinions as to whether to go to wind-on or stick with straight (crimped/served) connections or both ... opinions?

Also, considering wind-on, looking for recommendations for what combinations of test/mono/flouro to bring on board, ready made, and how many? Or, just bring the materials and make um up on the ride down ...

Appreciate your recommendations ...
 
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Steve K

Hey, I'm gettin' bit...
Jan 2, 2005
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Oh, boy, here you go! Sounds like you're ready to go. One more rail rod and go heavier. SS6463XXXH or XXXXH, 2X4 or add the next Calstar, 770XXXH. Looks to me like your reels are capable of more than your rods. Ask at the office about using one or two of their heavier sticks with your reels.

Everybody has their own thing on topshots, lots of threads on those as far as materials and connections. I usually don't commit to pre measured lengths, prefer to just connect fluorocarbon to hollow and then inline splice to the end of the spectra coming off the reel. At that time, I decide on length, 15 to 20 feet a good starting point. After all the reels are topshotted, I go back and connect hollow to leader material again for changing topshots as needed.
 
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reellady

I'd rather be catching TUNA
Aug 26, 2011
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donna
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You can buy wind on leaders from BPH, Basil, but I make my own. I use seaguar premiere and insert into hollowcore JB braid. I love the wind on with the loop to loop connection as easy to change out, not having knots to bind in your rod or tear your fingers up, and also not having to crimp. But it's all personal preference. I make 25' leaders.
 
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Rodless_Jim

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  • Apr 3, 2008
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    For years I have made my own windons, and I like to think I've gotten pretty good at it. I stand behind them, and they have never once failed me. Unlike Donna, I prefer to in-line splice, rather than use loop-to-loop.

    But the last couple of years, I have gone more and more to using the Tony Pena knot instead. I always used it for lighter line, and I am well-known for recommending it on this board and elsewhere. Now I have experience that shows me conclusively that it is an excellent option at 100lbs and less. Depending on how well you tie it (and what brand of fluoro or mono you use), it is also a great choice at 130lbs.

    The call is yours!
     
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    Blue Chummer

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    Bow-Fisher

    bow-fisher
    Apr 25, 2010
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    Oh, boy, here you go! Sounds like you're ready to go. One more rail rod and go heavier. SS6463XXXH or XXXXH, 2X4 or add the next Calstar, 770XXXH. Looks to me like your reels are capable of more than your rods. Ask at the office about using one or two of their heavier sticks with your reels.

    Everybody has their own thing on topshots, lots of threads on those as far as materials and connections. I usually don't commit to pre measured lengths, prefer to just connect fluorocarbon to hollow and then inline splice to the end of the spectra coming off the reel. At that time, I decide on length, 15 to 20 feet a good starting point. After all the reels are topshotted, I go back and connect hollow to leader material again for changing topshots as needed.
    Thanks for the reply re: another rod - I kinda figured I was a bit short on the rod end of things and appreciate the recommendation(s).
     
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    Bow-Fisher

    bow-fisher
    Apr 25, 2010
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    spinner

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    remember,you can rent anything yu need on the big x to experiment with. then you can get a feel for this type of fishing and what style works best for you. what makes these trips fun is fiquring out what you need to be happy and successfull.goooooooing
     
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    ThunderMudder

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    Dec 1, 2007
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    282 GW Sailfish F225's
    i think of my gear i'll need in terms of "techniques" and "tools"
    every year i lean towards one designated tool/outfit per technique rather than using an outfit to pull double duty as bait and jig or such. Definitely more expensive investment to have 10-15 sets, but a chunk outfit set up quite different than a jig outfit, and when the picky bite has a small open window and you've just lost a fish and need to soak another bait but need to re-tie or crimp or a new topshot, nice to have another rig ready in the rack.

    wahoo outfits (3 min): bait, jig (raider type) and bomb
    Tuna fishing outfits: 80# bait, (2) 100# bait, large bait (skippy, jumbo mac), chunk, and jig
    Troll
    Kite
    Above is what i consider the minimum. if you chunck a lot, then bring 2 chunck outfits,love jigging? bring more than one, etc.
    yes, some times we can get carried away and guys go overboard and on my last 15 day trip i have never seen so much gear aboard the boat. Probably 20 rods couldn't find a home on the boat and that is with multiple guys bringing their own rod holders they attached to the upper house rails, etc.
    it's your trip, spend what you want and use what gear you're happy with and have fun.
     
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    Olddog8

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    Sold long ago
    Guys, I'm looking for some suggestions re: Rod/Reel/Spooling recommendations. Over the past 10 years, have taken a number of 3-8 day trips out of SD. Have always wanted to experience a LR trip, and finally after saving up the past couple years just yesterday signed up for a 17 Day on the X, slated for December 2015. Super excited to experience that trip.

    I've purchased tackle the last few years in anticipation of this trip, and am talking to the Landing, Charkbait, looking at the various LR (vessel) recommendations, etc. Hoping to add to the "confusion" by throwing this post out ..

    I'm all set as far as the "lighter setups" for Wahoo (50-60#).

    My current reel inventory looks like this:
    1. Penn 16VSX, Cal Sheets (bearings, drag, grease, etc). 600yds JB Hollow
    2. Penn 30 VSX, Cal's upgrades, machined spool. 600yds JB Hollow/topped 100yds JB 130 Hollow
    3. Accurate ATD 30. Cal greased. 650yds JB Hollow/topped 40yds JB 130 Hollow
    4. I've got a pair of Penn50 VSX's Cal will be upgrading/spool work (increase line capacity). Looking for recommendations for spooling - was thinking 130 JB Hollow, not sure if I should top one or both of them with 150/200?
    5. Makaira 20II SEA, 80# JB Hollow

    My current rod inventory looks like this:
    1. Calstar Grafighter 770H (60-100)
    2. Calstar Grafighter 770XH rail rod (60-120)
    3. Calstar Grafigher 770XXH rail rod (80-130)
    4. Seeker Black Steel G6463XXH (rollers) 50-80-130
    5. Seeker Classic 663XXH (rollers) 50-80-130

    I'm pretty confident I've got the reels covered, really not sure about the rod(s)?

    Also, I've been making hollow/crimped-served connections for up to 80#, and am comfortable with that. But, I'm not sure if I want to tangle with 100-130 connections. Seems to be about a 50/50 set of opinions as to whether to go to wind-on or stick with straight (crimped/served) connections or both ... opinions?

    Also, considering wind-on, looking for recommendations for what combinations of test/mono/flouro to bring on board, ready made, and how many? Or, just bring the materials and make um up on the ride down ...

    Appreciate your recommendations ...

    I'm in the same situation as you this year, lots of 3-8 day trips but planning my first true LR this year (17 days). Interested in seeing the recommendations. Want to be as prepared as possible to increase chances of success. Thanks all for posting.
     
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    fishordie

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    Aug 31, 2005
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    Yo BF,

    Without knowing how old you are and in what kind of fishing shape you are in here is what I can offer up. If you like what I write and you can give more specific information about your size, shape, age and condition I can provide my opinion on the best rig for you as it may behoove you to start building or have built custom rods (Which I highly recommend). I tend to recommend filling the big fish reels with spectra to allow for up to a 50 foot topshot/wind on. I normally fish 25 feet of top shot but there are times, when fishing a squid with weight, I will go to a longer top shot. If the water is really clear I might also go longer than 25 feet. Please note, my responses are long as I try to let the angler think for themselves about why I recommend what I do. If you just want a quick answer with no reasons why then I suggest you stop reading now.

    Your reels are great and for the most part will be ready to rock and roll.... Regardless what kind of fishing shape you are in and how hard you pull or be willing to learn to pull, your rod is going to be a major tool. I have written for years how I believe folks are being recommended, even by experts, to buy too light a stick for our ultra long range applications. With the beautiful reels you have, as long as they are properly maintained, you have some tools with super smooth drags which really allows you to fish some stiffer sticks and higher drag pressures. The XXXH versions of 7 foot Cal Stars Graphiters and Super Seekers are fantastic all around sticks. Getting into the 7.5 foot versions is something I would only recommend once you get past your first 17 day. The new versions of the United Composite sticks by Randy Penny may be excellent but I have not had a chance to try them yet. As much as I love the Phenix rods for most applications their XXXH and XXH versions of any of their sticks are just waaay too light with not enough recoil for big fish applications.

    I really love the Mak 20IISEA so that might be the first reel I fish. The Accurate 30 is also a favorite. However, these reels do not afford the luxury of light drags so set them up correctly on an appropriate rod. Your Calstar 770XXH matched to either of these two reels is the only rod I would use out of what you have for big fish unless you have no other options. If you are worried about fishing higher drags until you have a bit of big fish experience (You will develop big fish experience during your first big fish) then start with the 50 VSX and a boat supplied rod.

    I cannot count the number of newcomers to ultra long range I outfit at the shop (Bob Sands Tackle) who look at me bewildered and horrified when I work with them to find the best setups for their applications. Without fail, every angler who comes from much shorter range trips, has a very hard time believing that the stiffer sticks I prefer will actually make their big fish experiences easier... Until they come back and thank me for setting them up appropriately. I also cannot tell you how many experienced folks are moving up one X or even 2X's from their XH, XXH rods to XXXH rods and even XXXXH rods as they discover the joys of more drag and the benefits of stiffer rods, within reason and within the abilities of the specific angler. Contrary to popular opinion these 3XH rated rods can easily fish 80 pound on the lower end and 150 pound at the top end making them very flexible in their usage. Since you will find 80 pound is rarely used on your 17 day you will find this a great consideration.

    A great misnomer based on the concepts of days gone past is a softer rod is easier on the angler. This is just not the case anymore. Rail rodding, good or bad, has changed the dynamic of catching giant tuna along with a change in the gear required. The ability to put more drag pressure on a fish, with more recoil on the rod, is now the ticket for landing big fish in a manner which is easier on the angler's body, cardio and mind even if that body is not in that great a shape. This last two or three years have been really cool as I have had a ton of my very experienced long range friends step up and try an extra 2 - 5 pounds of drag or more on big fish and really love it. All have noted they can land their fish faster and with less effort and are finding they can and want to fish stiffer sticks to shorten the fight even more. Many of these same folks no longer are sold on shorter rods as they are willing to now go to 7 feet with minimum 3XH designations. Additionally, these anglers are learning how to set their drags at strike higher and going into 2/3's strike when setting the hook and while going up and over until they are stable on the rail at which point they can increase the drag pressure quickly and easily.

    By using higher and more appropriate drag pressure a fishes nose can be kept more often pointed at the boat. Learning to relax, breath and take the pressure off the body and onto the rail when a fish is taking line is a key element. Learning to use the recoil of the rod to do much of the fighting of the fish while the angler relaxes as much as possible to wind line back onto the reel as the rod attempts to uncoil is where part of the technique will come into play. It is the interplay of the uncoiling of the rod and the winding of line onto the reel where the angler can get some much needed rest. Too many folks allow their rod to completely uncoil or uncoil too far before winding line on rather than using their reel to walk the line between a fully bent rod and keeping as much bend in the rod as possible as the rod/rail does its work to leverage the fishes nose towards the boat. Many times, just being able to take a quarter turn of the reel, several times as the rod tries to uncoil, is enough to get the fishes nose pointed in the right direction. Too light a rod and the angler is not getting the benefit of enough recoil and therefore must use strength and endurance rather than the rod doing its job to get line back. Once the nose is pointed in the right direction the fish will actually accelerate towards the boat. This is where it is incumbent upon the angler to wind as fast as possible, without losing control, in order to get that fish to come tight and begin the process anew.

    In truth almost any angler using the rail can fish with 30+ pounds of drag as long as the rod stays in one place and does not have to be lifted or moved from the rail especially for those of us who are now well under 6 feet tall (Gravity sucks). It is not hard to learn proper technique to fish higher drag levels from the rail. Good fishing shape comes into play everywhere else when the angler has to move up and around anglers or up and down the rail to follow their fish however, learning to back off just a bit that drag lever thing to make life easier when you do have to lift the rod and then push it back forward when stable and back on the rail can be very enlightening. I do not recommend, for most anglers, fishing the entire fight with 30 pounds of drag but just knowing you have that ability at the end game is really something important.

    THE DRAW BACK TO FISHING HIGHER DRAGS is the angler now has to make sure his or her knots or crimped connections are made correctly. In truth, all connections made on any length trip should be perfect but how often is that the case? The angler SHOULD NEVER adjust their techniques and drag setting based on their fear of bad connections.
    Again, practicing knots at home or fully learning them on the boat, testing them on pull gauges, being able to tie those connections in your sleep and then not worrying about those connections while on a fish will allow every angler to get to the next level in their big fish landing life. Ultra long range is about savoring the minutes, which allows you to enjoy the hours which quickly become days. If your minutes are spent worrying about things you could have and should have learned and perfected prior to the trip then your minutes and days become longer and less enjoyable.

    With that long explanation, regardless of what rig you are considering purchasing, I would ask the Excel to set you up with two extra setups. The first is a rig for Wahoo, using a smaller diameter reel than the 16 you currently have and then one big fish rig using a XXXH rod. You can use your own reels or use the ones provided by the boat or I would suggest, if the reels are different, switch out your reels and their reels on the same rods to see what you think. Unless something changed for this year, I believe the Big X is still using their Custom Super Seekers which are great rods. Using these two boat supplied rigs, along with your already great arsenal, you can start to compare and decide for yourself the next rig to purchase. Do you like the smaller reel for Wahoo? Do you like the stiffer rod for Big Tuna. Can you learn to trust your gear and put the wood to the fish or are you going to take a more timid approach? How does the size and weight of the rig affect your mental and physical comforts while working your bait/artificial, casting/lobbing your bait/artificial or just waiting at the rail for a bite and finally, is the joy of a bigger reel while on a fish offset by the more difficult time an angler might have to actually get a bait in the zone using these bigger and heavier devices? Can you even learn to get a bait on a 50 size reel into the zone? These are very much angler specific answers.

    Wahoo are not very complicated, either on bait or artificial lures. Your rod is going to be kept straighter than on a tuna while you attempt to just wind the fish to the boat or very short stroke when necessary. The best Wahoo rig is angler specific in that, like any other rig, it has to "Feel" Right in your hands. I happen to like a light weight, yet still stiff, 8 foot, rig using a smaller diameter reel and high drag pressures. Heck, I only use spinners and artificial lures for Wahoo. Others may really like a 16 size reel on a much shorter and stiffer stick but I am seeing that rig less and less from buyers of new gear. Many more anglers are using the smaller conventional reels, such as the new Penn Fathom 30 or 40 or equivalent, one or two speed, to perform double duty on artificial lures and bait. I do not believe 2 speed reels for a single purpose Wahoo rig is a great idea as the angler needs to just wind and not take even a second to change gears however, having the ability to use the high gear for Wahoo and then use the 2 speed for other species makes owning a 2 speed a great idea. Again, the decision to go into low for a big Wahoo is really angler specific with success very much dependent on technique. I would however, select a newer reel which can develop large amounts of drag and retrieval rates. The above noted Penn or similar sized reels by Okuma, Shimano, Avet (Only the Raptor series), Accurate, etc. allows the angler to use short 100 - 130 pound top shots or doubled lines for throwing jigs and bombs and really put the wood to the fish once hooked up. They can then change out the top shot to fish 30 - 50 pound top shots for bait or light artificial work.

    As far as stepping up your 50 reel there is really no reed to go beyond 130 spectra. You just are not getting that much more abrasion resistance and there will be more diameter of line in the water the bait is trying to pull on. If you are dropping jigs or playing with chunks you can then go to bigger diameter/pound test windons and top shots.

    Lastly, on your home made windons and top shots have someone in the know look at each of your big rig top shots either at the tackle shop or on the boat to get their approval. Unfortunately, many times, simply looking at the serve or crimp does not really reveal how well or if the serve was applied with proper tension. Therefore, at home, make several test models in each line rating you are building, put a sharpie mark where the plastic enters the spectra, then test them out by straight pulling and yanking on them against a 100 Pound scale. See if you are breaking the connection or having the plastic slip after many cycles of pulling and yanking. Test out every new lot of lines you purchase especially if you are using the Sato crimps. Confidence is a major key to any sport including fishing. Not worrying about your home made product or connections makes the actual fishing experience more enjoyable and enables you to not worry about what might happen should you decide to put more wood to the fish. Almost every angler I know, when they first make their own top shots, are scared to death their home mades are going to fail. I would highly recommend purchasing a number of Backup BHP windons, a couple of Basil's "Casting Wind ons", or boat made Tops shots in the 100 and 130 range. Set up with the BHP product first and use it until you get your first big fish. Once the ice is broken try some of you own home made items. You will make a decision on which to use based on how each performs and then what your mental attitude is as you catch more fish on your home made gear. Again, if you find, after catching a number of fish, your homemade windons work, then you will have an answer yet still can use the pro made products until they are gone.

    For me I happen to like using very short loop to loop connections as they are the next closest thing to mindless. I can tie knots with the best of them but we all, especially when tired or after our Scotch/cigar break, may blow a plastic to Spectra connection or two. Rather than a big 4 - 6 inch loop on each side I make my loops only about 1 inch, slide the loops back in order to create my double cats paw connection, and then slide the loops back into place before tightening the connection to insure equal legs on all sides.

    Anyway, any angler who is gong to commit 4 - 600 dollars or more for a rod and as much as 1500 - 2000 dollars or more for a single rig with Spectra should be aware of all their options and really understand what makes those options relevant or not. When setting up customers on these high priced or even mid level rigs I ask them to bring in their reels or use our reels to mix and match the rods to the reels. I show the anglers the techniques I might use, how I might conserve energy and why I use certain techniques trying to replicate the situations they might find themselves in on the boat. I have them show me their techniques and then together we see what might be a great starting method or a great balanced rig for them. Together we determine if a custom rod, with your choice of colors, where the reel seat is placed appropriate for the girth and technique of the angler, might be more appropriate than an off the shelf model. You might be surprised at how much this enables the new comer and experienced angler alike to start thinking out of their "Box" to come to their own, possibly more educated, conclusions.

    That should be enough to digest for now. Best of luck on your decision.

    Jamie
     
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    Rodless_Jim

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
  • Apr 3, 2008
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    Jamie, you forgot the Daiwas. In my opinion, they are the best for fishing artificials for wahoo.

    Barry, I can't add a whole lot to what Jamie just posted. As always, his recommendations are very well thought out, and absolutely sound. Nevertheless, what you need to bring with you really depends on how you expect/plan to fish. This applies both to fishing techniques (innumerable) as well as to fighting technique (for long range, this can be harness, rail, or some combination of both).

    The best I can do is tell you how I have prepared for my next trip. I'm on a 17-day trip this coming April (is it still three months away?), and I plan to bring 11 outfits, 7 for tuna, 3 for wahoo, and one for trolling/dropper loop (if dropper loop even comes into play).

    At this point, all of my tuna reels are Makaira SEa 2-speeds. I have three 20s, three 50s, and a 50W. The 20s are spooled with 100lb spectra, the 50s are spooled with 130lb spectra. The 50W has 500 yards of 130lb, topped with another 400 yards of 200lb.

    There are quite a few ways to fish for tuna, and I bring this many setups so that I am ready (more or less) to change technique when the inspiration hits me.

    ASIDE: Contrary to what some previous posters have said, I don't recommend setting up any two outfits the same way. I have never been in a big tuna bite that was so hot that I didn't have time to tie on a new hook or change out a top shot if necessary. "Quick change" for me means being able to switch from flylining to sinker fishing to chunking without having to reconfigure a setup. That means having an outfit set up for whatever technique I want to use in a given place at a given time. This even applies to my bait-making outfit, which I did not list among my 11. Even so, on the ride down, I will have that outfit rigged to make squid or macks, if the captain tells us that one or the other is a possibility. If we go to Hurricane, my bait maker is set up with a Megabait to catch skippies. If we are at Clarion, it has a heavy-duty 2-hook sabiki to catch salamis. I'll change the setup as we travel to be ready for what we expect to find at our next destination. In the same way, each of my tuna setups is rigged differently, to fish a different way, or perhaps to fish a different kind of bait.

    So what will I fish, and how?

    - Mak 20/Phenix PHD-700X3H (7' Black Diamond Hybrid). The reel has 700+ yards of 100lb TUF-Line XP solid. This will be my ultra finesse flylining setup. On this, I will use a Tony Pena knot to connect to maybe 10-15 feet of 80-100lb fluoro, with a small, relatively light wire hook. Though this is the first setup I list, it is not the first setup out of the rack. This is very definitely a "pick bite" setup.

    - Mak 20/Super Seeker 2x4. This reel has 700+ yards of 100lb TUF-Line Guides Choice hollow. This setup is probably the first out of the rack in the daytime, because it is my go-to 100lb flylining outfit. Depending on conditions, I may use a pre-made top shot (one of my own) in-line spliced, or I may again use a Pena knot. The fluoro I use could be Seaguar Premier, Yo-zuri pink, or Seaguar Blue Label. I like all of them. For this setup, I might use a Mutu or I might use a Charlie Brown. Again, this is my bread and butter sardine flyline setup.

    - Mak 20/Calstar Grafighter 770 XXH. This reel also has 700+ yards of 100lb TUF-Line Guides Choice hollow. This is my 100lb sinker outfit (not to be confused with dropper loop). I use this setup a lot as a change of pace, and it has been very effective for me. Its purpose is to fish a sardine (typically a sardine, anyway) below the surface, but not on the bottom. I use 25-30 feet of 100lb mono, either to a 4-turn surgeon's knot (my preference) or to a 150lb swivel, with another 4-5 feet of 100lb fluoro to the hook. I like to use slip sinkers on this outfit, but a torpedo sinker on a rubber band works too. Since this is usually a daytime rig for me, I feel that the slip sinker is somewhat more stealthy. In this case, the hook will probably be a Charlie Brown.

    - Mak 50/Calstar Grafighter 775 XXH. This reel has 800 yards of 130lb Seaguar Threadlock hollow. This is my daytime/low light 130lb flyline outfit. It works well fishing pretty much any bait at any time of day or night, and the 775 is a stouter rod than the 770 (not sure why). That makes this a very versatile setup, that gets used quite a lot. When I want to fish a salami any time from sunup to sundown, this is the one I grab. When the fish are not especially line shy, and I want to fish a sardine on 130lb, again, this is the one I grab. In fact, if the bite has been good lately, this very well might be the first setup out of the rack. On this outfit, I will sometimes use a Tony Pena knot and quite a short (6-8 feet) leader of 130lb fluoro. Other times, I will use a 20 foot top shot of 130lb fluoro, in-line spliced.* The hook I choose depends on the bait I am fishing. It could be as small as 5/0 (or even 4/0!), or as big as 10/0. If I want to fish a jig, I just need to cut off the hook and tie on my jig.

    ASIDE: Unlike Jamie, I prefer to splice, rather than loop-to-loop. To me, it's actually easier than what he does!

    - Mak 50/Calstar Grafighter 770 XXXH. This is my nighttime flyline outfit. The reel has 700+ yards of 130lb TUF-Line Guides Choice hollow. I tend to rig it with about 25 feet of 130-150lb mono (Momoi Hi-catch Smoke Blue) or the same amount of 130-150lb fluoro. At Clarion, I use this outfit to fish salamis in the dark. At Hurricane I can use it to fish flyers, squid, puffers, or small dorado. If I want to fish a sinker, I just need to add a torpedo sinker on a rubber band. I've caught good fish on this setup!

    - Mak 50/Calstar Grafighter 770 XXXH. This will be my BIG bait setup: skippies or small yellowfin (not to be confused with salamis). Again, the reel has 700+ yards of 130lb TUF-Line Guides Choice hollow. I rig it with a short top shot of 200lb (or even 300lb!) fluoro.

    - Mak 50W/United Composites Gladiator. This is my kite outfit. The reel has 900 yards of spectra, 500 yards of 130lb TUF-Line Seaguar Threadlock Hollow, topped with 400+ yards of 200lb TUF-Line Guides Choice Hollow. Beyond that, I will rig it the way the boat tells me to. I may also be able to use this as another big bait outfit. We'll have to see about that.

    As far as the wahoo outfits go, I have three:

    - Daiwa Saltist 50 2-speed/United Composites Wahoo. 60lb hollow, 200lb fluoro top shot. Jigs and Bombs.
    - Daiwa Saltist 40 2-speed/United Composites Predator. 60lb hollow, 200lb fluoro top shot. Jigs.
    - Daiwa Saltiga 50 2-speed/Super Seeker 6470XH. 65lb solid, 50lb fluoro top shot, short wire leader. Bait.

    The trolling outfit is an Avet Pro EX 30W, on a Calstar Grafighter 6460 XXH, 130lb JB hollow. I'll set it up how the boat recommends.

    To this, I need to add that pretty much all of my rods are rail wrapped, and much of the time, I plan to fish the rail. I am also bringing a harness, though, and at certain times, I want to try harness fishing while the fish is out away from the boat. I want to do this because Excel has fairly low rails, and this may make it easier for me to put pressure on the fish during the early part of the fight. At the end of the fight, though, I expect to fish the rail, and Jamie is 100% right about what he says. Heavier drag and stiff rods are really a fantastic advantage. My problem has been a tendency to use too much drag, and I have on occasion pulled hooks because of it. But never once have I regretted fishing heavy drag. I just need to moderate just a little bit my overwhelming impulse to hammer the fish.

    Now, the question arises, do you really need that many setups? Obviously not. Well, I feel like I do, but that's me. The reason I listed them all (aside from being a very proud tackle ho!) was to illustrate how I think about rigging and fishing. As you can see, if I get an outfit bollixed up, I don't have a backup to grab. I think that kind of redundancy is unnecessary. Most of the time, all you need to do is change a top shot or retie a hook. But if I want to try something different, I'm ready. Put one outfit away, and grab another. If I had to, I could cut this list from 7 tuna-specific outfits to just 4. I would use a boat kite outfit, and set up 2 versatile 100lb rigs, with 2 more 130# rigs. And that is all I think you REALLY need.

    Based on what you listed to begin the thread, I believe your reels---and some of your rods---are just fine. Honestly, I doubt you need much more. But, as Jamie said, a couple of rods might be good.

    Sorry for the long read...I hope it helps!
     
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    screamingreel

    Long Range Fanatic
    Jan 14, 2006
    2,497
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    Walnut Creek CA
    longrangesportfishingsandiegostyle.com
    Name
    Jeff Burroughs
    Boat Name
    Long Range and Private
    Lots of good information on this thread. One more heavier rod and you should be good to go. Recommend calling the Excel office and ask Jeff (Gundy), Mike or Justin how to set up your gear. They are on the water 300+ days a year and know what is most effective for how they fish. Even if you do not follow all of their recommendations, another experienced perspective should provide additional insights and options.

    Good luck on your trip!

    - Jeff Burroughs
     
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    bbuck

    Member
    Dec 20, 2005
    577
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    On the Water
    Name
    Buck
    Boat Name
    sunk
    I've fished that 17 day X trip the last two years and am booked on it next year. There are always several anglers who are going long for the first time so you won't be alone. The best advice I can give you is if you don't know what your doing in terms of line prep. you are almost guaranteed to screw it up. Just bring your reels with the spectra on and let the crew put on whatever line is appropriate at that time for the expected conditions. You can use their line and see how they do it. In terms of rods&reels, if you think you need more, rent something. Your probably O.K. with what you have.
     
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    Steve K

    Hey, I'm gettin' bit...
    Jan 2, 2005
    12,671
    9,995
    Bishop
    Name
    Steve
    Boat Name
    18' Bayrunner, but I like the American Angler and the Red Rooster III
    I can take you to a conversation I had with a crew member on the American Angler, early summer '07 before my first 10 day to the Lower Banks, later that year when we would be targeting bigger tuna. He said, "Steve, we use the same topshot connection system that you use, Sato crimps. Just show up with your fluorocarbon and your reels loaded with spectra and let us take care of you. Just don't miss the boat!"
     
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    BlueSashimi

    Almost A Member
    Aug 19, 2014
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    D
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    C
    TL;DR.

    If you go with this set up, you can't go wrong

    4X Okuma Makaira SEa Mk10
    4X Okuma Makaira Sea MK15
    4X Okuma Makaira Sea MK16
    4X Okuma Makaira Sea MK20
    4X Okuma Makaira Sea MK30

    Pair all of them up with Calstar Graphiter rods.

    Nice and simple.
     
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    Olddog8

    Member
    May 13, 2012
    951
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    Poway,ca
    Name
    Rick
    Boat Name
    Sold long ago
    TL;DR.

    If you go with this set up, you can't go wrong

    4X Okuma Makaira SEa Mk10
    4X Okuma Makaira Sea MK15
    4X Okuma Makaira Sea MK16
    4X Okuma Makaira Sea MK20
    4X Okuma Makaira Sea MK30

    Pair all of them up with Calstar Graphiter rods.

    Nice and simple.
    You forgot the 50's, not a fan of the 15's either...
     
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    Ffiisshh0

    Newbie
    Oct 28, 2008
    80
    33
    Boston
    Name
    Rob
    Boat Name
    24 Hydra Sports CC
    I did my first 16 day trip 2 years ago. I can tell you fist hand every person on the trip brought far more chit than was needed!! Jamie being the worst offender! His gear alone was enough to outfit the entire boat!! I had 4 set ups, and that was more than enough. These long range guys are extremely helpful, but are over the top on how much crap they pile on these boats!! I thought I dint have enough stuff so I rented from the X. I never used any of their stuff as mine was more than adequate, (ATD 30s, Mak 20's & and a spinner. Was supposed to be refunded for the equipment rental, but check must still be in the mail!! Don't over load, you sound like you have everything more than covered with what you have. 80,100, 130, 150 floro, some ringed circles & ur good to go!
     
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    spinner

    Member
    Dec 2, 2007
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    Name
    mikegooing
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    when it comes to rigging and rigs,this is yourrrrrrrrrr vacation. you get to do what you want to do and just have fun. if you want to bring all your toys and or buy more toys,indulge yourself. if you can afford to take the time off to go on this trip,you have put in the time in your life to deserve it. do what ever makes that little 8 year old kid in you happy.
    now for what is really important, learn how to make connections. this is the #1 thing that you have to learn. you can rely on the crew,but they get busy and can make mistakes with connections. you do not want to go out there and have the time of your life and have a bunch of failed connections. decide what technique you are going to use and master it. then tie it to your car and try to break it,if you can,it is wrong.
    next, long range fishing like this can be the time of your life and at the same time very humbling and humiliating. because of your experience level, go with longer soft tip rods for fishing short top shots, they are also more forgiving and do not recoil as quickly as graphite rods do. i like the 2x4 and the glass blanks for this reason.
    when i first started my son long ranging,they recommended the graphite rods. he could not land a fish because of the chew offs. the rod was recoiling so fast ,that he could not keep up with it and the line would go slack and allow the fish to shake his head and grate the line with his teeth and chew him off. we went back to my e glass rods and he landed every fish. the rod would hold a bend and keep the line tight for him.
    justin on the big x once told me that he like circle hooks because most people are not able to keep constant tension on the line which leads to the fish throwing a j hook and more pulled hooks.
    so your rod selection needs to match your physical angling skill and experience to prevent hook pulls and throws and chew offs coupled with your physical ability to fight a fish with a short top shot and maintain constant tension on him the entire fight and take into consideration your experience as an angler with big fish.
    this will also dictate what types of hooks you will use.
    you also need to have a longer soft tip rod for ultra short top shots for scratch fishing,which is what happens 80% of the time. you will want to match this with a mak 20. this will be a great equalizer for you. it will give you the ability to fish with the best sticks on the boat because of the free spool on the mak 20. the longer rod will be forgiving enough to not pull the hook on a shorter top shot. this rod can also double for a big weather big swells rod.
    but again the most important component here, is your connection. nothing else matters if your connections are poor
     
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    alan760

    Member
    Dec 7, 2003
    541
    490
    Encinitas, CA
    Name
    Alan
    Boat Name
    American Angler
    Looks like you're well on the way. Maybe one more heavy rod, 6463XXXH or 770 or 775XXH. If you're thinking of something heavier, I would make sure you pull on a built up rod or blank before buying it. Also I stopped bringing an 80 lb outfit since it rarely got used but on a 17 dayer you might have some opportunities if smaller fish are around.
     
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