Thoughts on going old school on these BFT?

Shimano Penn

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Please if you are too young to have ever actually used this gear keep your thoughts to yourself, I am asking guys who actually have used it. I still have my 90's era gear including a couple IGFA 80# class Penn Int'l 2 5'-6" stand up rods paired with 30SW2's blueprinted and hot rodded by Cal Sheets. The reels are loaded with fresh 130# JB hollow core braid. I have 100 and 130# fluorocarbon wind-ons for them too. Yes they are heavy, but my thinking is that the short rod may reduce the leverage advantage these big fish have when trying to pull me over the side :rolleyes: This gear was designed to be used while strapped in to a harness which is impractical on a party boat so I have to wonder if it's a good or bad idea. I have seen a few such rods land big fish on my last couple trips and I think I might try it. What do you think? Will I regret it ? :(

Edit: Forgot to mention roller guides removed and replaced with turbo guides by M&M when I had Cal do the reels. Rods/ reels never used since then.
 
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Luke

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Aug 19, 2006
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The reels are fine but as you already know they will wear you out due to weight and width. The rods will perform too except they will put you at a severe disadvantage when a bigger BF is at deep color. The larger models can get very “squirrelly” when they get close to the boat. Many are lost when this happens. I believe a shorter rod makes this situation even worse. You need to quickly respond to keeping the fish away from the side of the boat and the gear under the boat. A mere touch with high pressure can result in losing the fish.

Net/net - will the old school gear work, yes but going in know you could be at greater risk on a big one.
 
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IronMikeAC

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Aug 2, 2013
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Mike
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Please if you are too young to have ever actually used this gear keep your thoughts to yourself, I am asking guys who actually have used it. I still have my 90's era gear including a couple IGFA 80# class Penn Int'l 2 5'-6" stand up rods paired with 30SW2's blueprinted and hot rodded by Cal Sheets. The reels are loaded with fresh 130# JB hollow core braid. I have 100 and 130# fluorocarbon wind-ons for them too. Yes they are heavy, but my thinking is that the short rod may reduce the leverage advantage these big fish have when trying to pull me over the side :rolleyes: This gear was designed to be used while strapped in to a harness which is impractical on a party boat so I have to wonder if it's a good or bad idea. I have seen a few such rods land big fish on my last couple trips and I think I might try it. What do you think? Will I regret it ? :(

Edit: Forgot to mention roller guides removed and replaced with turbo guides by M&M when I had Cal do the reels. Rods/ reels never used since then.
The 30sw are fine, the question is what drag were they blusprinted to for freepool.

As for the rods, they are not good with the current style of rail fishing. Believe it or not they can be lengthened from the butt end. Or buy some good 100lb class uses rods.

As for the weight of the reel, put to foregrip on the rail even when jigging or bait fishing or some guys rig a simple shoulder harness with a single clip.
 
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surfgoose

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    The gear will work fine, it is just harder on you physically. And the short broomstick rods are the reason why all of the boats fishing tuna have "Y" poles in the stern along with the gaffs, to help push the line out away from the boat hull and running gear.

    If you are a short to average-sized man, under 5'11", then you have an advantage in using the old-school stand-up gear. I watch Dennis Braid kill a lot of tuna bigger than he was with clinical efficiency. Me, not nearly as effective, my longer legs and back seemed to hurt the leverage.

    Now if you paired those still-great reels with modern rods, the tuna would probably not even fight long, they would feel themselves being hauled towards the boat and just go to the surface and wave a fin and surrender.
     
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    UnBelievable

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    Jul 19, 2013
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    The shorter rod days allowed for leverage against the fish, these were the non parabolic years. A typical rail rod today finds the sweet spot at just over 6’8” or so. This allows for the reach away from the rail when the up and down pinwheel or near the end. The rail rod today will do much of the heavy lifting for you. Since you are old enough to own a 5’ rail boss type rod know it can be done. Let’s face it, anyone who tells you different most likely is a keyboard cowboy whom takes pride in editing forums and not fishing or better yet CATCHING. The bottom line here is you pay to go fishing, short old school will land the fish and total the angler for the balance of the trip. You will be a very sore puppy, I’ve seen it many is the time! Newer technology rods will save time and pain. I’ve had spinal fusion which allows me to fish, without the surgery I would be a spectator. The important part of the equation is when bluefin are in the mood, do you catch one fish or 4 in the 150-333lb class. That’s for the rod. Reels are also very different now, built for braid are smaller and lighter and have optimized the gear ratios for braid. The good old internationals will work, I have about 13 or so that look excellent and work as they should. If your on a long range boat just walk the rail and see what are the most prominent brands. Top two are Penn and Okuma Makaria. I prefer the Maks as they keep salt out of the reel a bit better. Yes I do a complete tear down every year as I use my gear. Let’s face it, you do this for fun and memories and a great meal. Stack all the odds in your favor, and the obstacles are very present such as sharks, ridge cut offs, sharks and more sharks. And oh yes just a few more sharks for good measure. On one trip BIG BLUE ate 9 in a row of my fish. She would wait for you to exhaust the fish and just about when you could see good color, a dark submarine would appear and eat your tuna in one bite. That being said today’s cows and Super Cows are kite fish on boat gear and for the most part the new good stuff depending on the boat. You can have the best bait on 2lb floro and not get a look, the want the flyers. My suggestion to you for the quickest learning curve as the the crew will really help and explain everything to you is the Vagabond with Mike Lackey. He is also catches his fresh full color flyers the evening before and it’s really something to experience. I’m putting up a pic of my best Bluefin of 333 at the scale verifiable by non other than Capt. Mike. Not to brag but know this……I DONT WANT TO EDIT THE POSTINGS HERE BECAUSE I FISHING. ALL THE BEST TO YOU! Fish on and enjoy this sport while you can!
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    Shimano Penn

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    Nice to have friends around to talk you down when you get too high 8-) I've already pretty much talked myself out of it, might bring it along next weekend just in case I'm feeling sporty :rolleyes:
     
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    UnBelievable

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    Jul 19, 2013
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    Here is another solution. Book a trip on the Searcher. Captain art carries an arsenal of loaner rods for you to try before you buy. He is also a captain you can count on to put you on fish and he will. The mystery part of the equation is if the Bluefin will be in the mood! I would suggest a trip of 3-4 days if you can get on. Try to book on the Gibbous moon. This MAY up the odds on a local Clemente area trip. Take your current gear and talk to the deck boss and they will really help you out. Don’t forget the 15-20 percent tip if they earn it….
    Another option is a trip to Gaudalupe Isle. Lots of folks think this is monster tuna fishing…..it is not. Years ago it was all Bluefin and we could fish the deep side of the island, today American flagged boats via permit can fish the other side only. Again if the Yellowfin come to play it’s a boatload of fun……except for the sharks. When the anchor chain goes down, it’s the tax mans dinner bell. They go from boat to boat and eat your tuna like hot pockets! Do a minimum of 6 days as you will burn 3 of them in travel 1 1/2 day each way, 3 days to fish on a 6. My understanding is the ISLE GAUDALUPE is an option this year. Again good luck.
     
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    2Rotten

    Live in Oregon/Love to Fish San Diego!
    Jan 10, 2010
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    24' North River Seahawk Hardtop "Sun Dog"
    S P you may have all you need but here are a couple more anecdotes. Last year on New Lo-An a friend brought a vintage 6' stick with an older reel loaded with 100# braid. He managed to land a 170# BFT but needed help to seal the deal from the deck hand... Grueling fight... He was whipped... Couldn't get any lift from the rod. Took nearly 90 minutes to kill the fish.

    2 weeks ago on Tomahawk similar rig, the 100# reel had plenty of drag for the fight, but the 6' stick was completely bottomed out the entire fight. This angler also needed help from the Deck Hands. Definite Cow-sized BFT. After 90 minutes they were less than 10' from the gaffs when the jig hook pulled...
     
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