Topgun80 - Historic 17 Cow BFTs 3.5 day report

IronMikeAC

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 2, 2013
579
603
torrance, ca
Name
Mike
Boat
Vagabond
I posted a short report yesterday from the water. Heres some more details.

Before the trip I got my group of 10 together and made sure they all had 50 class reels with 130 mono. They all thought I was crazy but they later found out that luck favors the prepared.

Several key things:

I had to re-rig several big flatfalls gotten from local stores. Small rings, connections with perfections loops, other stuff. we all used 500g Leadmasters. Do they flutter? I doubt it. They get down fast and straight.

Then I had my guys mark depths on their spectra based on arm pulls. 1 pull=3'. 33 pulls = every 100 feet. Make a 100 (1, 3" black mark) , 200', 300' (3, 3" black marks). This is key for controlled depth fishing. 6 of the 7 big flatfall fish were on marked rigs.I got 2.

Checkin at H&M/TG80 is a bit old school, Like Capt Bob. First come first serve. Get to boat early, load up. First day was a total HOT sauna. Hot, humid, miserable. Galley speech from Scotty was basic. First day 75 miles south for paddy and troll fishing. Then cow hunting at Clemente. Sardines were awesome. When at Clemente he said boat rules were this for the big fish. Doesn't matter who fights it, if you hook it, kite, balloon, jig, bait; its yours. Its all about getting them on the boat. Previous trip had a 300 that took a few hours to get with many soldiers pulling. Also, no mono needed. They were tying first spectra to hook. I was doubtful but it worked.

Days one off Ensenada was all rat fishing for tiny yfts and skippys. People got excited but whatever. Best stops on bigger Dorado on paddies. Better paddies found heading north to Clemente that generated a few stops.

4 AM - Clemente - boat stops. All flatfalls in the water on the drift. Capt call out BIg fish at 180 to 250.

4:30 I'm bit in the bow using my 50SW with 130. 150 yard big fish run to the stern. Slow crank in low gear gets him to the boat pretty quick, then up and down leveraged on the rail. 4 gaffs and thru the doors in 25 min. 216 pounds at the dock.

Now its 5am and 5 other guys bit on 500g flatfalls with 200 lb leader, 4 buddies using 50s and 50Ws and one 70 on 130 and depth marked spectra. Not everyone fishing that heavy on the trip and paid the price. One makes a long stern run where a private boater snags the line on their flatfall and thinks hes bit. After alot of loud exchanges across the dark water from captain and crew, the private guy sets the line free (cuts his flatfall?) and we get the fish to the boat. My buddy was angler on his first time big fish and kept forgetting to breath and almost passed and almost threw up a few times. I was his birthing coach for the fight. Finally after an hour 4 gaffs and thru the door. 225 # at the dock.

All 6 fish hooked that that stop were landed and the were all the biggest of the trip from 210 to 300 (293 at the dock).

Pictured below is first-time-big-fish-angler Reuben on his 225 on a Clemente morning. Holding his breath.

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Pictures below is the first 6 BFTs of the trip caught on flat-falls. All largest of the trip. 300lb JP is bottom right, No 5.

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After day break, it was all kite fishing on fresh frozen yummy fliers they caught on the previous trip. One kite flew 2 lines. Lots of blow outs on the fliers. Boat gear was Avet 30 wides 3/4 filled with spectra. They seemed undersized to me but all worked. Many rod tips dislodged. A big BFT was boated about every 2 hours. Most fish were finished off by the crew. I helped with alot of the 4 gaff fish which was alot of fun. All of these fish were 170 to 210. 15 in all over 2 days. Last morning and last evening 2 more 80-90lb fish caught on jigs. One flat fall and one pink/glow knife jig hooked and handed. $30 for 3 on Ebay.

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5336488034&icep_item=223057244740

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The crew was intent on getting everyone one of these fish, so no other attempt at island fishing. Just as well. In the end, we had 24 big BFTs for 24 anglers. Trip of a lifetime for sure. I think we also had the all time fleet record of 17 BFT cows, at least for a morning till the Vagabond (who else) pulled in with 24 biguns also. Not sure how many cows.

So what worked:

Best was 50 sized reels with 150 lb spectra and 130 lb leader set at 30 lb dra at strike, 55 full - but not in full strike on hook up. Alot of reels set at 25 lb or less at strike bottomed out on big fish. 30wide reels worked but the fight time all increased to over an hour. Poorly set drags on 30 sized reels, and 16 sized reels had fights up to 2.5 hours.

Assist hooks with big spectra on the TOP. Jigs rigged this way hooked the fish in the mouth, with the stinger hook in the gills that bled them during the fight and shortened the fight.

Depth marked spectra - when the Captian says "They''re at 180 to 250", drop to 300' mark, crank to 200 (50 cranks on 50 sized reel) then drop 15 second and do it again. Don't guess.

The crew - honestly they were short handed. Scotty as always worked his a$$ off, and cooked/deck hand Edgar was a machine. Tony is a goofball but does OK. Capt Bob helps when he can. Capt Bob - he was intense and intent on getting everyone a bigun. He SUCEEDED! He is totally old school and his ornery, gruff quips of "NO SHIT" and "HURRY UP DUMBASS" are now legendary with our group. T-Shirt material.

Be up early. - 4 am to 6 am is the entire jig show. Don't miss it.

What didn't work:

Undersized reels with undersized drags - Just cause your put 100 on it doesn't make it a 100 lb reels. Several hookups were on 16 sized or 4/0 reels on jigs. 2-2.5 hour hero battles with sons cheering dads only to lose them with a tackle failure of some sort. 2 were landed.

Old crappy light spectra on bottom assist hooks. We know this but some didn't get changed out. One hookup lasted 10 seconds before it chewed threw both lines.

Cheap rings - their failures were always on long fights. 20180813_064640.jpg 20180813_073940.jpg 20180813_074511(0).jpg 20180813_070728.jpg 20180813_074349.jpg
 
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SouthBayKiller

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 27, 2003
7,222
7,447
39
Long Beach, CA
Name
Robert
Boat
none
Thanks mike! Any pics of the winning flatfalls? Big J hook in the back with 2x9/0 owner beast asssit hooks?
 

IronMikeAC

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 2, 2013
579
603
torrance, ca
Name
Mike
Boat
Vagabond
Thanks mike! Any pics of the winning flatfalls? Big J hook in the back with 2x9/0 owner beast asssit hooks?
Sorry, no. Like mine, the flat falls were inhaled and had to be surgically removed thru the gills later without anesthisia. Not a pretty sight.

There were 9/0 stingers (I used the Owner Black hooks) with assist hooks at top. I like the smaller 5/0 for the top asst hooks
 
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SouthBayKiller

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 27, 2003
7,222
7,447
39
Long Beach, CA
Name
Robert
Boat
none
Sorry, no. Like mine, the flat falls were inhaled and had to be surgically removed thru the gills later without anesthisia. Not a pretty sight.

There were 9/0 stingers (I used the Owner Black hooks) with assist hooks at top.
Sounds good to me! Working on a setup to mark my line now. Not sure how I’m going to do it alone without making a mess.
 

rick Jackson

"Carpe diem"
May 28, 2015
438
299
Name
RIP Jim Peterson
Boat
Glasspar Avalon/SeaQuest
Could very well be the POY, Post of the year/ Sportboat edition.:_hot_:
 

IronMikeAC

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 2, 2013
579
603
torrance, ca
Name
Mike
Boat
Vagabond
Could very well be the POY, Post of the year/ Sportboat edition.:_hot_:
Thanks. Not sure if thats and actual award.....

There were literally 1000's of pics taken many by a professional fly fishing guide Chad from NoCal with a Fish and Game group. Awesome guys to fish with. Professional equipment but it will take a while till he posts them for access. Also above and below water video but its being edited.
 

IronMikeAC

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 2, 2013
579
603
torrance, ca
Name
Mike
Boat
Vagabond
Sounds good to me! Working on a setup to mark my line now. Not sure how I’m going to do it alone without making a mess.
Sounds good to me! Working on a setup to mark my line now. Not sure how I’m going to do it alone without making a mess.
If you have another 50 sized, do it by number of cranks on a reel to reel transfer. 50 for every 100 feet. Or come over to my house in Torrance.
 

SouthBayKiller

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 27, 2003
7,222
7,447
39
Long Beach, CA
Name
Robert
Boat
none
If you have another 50 sized, do it by number of cranks on a reel to reel transfer. 50 for every 100 feet. Or come over to my house in Torrance.
My biggest gun for this kind of fishing is a Mak 16. I might take you up on the offer.
 

Guideoutpost

Big Dave's biggest bluefin
May 26, 2018
97
93
Ca
Name
Dave
Boat
N/A
Here is the "Big Dave" outfit.

Avet 50 two speed filled with 130 hollow core on a custom rail rod based on a three by five ss blank, I love this rod. Scotty advised us to tie spectra directly to heavy duty ball bearing with a special knot he willingly tied for me. Three foot of 150 flouro and chaffing spring crimped to the single SOLID ring of mustad 6/0 heavy duty j-assist hook. The jig was then added using the supplied split ring which came loose during the battle , I lost the jig but got the trophy. Thanks to the advise of Blake and Beta at one of my favorite places to spend my allowance. I had a 7691 braised eye 9/0 hook on the bottom. 5 star didn't find the jig when it was processed.

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IronMikeAC

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 2, 2013
579
603
torrance, ca
Name
Mike
Boat
Vagabond
Here is the "Big Dave" outfit.

Avet 50 two speed filled with 130 hollow core on a custom rail rod based on a three by five ss blank, I love this rod. Scotty advised us to tie spectra directly to heavy duty ball bearing with a special not he willingly tied for me. Three foot of 150 flouro and chaffing spring crimped to the single SOLID ring of mustad 6/0 heavy duty j-assist hook. The jig was then added using the supplied split ring which came loose during the battle , I lost the jig but got the trophy. Thanks to the advise of Blake and Beta at one of my favorite places to spend my allowance. I had a 7691 braised eye 9/0 hook on the bottom. 5 star didn't find the jig when it was processed.
Plus a 2 toned silver and blue. The key to it all

View attachment 954711
 

Guideoutpost

Big Dave's biggest bluefin
May 26, 2018
97
93
Ca
Name
Dave
Boat
N/A
I stopped by the Huntington beach store and bought three 500 gram fall flats and two packs of the heavy duty 6/0 assist J hooks and I hope Guy can braise a ring to replace the top split ring if he can without harming the assist hook that has the Solid ring braided on. For the bottom I will have Guy braise a beefy ball bearing swivel and a 7691 9/0 big game hook.

One BIG CAUTION: There is a small piece of sharp wire under the paint on the top loop on the big glow style jigs of some models. It's easy to remove your self if you intend to rig leader to jig. I don't know why they need to paint the top ring. I hope the manufacturer can fix this flaw.

I intend to get some flouro bigger than the 150 I had left over from my last 15 day trip to hurricane bank that I used. These fish are powerful. I wonder how big the ones we didn't land were.

I'm wanting to go back and target these trophies again as soon as I can.
 
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Guideoutpost

Big Dave's biggest bluefin
May 26, 2018
97
93
Ca
Name
Dave
Boat
N/A
Top leader is what came back on the 293 bft.

Middle jig is what I fished after the initial jig came off.

Bottom jig shows dipping wire to scrape off the paint on top loop.

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