What reels?

Fish-n-Time

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Jun 17, 2004
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2
San Diego
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Marc
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35’ Cabo Express
What reels are you using when targeting marlin in Southern California waters?
I’ve been lucky to catch two marlin as a by catch of trolling for tuna but want to target them this year.
I’ve got a new boat this year so hope to put the hours in looking and hooking another marlin but want to have the right setups and not some random mix of reels I have now
Trolling reels?
Live bait reel?

Thanks,
Marc
 

waynesworld

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Apr 24, 2006
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Wayne
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Sold it -need a ride
My go to live bait reels are trinadads
t40 =30lb
T30=20lb
T20-16lb
My trollers are Tiagras 20 & 30
When the Blues were around -I went up to 50's
Need any lures?
 

Fish-n-Time

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Jun 17, 2004
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San Diego
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Marc
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35’ Cabo Express
Thanks for reply.
I haven’t done an inventory yet of my lure collection. I do have some from various trips to Baja and previous one off marlin trips in the old boat. Catching that striped marlin while tuna trolling has sparked a renewed interest in targeting marlin and with the bigger boat have something that will handle further offshore and more time on the water.

Marc
 

la vida

Now I love our Prezzz!!!
Jun 28, 2006
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Frank F
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Boat-less (Sad)
My first offshore trips on a private boat, my Marlin fishing old friends boat. Was crazy they would get upset at me for stopping the boat for Skippys or YFT caught on my small jigs. Marlin fishermen are obsessed with those pointie nose things.
Good times!
With today's reels anything with enough line to let them run around and to there thing.
Have fun it's a frustrating deal here in Southern California .
 

Shimano Penn

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Dec 3, 2014
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Best thing to do is put me on your boat . I have gear and lots of trolling experience, lived on St Thomas for 11 years .
 

tunanorth

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Dec 4, 2005
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Interesting note; PENN's "40" size star drags [not be confused with "40N's"] were specifically created for the crew of the Bad Company to use for marlin live bait casting.
They did not want something with "4/0" size sideplates and spools for casting bait, but wanted some extra line capacity beyond PENN's standard "30" size so that multiple hookups could be more easily handled.
The only two reels that come in this specific size are the "non-levelwind" star drag models Torque TRQ40 and Fathom FTH40.
Both of these also come with the "Live Spindle" feature, so the freespool and castability is enhanced.
 
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DavyJones

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May 2, 2012
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Mike.
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-------
Boy I hear ya Fish-n-Time about your renewed interest in marlin fishing. I caught the bug six or so years ago. I still consider myself quite the novice but I've got a few under my belt now. (the bills hurt when I bend over.:p:)

I troll four first generation Avet HX 5/2 reels with 200yds of 40lb mono backed by 200 plus yards of 80lb spectra. Haven't been spooled yet but I have been down quit a ways.

Can't wait for the season to get under way.

DavyJones.
 
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Fish-n-Time

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Jun 17, 2004
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San Diego
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Marc
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35’ Cabo Express
Thanks for the reply DavyJones.
Is 40 pound really enough? Have you had any bycatch bite you off?

Marc
 

DOGHOUSE26

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Feb 22, 2004
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We troll 30# on the riggers using Shimano 30 TLDs with 200 yards of 30# mono over 300+yards of 65 braid. We believe the lures swim better on 30#. On the short corners we have either International 30s or TLD30 Wide 2 speeds with 200 yards of 50# mono over 300-500 yards of 65 Braid. Our Bow caster bait rods are Trini 30s with 200 yards of 30 mono over 300 yards of 65 braid and our dropback bait rod is either a Penn 4/0 with braid and 50# mono or a Trini 30 with 65 Braid and 40# mono. Our preferred lures our Zuker 3.5s in MJG & PB; past 3 years we have put a 5.5 PB in the mix short and it gets bit often. We have played with a pink bird at times on calm days and had good success with a Sevenstrand 1220C Mackerel Clone behind the bird and we broke off our last bird bite trolling a pink/blue/silver Sevenstrand off the 152. Bleeding Mack and Hot Pink make it into our spread occasionally on days when we are in the zone and other boats are getting bit when our preferred lures are getting shut out. It is an ever changing sport from year to year so you always have to be thinking to be consistent.
 

DavyJones

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I think I've seen you out there DOGHOUSE26. If your boat's name is the same as your BD name. I too have a Blackman 26. It's the Outerbanks model.

No biteoffs for me from any by-catch Fish-n-Time but I have yet to hook a Mako. I've been running 130lb leaders on my trolling lures.

I've been running all Black Bart heads with skirts bought from local tackle stores. Here is a link: http://www.blackbartlures.com/xcart/home.php?cat=248

On my flat lines I have been running the Eleuthera Plunger head from Bart's medium tackle series in MJG and purple and silver. From my riggers I've been running the Pelagic Breakfast head and the Cabo Prowler jet-head from Bart's light tackle series. One in kind of a wine color purple with a blue back with black bars and experimenting with various other colors on the other rigger. No bites yet on the jet-heads but they look good and I think that it's only a matter of time.

This year, I'm going to change out the Eleuthera Plunger head on my short corner in favor of Bart's Mini 1656 Angle Nose to make more of a ruckus and see how that does.

DavyJones.
 

DOGHOUSE26

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Feb 22, 2004
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Yes that's me Mike we'll fish the Catalina Zone later in the season normally after the first week in September when the majority of fish move up that way. If you want to catch Makos slow your trolling speed down to 6-7 knots and wire up your lures, those Black Barts are not cheap! Purple & Black and Pink seem to get chewed the most. I lost more lures in 2 years when the wahoo were up this way than I ever lost to makos. For stripers we're using 12-15' 130# flouro leaders and the few times big blues have visited we swap out for 30' of 200-250
# flouro leaders and typically larger (5.5) lures in bright colors
 

DavyJones

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No interest in makos Jeff, and I'm fishing strictly for stripers. With the acceptation of 2015, blues visit our waters so rarely that I doubt I will ever see one. Now if I troll by a paddy and a yellow, dodo or tuna want to jump on my jigs there're welcome. They will be guest of honor at that afternoon's bar-B-Que.

For leaders, I'm running 10ft on my outrigger jigs and 15ft wind-ons for my flat lines with a swivel at 7'9". That way when I'm clearing the lines, I can just wind the swivel up to the rod tip and can leave the jigs in the water knowing that the jigs are right at the sea surface with no chance of them getting sucked into the props.

DavyJones.
 

Aliboy

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Dec 27, 2017
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David
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44ft Sportfisher
What size Stripies do you guys get there?
 

Aliboy

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Dec 27, 2017
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44ft Sportfisher
Interesting read for me. You guys fish a lot lighter than we do. Our Stripies average around 220lb and often exceed 300lb, occasionally going up to 400lb plus we also get Blues averaging maybe 400lb and up to 800lb or so. A 150lb Stripy here would be a slightly unusual catch, although I did see one jump (bill wrapped) on one of our rigger lines this year that looked like it might have only gone 100 - 120lb or so. Smallest one I have ever seen behind my boat. Would have called it for one of the Shortbill Spearfish (40lb - 100lb) we sometimes get here but it was in the wrong place to be one of those.
9 out of 10 of our Marlin are Stripies so we tend to fish 50lb line and move up to 80lb on the close in lures if there are a lot of Blues around. Also fish 80lb if livebaiting for Black Marlin around the offshore reefs as they can get seriously big. Some days we might drop down to 30lb or 20lb line, but usually only on pitch baits where we can see the fish size first and choose the line weight. Our leaders are normally 250lb or 300lb, but if the big Blues are around we sometimes go 400lb. The heavy leaders do allow for a quicker release as you can get serious with the fish boatside. Can't imagine fishing for Marlin with 130lb leaders or trying to subdue one boatside on that leader weight without a gaff.
 

DOGHOUSE26

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Feb 22, 2004
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David,
Its very rare we get to see Blues up here in Southern California I think there have only been 4 out of the last 40 years we actually had a enough in numbers you would have a decent chance at one.When they do come most guys are under gunned and either get spooled or break them off after a several hours long fight trying to get that last 20-30' on the reel. For some reason your Stripies and Yellowtail are much bigger on average than what we have up here. Now fishing 1000-1500 Kilometers south of here is a different story as the fishing in Cabo San Lucas in the summer & fall requires heavier line and reels like you are accustomed to.
 

Aliboy

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Dec 27, 2017
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David
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44ft Sportfisher
I guess our Stripies and Yellowtail are different stocks to the Northern Hemisphere fish. Sounds like SoCal is a juvenile Stripy feeding ground? What sort of water temps do you see during the season. We seem to see more smaller fish in that sub 200lb range when we have LA Nina weather patterns and the water temps are up a few degrees. That was the case this year. Early January run of Blues and Spearfish, then less Stripies through the rest of the season to May, with a smaller average size. In a 'normal' season we mainly get Stripies in water temps in the 65 - 73 deg F range. Have caught one in 63 deg water though. Our warm waters come down from the North in the summer currents and the coastal waters are usually a little cooler. Later in the season the Stripies will cross into the cooler waters if the bait is there, but the Blues seldom do. The few Blacks we get don't seem to be as temperature dependent. Swords are available all year around, with our Autumn and Winter months tending to be best.
Had a US friend out on a multi-day trip a few weeks back. Took him to some really remote places and he was fascinated to see & fish parts of NZ that he didn't know existed. Caught his first Yellowtail (Kingi in local slang) and at ~30lb was delighted. Then he caught his first Stripy at ~300lb and was a bit stunned. Did a good job for a first time angler (listened to the instructions) and we got a nice release. I suspect the photos have been doing the rounds of all his US friends emails.
 

DavyJones

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May 2, 2012
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I can't wrap my head around the idea of seeing a 400lb striper crash my jigs. All I can see in my mind is that thing jumping off with my expensive marlin jig. Right Jeff?

I am somewhat familiar with NZ fishing. Spending time pouring through the internet looking for marlin stuff, I stumbled across an excellent fishing show called Ultimate fishing TV. Everyone on this board should google it up and check it out. Assuming everyone in this forum is interested in marlin fishing, this show has some video footage that will make your head explode. Two things to look for. One is an eight minute video talking about marlin taste and fishing stripbaits. The other is a twenty minute full episode with no commercials called "Big Striped marlin". All I will say is that NZ has schools of big striped marlin like we here in California have schools of mackerel. Plus some other "I can't believe it" video footage. David, if you ever see Matt, tell him he has a fan here on the left coast of the USA and thank him for producing an excellent show and making it available to us for free.

By the way David, the average water temps. we find our marlin in here is pretty much the same as yours.

DavyJones
 
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Aliboy

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Dec 27, 2017
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David
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I don't know Matt personally, but one of my regular crew was instrumental in getting Matts show to air. They are a fun watch and Matt plays to the audience pretty well. My friend owned a bunch of ITM stores before he retired and helped set up the ITM sponsorship for the show. Reckons it turned out to be a really good investment.

Stripies on 50lb or 80lb line pretty much never bust off here if you are doing things right. I can only remember busting off 2 Stripies in the past 20 years. Both on 30lb line. One was a rod failure and the other was me being lazy and not checking the drag properly. Cost me my favourite, out of production lure. We do get a lot of bill wrapped fish though. They tend to run long and deep before jumping and throwing off the wraps. If a Marlin doesn't jump pretty quickly after the hook up here I will call it for a bill wrap and be right 75%+ of the time. Had one on a trip a couple of weeks back. Told the new anglers on board that the fish wasn't hooked as it peeled off 100m or so of line with the reel howling. They looked at me, the fish jumped, they pointed at it, and the line went limp. Bill rash 18" up the leader. Damn fish had piss poor aim. No wonder it was so small.

Whilst we can (& do) get multi Marlin days fishing the coast here, a more normal result is a Marlin landed/tagged/released every 2 or 3 days and a few more seen following the lures or getting bill wrapped and jumping off. Some days though you get double and even triple strikes. Those are my favourite challenges as a captain. The good thing is that the fish are almost always a good size. I work the boat for a 20 - 30 min fight time. That means the angler has had enough, the fish is relatively manageable at the boat (some aren't though) and they can usually be released without lots of reviving. Once you go over 30 minutes you risk getting a very tired fish to the boat, and much under 20 mins I tend to just grab the leader and quickly cut the hook off as the fish can get badly hurt jumping hard on the leader. Only usually do that if fighting a multi fish strike though. Livebaiting is all circle hooks and mostly on bridle rigged baits which normally gives a mouth hook up. We use non-stainless live bait hooks just in case,

If you want NZ's best Marlin action with regular multi fish days there are uninhabited islands around 45NM north of the tip of NZ called the Three Kings. That is a bucket list destination for Marlin, Yellowtail Kingfish, Swords, and a bunch of other deep dwellers. Some of the footage you watched is probably from there. I get up there when we can and when there are marlin holding there. Anchorages are pretty exposed and the waters can be pretty rough. Exciting place though.
The footage with literally schools of Marlin behind the lures and 20 - 30 fish days is mostly from an underwater SeaMount ~350NM nor-west of NZ. Haven't got there yet myself, but the boys keep talking about it so we will see. It's a long way into the middle of nowhere on a 44ft boat.

Some of Matts other shows are about the local Snapper. These are the most sought after fish in NZ ,and some of the most popular shows. Maybe not as exciting for international viewers. Couple of weekends back we were fishing not very far from where Matt lives and had a session that would have been proud viewing on one of his shows. Four life time trophy fish in 2 hours. A couple to anglers who had been trying for this for 30 years and another to a guy who caught his first ever fish the previous day. Fortunately I don't think Matt, or anyone else. knows this particular spot that I first found 25 years ago. Took all the fish photos facing out to sea so no clues in them about the location ;-) What it shows is that whilst a show with a good sponsor can do some fishing that the average guy can't, there is a lot of that stuff here that an average fisherman can aspire to achieve as well. We are really lucky with our fishery.
 
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bloody salt n00b

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Sep 14, 2014
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J
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Triumph 195 CC
For all who have shared, thank you! I have no experience in this area and I am wondering if any around have experience in raising them from a small (19-20ft) center console with an outboard. Still less than 1 yr with this boat after about 2 yrs with a 16' aluminum. Would I be wasting my time (and the time of others I rope into the journey)? I get the learning process and enjoy it.
 

DOGHOUSE26

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Feb 22, 2004
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We start to see a few marlin scouts in late June /early July along with the front edge of tuna schools coming up from the south when the water is 64-65 degrees Fahrenheit and by August they start showing in schools 40-60 miles below the U.S./Mexico border and continue to move north into U.S. waters in September when water reaches 70-72 degrees in the Catalina Bight. They hang around until mid October and when the water temp falls to 66 degrees they usually hit the road and head south. They will stay longer even if the water falls to 64 degrees when there is an abundance of bait. Over the past 10 years we have seen the water temps get as high as 80-82 degrees which allows the fish to stay longer sometimes into December and also travel farther up the Coast to the upper Channel Islands. In La Nina years it might only get to 68 degrees and the bulk of the fish will stay close to the border but that is a rare experience.
 

DOGHOUSE26

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Feb 22, 2004
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26 Blackman Billfisher
For all who have shared, thank you! I have no experience in this area and I am wondering if any around have experience in raising them from a small (19-20ft) center console with an outboard. Still less than 1 yr with this boat after about 2 yrs with a 16' aluminum. Would I be wasting my time (and the time of others I rope into the journey)? I get the learning process and enjoy it.
That's how I started in a 17' Gregor Aluminum with a 40 HP Johnson Outboard and a Dial A Chart no GPS in the late Seventies. It can be done but there's a lot of luck involved when you're in a skiff because you are so low to the water it's harder to see the fish in the water to know You're in the right place. You have to rely more on the bird's reaction to what they are seeing and you have to be able to recognize the larger boats in the fleet that fish for marlin on a daily/weekly basis and see where they are concentrating their efforts. I think you are at a disadvantage trolling with an outboard as I don't think the outboard motor noise will attract fish to the back of your skiff like diesel motors do to larger craft. Its still a lot of fun and it doesn't matter what kind of sled you're on when you see and throw bait to them.
You can really speed up your learning curve by trailering your skiff to the calm waters of East Cape Baja and fish from late May to July or when the water cools in early October thru November when the marlin are close to the shore, plentiful, and hungry! Up here your best chances if you're in the L.A. area would be the off the Slide @ Catalina, the Avalon Bank, the 14 mile Bank, and the 267/279 off Dana Point. On really calm days maybe the 209/277. You have to pick your days to go offshore in a 16' skiff and be smart and safe about it.

Edit: I just noticed you now have a 19' Triumph CC. I think your only limit to how far you can go is on the fuel you can carry; that's a nice upgrade from an aluminum skiff. 277, 209, 181, even as far south as the 182 & 43 on calm days. That's the perfect Baja ride; you really increase your chances on gamefish below the border.
 
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Aliboy

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Dec 27, 2017
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NZ
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David
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44ft Sportfisher
Huge numbers of Marlin here in New Zealand caught from 20ft outboard boats, As Doghouse suggests, you will probably catch more with a couple of big diesel churning the water, but you can certainly catch Marlin from your outboard boat. One thing to realise though is that you will burn your gas really fast if trolling at 8knts or more to keep up with the big boats. Max efficient displacement speed on a 20ft hull is normally more like 6.5knts. At that speed you need to select your lures to match the speed rather than buying all the ones that people run well at 8knts. Outriggers giving some extra height to the lure tow point can help as well.
 

DavyJones

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May 2, 2012
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19
Southern Cal. USA
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Mike.
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-------
Aliboy, I've been studying the Pakula website. Peter has some beautiful skirt colors. I Emailed the Pakula website to inquire but it's been days with no answer. Do you know it Pakula sells to the USA? If so, can you supply a link to get me started. And your average day sounds so much like an average day here on this coast. At least for a beginner like me. I know the local marlin snipers with their well trained crews often do a lot better.

Bloody salt noob. If you are really interested in getting into local marlin fishing this year. The internet is just a gold mine of knowledge. As noted above, I consider myself to be very much the beginner but I have spent many hours on the internet plus I have had a lot of help from a local marlin sharp shooter and last year was something of a breakthrough year for me. Between the internet, my sharp shooter friend, and the fish actually responding to my efforts, I learned a lot. PM me and I will share some good websites and videos that you can learn from. Be advised though, I have never used PM on this website before so it may take a while to find and learn how to use it.

DavyJones.