Sport Boat Fishing Setups – What to Bring?
For just about any sportboat trip, including most overnight trips, I bring three setups to cover most of the techniques I might need to use. These sport boat fishing setups are: bass setup (9 ft Teramar, OG brown, rated 15-30, with a Tranx 400), 30 lb. bait setup (Tallus 80H, with Trinidad 16A), and my jig stick (9ft Teramar XH, Tranx 500). If there’s a chance we might rockfish, then I’ll bring either a Lexa 400 or Tranx 500 with all braid and trade out the reel on one of the 2 bigger setups.
Those setups are the first three in my rack. This combination of rigs has proven to be more than adequate for a majority of the trips I go on. It makes it really easy to plan what to bring. I start with those three setups, and then if there’s a specific presentation important to that trip, or that I want to emphasize for whatever reason, I can add a rig for that. Pretty easy.
The introduction of cow sized bluefin into our fishery changed the calculus.
By the time you read this post, I’ll be on the deck of the New Lo-An fishing with Capt. Adam Williams. I’ve had some memorable trips with Adam dating back to when he was on deck and then eventually running trips on the Eclipse. I have Adam to thank for putting me on my personal best yellowail, a beast just north of 40 caught in deep water, on a heavy jig off Colonet (right).
This trip is an overnight trip focused on catching bluefin and yellowtail.
The yellows aren’t anywhere near the size of my personal best fish. The current offshore models range from under-10 to maybe 15 pounds at the top end. The day boats like The San Diego have been loading up on this grade of yellowtail on the current offshore trips they are doing (below).
As far as the bluefin go, the majority are say 40-70 pound class. Very nice fish, but not tackle busters. That being said (and previously reported in this column), they’ve run into some much bigger fish too. The picture top was from a couple weeks ago when they put three fish on the deck over 100 pounds, with the largest going 190.
What’s an angler to do?
There’s a fine line between being well prepared, and being THAT GUY. You know the guy. He comes on the boat looking like he’s going on an 8 day. There’s not enough room on the rack for all his rods, so he’s using the spare rocket launchers on his oversized tackle box to store a few more. The extra rods that lie in wait, looking to snag your line on your backcast. THAT GUY.
Here are some tried and true tips to lighten your load without being underprepared.
Number one, ASK THE CREW. If you don’t know any of the crew, just call ahead to the landing and ask them. They’ll tell you what’s been working and what types of sport boat fishing setups to bring. Remember, everyone wants you to succeed. If you catch fish, you’ll be happy and let your friends know, and you’ll all come back together for another trip.
KEEP IT SIMPLE. Right now the primary methods of catch are various size bait setups and on the flatfall. This being the case, do you really need a tray of poppers and 2 popper setups to throw 2 sizes of poppers? NO. Are you bringing them to catch fish or showoff the depth and breadth of your collection?
THINK FLEXIBILITY. Can one rod/setup fit multiple applications by just changing out some topshot, or a reel?
I ended up taking 5 rods and 8 reels for the trip. I wanted to try and keep it to 4, but not bad. Through mixing and matching rods and reels, changing out topshots and the like, I’ve got sport boat fishing setups ready to fish from 20 to 100 pound test. I’ll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck.
Good luck if you get out there.