Credit: Bill Roecker
“We were in the water by 6 a.m. yesterday,” wrote skipper Joe Crisci, “in the skiffs and the kayaks. Most of the kayak guys went into some thick kelp and had very good calico bass fishing. The fish were big fat fish, a lot over five pounds. Cal went to a big boiler rock and also got some big ones. Tim and Allen went into a small bay and had great fishing. They were hitting everything, swim bait, slugs and even spinner baits.
“The big boat did a tour of the island for a few yellows and also some bass fishing. The wind came up in the afternoon and it got a little snotty. We moved back to the other spot for tomorrow, wish us luck. Q105 crew out!”
Fishing, Sport & Catching
I was just wondering if 40-pound line is able to put some good pressure on yellowfin up to 80 or so pounds and for dropper looping at Alijos. Some say 60-pound, some say 80 and some say 100. I was just hoping I could get your 2 cents.
Alec Robbie, Trabuco Canyon (by email June 5, 2009)
Credit: Bill Roecker
Alec, my take on tuna fishing is that it’s a sport. That means giving the quarry a sporting chance, “fair chase” as some would put it. You know from your 33-pound bluefin on 20-pound line that you can catch a tuna that’s well over (some would say triple or more) the weight of your line’s breaking strength with the right drag pressure and the short-stroke technique.
I seldom use heavier than 40-pound on tuna of less than 80 pounds. If they’re 100-pounders, I move up to 50-pound line. You could do it with lighter or heavier line, of course. All this is up to the angler, and his or her level of comfort. Lighter line draws more bites, don’t you think? And it’s much easier to handle and to feel your bait. Fluorocarbon leader is better than a good idea.
For general tuna bait fishing, I’d go even lighter with albacore, and use the above formula on bluefin, yellowfin and bigeye. I think you can catch any albacore on 20 or 25-pound line. My best is 45 pounds on 20-pound line.
Tuna: Let ‘em run until they turn and sound, then keep the pressure on, keep ‘em coming up, and move the drag up a little bit when they’re close to the boat. No use sniveling when one breaks or bites off—these fish exist in the millions. There’s plenty more. Most experienced tuna anglers wouldn’t be proud of a 40-pound tuna on 50-pound line, though that combo might be OK for a rookie’s first few fish.
There’s more argument for heavy line when dropper-looping. Still, 60-pound line with 25 pounds of drag ought to work on most yellowtail. The only tricky part is keeping them out of the rocks where they live, for the first few seconds. The same is true of dog snapper. I think success comes from technique and quickness, more than super-heavy line, but circumstances may dictate what’s needed. Try it both ways yourself, and let me know what you find.
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