Jonathan Roldan – BAJA BEAT

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Thursday, September 13, 2018
Please steal my car!
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
As it should be

When bigger isn’t better
It’s always open for discussion, but personally, I don’t think any fish down here pulls harder than a tuna. It’s basically an explosive muscle with some fins on it.

Built for speed and shaped like a bullet, they have no swim bladders and can dive fast, swim fast, and empty a spool faster than any fish I’ve ever experienced.

Sure, wahoo have that flat-out greyhound speed of 60 to 70 mph bursts. But once that short burst is over, it’s not gonna rip off several hundred yards yards of line.

A yellowtail, amberjack, huge grouper or snapper might bull rush back to its structure or layer, but once you work the fish away from the protection, the big part of the battle is won.

And think about this. Folks catch 100-, 200-, 300-pound marlin quite frequently. You don’t hear of many tuna of that size being caught.

Hooked? Yes. Caught? Not so much!

Most anglers I know could bring a 150-pound billfish to the boat in 15 or 20 minutes. Even a rookie. A tuna of equal size could take an hour or two on the same tackle.

They are a special sportfish.

But, they are picky sportfish too. And when the big boys start boiling, your first inclination is to grab your big guns too! Big fish… big baits… big line… big rods.

And that all works fine when the fish go on the chew with abandon. When all hell is breaking loose and they’re hammering everything tossed in the water and fighting each other to grab lines, then by all means reach into your heavy arsenal.

But, often the frustration with tuna is they boil… but will have nothing to do with your offerings. Or they stay just outside of casting distance and get nervous whenever something approaches like a boat, a jig or a tossed sardine.

That’s when you have to make a choice. Stay with the heavy gear and be ready for the big hit… that may never come.

Or do something different.

Tuna are a persnickity fish.

Think about this. They never stop swimming. They must eat. All they do is eat to keep up that pulsing swimming physiology and high metabolism. But, how do you get them to eat YOUR stuff?

Go lighter. Go smaller. Be stealthy.

Discard the heavy gear and the prospects of having limp line all day and go to your “small game.”

I’ve seen tuna go off when all the angler did was change from 50- to 40-pound test. Or drop from 40- to 30-pound test. Same fish. Same area. That’s the only difference.

That puts more of the odds in the fish’s favor, but at least you stand a better chance of getting bent. At least you have that opportunity.

The other thing is to go for smaller baits. Dorado don’t care about your bait size. Wahoo and yellowtail could care less.

For some reason, tuna like the smaller baits. Live bait is great. Often, dead works just as well.

But that also involves other factors. Smaller baits mean using smaller hooks! Again, advantage to the fish.

Match your hook to the size of your bait. Don’t match your hook to the size of the fish you want to catch!

If your hook is too big, it kills your bait. If your hook is too big your bait won’t swim correctly.

And by the same token, if your line is too heavy, your bait won’t swim correctly either. Just another reason to go to lighter line. But again, you’re stacking the odds in favor of the fish.

One other big advantage involves the eyesight of the tuna. They can see lines. They can see the reflection of light on that mono as it lies in the water and that can make the fish wary.

We found down here in La Paz that fluorocarbon leaders can make all the difference in the world in getting bit. Virtually invisible, the line invites more strikes. But even a few feet of fluro leader gives you a better shot.

But again, fluro is more brittle than mono. Older fluro tends to also be more rigid and hinders the “swimability” of your bait. And it can break! There goes your gorilla tuna.

Choices… choices.

Heavy gear for that big fish, but maybe never get bit?

Or lighter gear and having some fun?

If your rod is never bent, then you’ll never have a chance at all. I’d rather get bit. It’s a lot less boring!

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