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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
If you exhaled or laughed at the title, you owe me £10! Not a cheap sport I know, not a rich man either but I have to hunt tuna if it's the last thing I do! Have them at my doorstep in 2 months time.

Target: 80-150lb blue fin tuna.

What I think I need:
  • 100lb braid, 300 metres
  • Spinning rod
  • Spinning reel
  • Mono leader 150lb? (to keep cost down)
  • Bits and bobs (swivel, crimps, lures etc)

Local tuna guru sells rods for £500+ and reels for £700+. I want to keep my budget as close to £500 as I can.

Eyed up the following but need advice.

Reel: Shimano Spheros SP20000SW, takes braid upto 100lb test / 340 yards. 41lb drag, ratio 4.4.1
Around £150-200

http://m.tackledirect.com/shimano-spheros-sw-offshore-spinning-reels.html

Rod: okuma azores okm-0694, 6ft, power MH, line weight 50-100lbs. Around £180

http://m.tackledirect.com/okuma-azores-jigging-rods.html

For the braid I have powerpro in mind unless you guys suggest an equally good but cheaper alternative. J braid? Am I off my rocker with this setup? Need your advice.

EDIT: The type of fishing I'll be doing is casting lures (on boat) over the tuna and occasional live baits if the lures aren't doing the job.
 

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I'm lucky enough to be able to tackle many species of tuna often so close to shore you can catch them from the rocks, even trips out in our little rib can sometimes get us among the fish on just a few litres of fuel.

The size tuna you mention are easely within the grasps of the gear you mention, even bigger fish including marlin etc. Cheaper than a day out wrecking for me:)

There really aren't very many people who can fight fish without a chair for more than a few minutes with drags over 12kg ( give it a try to feel how heavy 12kg feels on the end of a rod ).

Like many fish when you start using heavy leaders you catch rate falls, at times we will have barrel sized tuna feeding on baits we drop over the side but won't touch a bait with a hook on 80 lb mono traces. Drop down to 40 lb and sometimes they will take a bait, a lot of the time they will take the heavier trace but I normally start with mamoi diamond 50 lb and a small circle hook.

For our best run of bluefin we do head further offshore to seamounts that rise from around 3000m deep to 1400m during winter. These fish are often well over 100kg, so far we've only hooked them to around 80kg but in the 40 to 80 kg size they are far more plentyfull.

My daughter was knocking them over on a short parabolic rod and either her saragosa 8000 or the newer version 10000, one with 30 lb braid and the other with 40lb ( both with mamoi 50 lb leaders joined with a pr knot).

My advice would be to go for a max of 50-65 lb braid with a max of 80 lb leaders, this would be the same for cubing, pulling hard body luress or skirts.

If you get stuck head over this side of the world, we litrely stopped fishing on a recent trip due to the amount of small yellowfin and mackerel tuna we kept hooking. If you want to try a tougher fighting fish head to New Zealand where you can try yellowtail kingfish as well as good numbers of bluefin.

This was my daughter at 14 knocking over two fish that grabbed her bait ( pilchard head the size of the top of your finger) from the surface next to the boat.

 

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Agree with JonD: you'll need more than 300m of line, but not as heavy as 100lb. You can get 400-450m of 50lb braid on to a 10000 size reel. Something like a Saragosa will be fine and will last a while.
You seem to have gone with a jigging rod without suggesting you'll be jigging. I've used that style of Okuma rod, though not a 1pc and not that model, and lost about 1ft off the tip on a 100lb yellowfin in Mexico, so they do have flaws. If you're casting lures, a 6ft rod isn't ideal - maybe a Daiwa Tournament Gobal might be better.
Jon is also correct about tippet. Tuna can be very line-shy so it's worth getting good-quality fluorocarbon in a variety of breaking strains from 30-100lb.
Finally I'd have to say that while fishing for tuna in that size-range on that style of tackle is fun, if the fish are shoaling it can wipe you out physically. When a tuna has finished running and diving and all the fancy stuff, it lies on its side and swims in circles, and you have to winch them up inch by inch, using the inward part of the circle to steal a bit more line each circuit. It puts constant strain on every past of your outfit, not to mention your body. Every item you choose needs to be of high quality: the hooks, line, braid (Power Pro is fine) and, if you're using lures, split rings and trebles. That can be as expensive an outlay as the rod or reel ... something to bear in mind when budgeting.
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys, some very good information so far. Received some solid PMs too.

I have talked to local anglers with years of experience, talked to the guys at the tackle shop, talked with fellow boaters etc and the general consensus is 80lb braid with a 130-150lb mono leader. I walked into those conversations expecting them to recommend fluorocarbon leader as seems to be the recommended on youtube and on here.

Everyone has mentioned to invest wisely on a rod and I'm leaning towards the Daiwa Saltiga GT86. I've already bought a Penn Spinfisher SSV9500 reel and paired it with 80lb powerpro, got over 400 metres of the stuff (not spooled yet).

Decided on this reel as it represented value for money at £100 and I intend to have more than one setup in the future and this would make a capable backup. Wanted the Shimano spheros 20000 but I now have more money to spend on a decent rod.

One question that I haven't found the answer to yet. When do you go for trebles over single hooks on lures?

Sidenote as I didn't mention it on my OP. Fishing location is the Straits of Gibraltar.

Cheers
 

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No point in going too crazy with braid strength as the reel 'only' has 40lb of drag, although that'll be more than most people can deal with.

If fishing from a boat I'd not go above 8' for the rod. I've got a Daiwa Tournament Global, and while it's great for casting big lures the length does get a little unhelpful if fish are swimming around quickly.

As mentioned above don't forget to factor in lures, split rings and spare hooks etc as it can mount up pretty quickly. I only use inline singles for safety as the last thing you want is one 6x treble in you with the other in an angry fish flapping around.
 

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We tend to not use trembles as we release most bluefin ( trebles tend to damage fish and make them hard to handle for release). As for drag on a spheros, I had an 18000 with two spools which I estimate as around 8-9kg of useable drag on a short parabolic rod. Drag ratings are often over rated by manufacturers by quite a bit.

If you feel happy going with 80lb braid then go for it, I gauantee you won't be putting any more pressure through your outfit than someone using 40 lb braid. If you use a long non parabolic I doubt you will be able to put more than 6-7kg drag through the outfit.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks guys. Was already having second thoughts about the rod due to the length and you guys have swayed me against it. It's a shame as it looks like a decent rod at a great price (£250-270).

Looks like my search continues but I'm biting the bullet and will spend more money than I had planned. Any recommendations in the £300-400 mark would be appreciated. I'm having trouble finding certain rods from the American market in the UK market.
 

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Thanks guys. Was already having second thoughts about the rod due to the length and you guys have swayed me against it. It's a shame as it looks like a decent rod at a great price (£250-270).

Looks like my search continues but I'm biting the bullet and will spend more money than I had planned. Any recommendations in the £300-400 mark would be appreciated. I'm having trouble finding certain rods from the American market in the UK market.
You are going to find it hard to find the choice of rods the other parts of the world have simply because there's not much market for them. Those who do need higher end and game gear usually buy it in the country they are targeting those species.

If you want a rod that isn't going to break the bank that will handle tuna, sails and other billfish have you looked at the Shimano Terrez range. These rods tend to feel much lighter than the stated rating, I have a 7.2 ft 40-80 class that will flick or troll lures down to 60g but still have guts to handle big tuna etc ( though I normally use the much easier short parabolic rods ). The terrez would also be ok on smaller less challenging fish, so not just something for those every now and then trips.

All these ship worldwide and have fantastic service.

Melton tackle

Tackle direct

Alltackle
 

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Kieron, you don't say what sort of fishing (lure, bait, dynamite) you'll be doing, and that will probably have a significant bearing on rod suggestions.
I'd never turn my back on local advice, but 80lb braid and 130lb leaders sound way too heavy for such small (I'm using comparative terms) fish. Catching tuna is not really a question of brute strength and if it were, the tuna would win most times. Technique and sound practice are the key, and this starts with the bait and hook, goes via the knots and joins, through the tackle, and ends in the angler's mind.
Once the fish has finished fannying about with runs and dives, all you need to do is keep the head above the horizontal once it starts circling; and then have the willpower and stamina to see the fight being won in small increments - sometimes just inches - on the retrieve. You can chuck as much money as you like at the fish but if you don't have the right mindset, all that gear is going to be expensive toast. The commercial guys off Pacific Mexico don't agonise over top gear: just beat-up red Penn Senators and beat-up Penn glass boat rods is what they use, and they rarely lose a fish because they know how tuna behave and how to deal with that behaviour.
So there's no one magic formula that fits all tuna fishing. You've got to be flexible. These Pacific fish feed in shoals, competitively, but even then keep their smarts about them. Sometimes you need to scale down to 30lb fluoro to get a bite. Sometimes you've showering sardines on them, so you're using size 2 circle hooks. You're fishing for 50-150lb yellowfins on 30lb mono and tiddly little hooks ... if that's what it takes to get a bite, you'll need a bit of give in the rod, a lot of capacity in the reel, and to back off on the drag. And a certain level of physical and mental toughness, cos it's going to be a long haul.
Oh ... and I'd never use trebles. Wide gape extra strong singles for lures, circles for bait. The latter because if you're in for a long fight, you know the mono is in for lots of chafing if the fish is deep-hooked using a J. Circles should just pull through on the scissors, which also helps to keep the fish's head above the horizontal.
Which is what you want to win that battle.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Kieron, you don't say what sort of fishing (lure, bait, dynamite) you'll be doing, and that will probably have a significant bearing on rod suggestions.
Edited my OP to specify.

I just want to make sure that I'm buying the correct gear. I've been learning/researching a lot but there are so many types of rods with different specs that it caught me off guard. I get recommended a Shimano Terez, take a look at the Terez range and there are more than a dozen.

You're not the first to mention lighter leaders and braid and I think I'm going to buy a few different sizes of leader in both mono and fluoro and adjust depending on the size of the tuna and their action. Loads of locals report how hard it is at times to hook them and all of them coincidentally run 130lb+ mono leaders. On youtube almost all recommend fluoro by default.

How wrong was I at the start of this lol. Thought I could just buy powerpro, good quality leader and bits (swivels, split rings etc) and chuck it on any rod and reel.
 

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How wrong was I at the start of this lol. Thought I could just buy powerpro, good quality leader and bits (swivels, split rings etc) and chuck it on any rod and reel.
Well, to an extent you can. Might not be comfortable, you might lose a few fish but let's not forget that at its most basic, tuna fishing can involve just poles or handlines.
There are many, many rods in the range you're talking about. I'd disagree with you on rod over reel, btw ... when the rod starts creaking and you fear for its life, you just stop high-sticking and fight the fish off the reel.
The disadvantage of living in the UK is there isn't a huge variety of gear your looking for; the advantage is that there are often some very silly sales at which you can pick up top tackle as cheap as chips. It's also worth looking at Pecheur.com in France ... I've used them and would recommend them, but they're less good value since the £ has dropped against the Euro.
 

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Neither yourself or the guys you mention using the heavy gear are wrong, its a bit like all the cars on the road that can basically do the same thing. It comes down to personal choice but making the wrong choice on something heavy might mean you end up stuck with something you might rarely use and regret, where a lighter outfit can double up for many target species.

The Terez just like many of the newer rods have adopted the smaller diameter hoop design, this certainly doesn't mean they aren't as strong as the old thick design rods (far from it as most are virtually unbreakable when fighting fish). The tc4 graphite has been used in several of Shimano's rods which I personally think may of come across from G-Loomis when they bought the the company. I also have a couple of very inexpensive Trevala tc4 ultra light rods which would literally bend double with a single mackerel, these same rods we used with 10 lb braid chasing northern bluefin or long-tail as they are locally known. These light rods have never failed and cost around 70 quid, in saying that we've only landed fish up to around 35 lb on them.

Long-tail tuna on ultra light trevala with c4 stradic


My bigger Terez 40-80lb once again looks like something you might use to drop baits down along the pylons of your local pier. This rod however has managed some solid tuna and even a marlin over 100kg combined with the shimano 10000 twin power. If I was to buy another I would certainly look at getting one of the models with the three sets of grips so you can hold further up the rod allowing the angler to apply more pressure. If the rod was only to be used on bigger tuna then I would be looking at a heavier model than the 40-80, by the way these rods suggest those line classes and I haven't seen anything to state the dead lift capabilities. On these longer rods I doubt dead lift is going to be much of a concern as you simply cant apply the same amounts of force (or drag) as you can on short parabolic rods.

The southern bluefin which we catch in winter can be well over 100kg, the ones just across the water in New zealand can reach over 400kg and a few have now been taken on big spin outfits as this seems to be getting more and more popular on most game species.

I must admit I dont use my Terez that much as I mostly use my Jigging master outfits which make for much easier work with a bad back.

A few years back when my daughter was 12 we were on a mates charter boat when all the big Tiagra 50 game outfits got smashed by tuna in the 45kg size, I soon worked mine in for a quick release then set about encouraging my daughter who had never used these broom stick rods with giant gold reels!!!. After about 20 mins the fish was in clear sight under the boat doing the big tuna circles they are known for, even with the fish less than 10m away she could do no more and handed the rod over to me knowing she would not be able to claim it as her catch. That day I had my new 40-80 Terez which I was hoping to test out with surface lures, which the skipper of the boat simply poohhooed as a skinny rubbish kids rod.

A little disappointed my daughter asked if she could try out the new rod as she was only used to using spin gear, must admit the skipper was less than keen as he claimed the rod wouldn't handle the fish. So with her favourite colour red head white body rapala Xrap 20 with singles the troll began again. First rod to hook up was the Terez and she was into it, with less than 10 mins on the clock she had worked the tuna to the boat with short low angled pumps. The skipper and his brother battled on with what they claimed to be much bigger tuna ;) which all turned out to be the same size. Next trip out both the skipper and his brother had the same Terez rods:whistling:.





Not sure if you get the big eye tuna in those parts but if you do its incredible to compare how hard these go compared to the bluefin. Some people claim the bluefin caught 1000km south of us in colder water fight harder than the same fish when they reach our part of the coast, having not caught them down there I cant comment..
 

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I just shot a few images that may help in regards to the Terez rods.

These weights might seem a little light but when you hop on any game boat over here with big Tiagra's loaded with 24kg line set for a day chasing game you would find that most have pre-set drags at 1/3 or less the line breaking strain. This would equate to 14-16 lb drag to target fish often several hundred kg.

Those drag settings are about all any normal person can handle for a prolonged fight on a big fish, those people on here who claim to be using 30lb drag (some on beach gear) are simply super human;) Its easy to try this out yourself but make sure you try it on your strongest outfit as even 15-16lb to lift is a fair amount. The longer the rod the harder lifting any weight will be (Just try 5lb on a beach rod).

So with that in mind and my braid being 40lb I only set my outfit up to lift 15 lb (+ the 200g jig I left attached from my last trip).

These 5 lb sinkers are what I use to get baits down 350m when the tide is slack.


In this shot Ive added one 5 lb sinker


Now two 5 lb sinkers


finally three sinkers just over 15lb


As you can see from this rod theres still plenty of power in the lower section, note how it would improve the lift I I was using one of the models with the extra third grip. With each of us having our own personal preference on rod class this should help give a little more understanding of how the 40-80 handles. Maybe the next model up with triple grips might do you well but remember these are quite a low cost rod so you may consider buying two different class rods (the shipping would be the same for two as it would for one).

By the way don't be to influenced by me as there are heaps of other makes that would probably do the task.

JonD
 

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Theres also a few other tc4 rods such as the jigrex and the ocea. In this video using the ocea you can see how that extra higher grip can be handy.

 

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From what I understand quite a few Gibraltar anglers target bluefin tuna. Rather than trying to figure out a huge amount of information from other parts of the world, I strongly recommend going out at least a few times with guys in your local fishery to understand the fishery and the local methods that more likely than not, you will be using yourself. The cost of chartering skippers with a good record, or going fishing with knowledgeable private boat anglers, is likely the best investment you can make. Your tackle shop should be able to point you in the right direction.
 

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Was just looking at the tuna in Gibraltar and noticed they can reach 300kg, this is why the guys are mentioning such heavy gear. In your first thread you mention targeting fish of 80-150 lb, any idea how you plan on not hooking a giant.
 

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I agree it might be beneficial to head out to see if he actually likes that style of fishing but I would be very surprised if you couldn't catch bluefin using the same methods anywhere on the ocean. My understanding is that Kieron also owns his own boat which he seemed to want to purchase gear for.

If I had to go back to the penn senator, international or shimano tiagra gear I think I would pack fishing in, there are far more fun ways to fight fish.
I don't know much about the Gib tuna fishery, but some of the reports posted in the Rest of the World or Europe section mention casting lures, and the locals probably catch them on jigs as well. I do know though that whatever the style(s) of fishing may be, chartering a good local captain, or hiring a local skipper or guide for a few days, before buying any tackle is what I would strongly recommend. If you (the original poster Kieron) can get out on the water and gain some experience the fishery (if different methods are being used, fish with guys who are skilled in the different styles), catch some fish or at least see the methods and gear that experienced local guys are using, you will be in a much better position when it comes time to plonk down the big money on rods and reels. You would not buy a car or a boat without a test drive...

Similar methods may be successful for bluefin in different parts of the world, but I would be very surprised if the gear and how it is used is exactly the same in every instance. If that was the case there would be no need for the local expertise and knowledge that has been developed in the many different locations they are fished, and which has been honed by their commercial value and often intense competition. I'm not an experienced bluefin tuna guy, but have had the pleasure of fishing them in Ireland, the Canary Islands and Nova Scotia. In each location the size and numbers of fish encountered and their behaviour, the depth of water, its temperature and clarity, the bait in the area and its own behaviour were all different, as no doubt were a host of other factors beyond the immediately obvious. All of us agree that a fish's behaviour changes depending on its environment, and bluefin can be found in a wider range of environments than any other pelagic game fish. They truly are an amazing creature - well deserving of the very serious thought and effort that goes into fishing for them.

I have caught tuna on spinning gear, and enjoyed it, but for bigger fish I wouldn't be without the ability to pop the reel into low gear. The big YFT on spinning gear videos from the (late, lamented) Ascension, Panama or wherever are fun to watch, but you would not get me anywhere near a fish like that on that kind of gear.
 
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